Words often have the intended effect.
I remember the first time I heard the term ‘long in the tooth’. Drinking a glass of champagne with my long-time guy, at a Salomon Brothers partners’ dinner, the infamous Lee Kimmel, then head of merchant banking, commented that John Gutfreund’s wife Susan was getting ‘long in the tooth.’
Susan was in her late thirties. I winced, wondering if I was already “long in the tooth”, too.
A couple weeks ago, I read GQ’s “The Whipped List”, led by British director and Madonna’s husband, Guy Richie.
There was that darn phrase again, penned in the venomous tongue of writer Matt Haber:
After the tough-talking shoot-’em-up Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels made him famous, the British director married long-in-the-tooth pop star Madonna and collaborated with her on a train wreck of a shipwreck comedy called Swept Away. The director gets extra lashes for embracing his wife’s trendy spiritual endeavors, reportedly sacrificing what’s left of his career cred on a yet-to-be-released documentary on Kabbalah. But the real reason he tops the list? This photo of Ritchie and Madge and a recently purchased strap-on. But really, who thought she needed one?
Ouch! No, not the strap-on.
There’s real poison in Haber’s words, although I suspect that — like so many men — he actually toys with the idea of anal penetration. These comments don’t just fly out of our minds for no reason.
As a GILF dating, lipstick feminist, an alpha female who adores men and vice versa, I’ve come to understand that strapon play is a common male fantasy, one understandably unarticulated in America’s homophobic culture.
In Need of a Whipping Post
Haber drops the gauntlet to all hot, alpha women in his introduction to The Whipped List:
Ever since our prehistoric ancestors first crawled out of the ocean, took a deep breath of air, and uttered that familiar phrase “Sure, we can go to the Container Store on Saturday,” certain men have buckled under female domination. But is there any doubt we’re living in a golden age of rampant, public whipping? Everywhere you look these days, you see the telltale signs of submission: pathological obedience, public humiliation, couples Pilates.
Personally, I can go for a little erotic surrender on occasion.
Hit ‘Em Hard, Where It Hurts
Haber isn’t the first man to use body imagery to psychologically intimidate and disable women. I remember firing someone once, and on his way out the door, he told me I had a fat ass. Sounds like something Matt Haber would write.
Bottom line, variety in our species promises a certain number of vitriolic, misogynistic, sort of guys (and women), the ones who can’t tolerate strong women under any circumstances.
Enjoying generally superb relationships with men of any sexual persuasion, I couldn’t resist Googling: “Is Matt Haber gay?” Or is he just clever with words… writing aggressive bon mots for high-impact effects in today’s tone-deaf world.
My search is inconclusive, but I assure Matt Haber that Madonna is too busy managing her own branding and public imaging, her kids, her spiritual side, her new documentary … to give a tinkers damn about pussy whipping Guy Ritchie.
A Woman In Charge
Madonna has owned her sexuality and her body for decades, in a way that few women do.
If Haber had only called Madonna a ‘woman of a certain age’ … well, I wouldn’t turn on him like this.
In 1979 psychotherapist Lillan B. Rubin wrote a book ‘Women of a Certain Age: The Midlife Search for Self’, in which midlife spanned 35 to 54.
“When I wrote the book in 1979,” Dr. Rubin says, “the ‘women of a certain age’ were in their late 30’s and early 40’s. I think that has changed with the baby boomers and the lengthening of the life span. I’d say the ‘certain age’ has now moved to the age of 50 or 55.”
The phrase ‘a woman of a certain age’ was given new meaning by the French, and certainly Catherine Deneuve, where it refers to women of fortyish and thereabouts who are able to initiate boys and young men into the beauties of sexual encounters.
Now this would be Madonna and a slightly younger Justin Timberlake.
A Female Weighs In
Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan is not a Madonna fan either. Writing yesterday about the icon’s cover story in this month’s Vanity Fair, she has a few choice words of her own for the pop star.
Madonna became a cultural icon because she was sly enough — and daring enough — to use her body as everything from a storyboard to a weapon. Ten years’ worth of photographs in Vanity Fair document Madonna the boy toy, the powerful diva, the Lolita, the gender-bending dominatrix, the sexy mother. Each guise said something interesting about femininity. But her latest incarnation — blond waves, lace-up boots and a corset — speaks to the most old-fashioned, condescending sentiment of all: She looks good for her age.
A reader said of Givhan, the exact thought going through my mind: “Robin doth protest too much, me thinks.”
Givhan sprinkles the collective ‘we’ thoughout her shredding of the Material Girl, as if she polled her readers in advance for their input:
We have nothing left to ask Madonna. The only questions left are those that we hope no one has the audacity to pose. But of course, eventually someone will. And we’ll be left with our hands pressed against our ears desperately trying to block out some piece of information dropped into the middle of an unassuming story the way Jennifer Lopez told People how her twins were conceived naturally with that hungry-looking Marc Anthony rather than artificially. We. Don’t. Want. To. Hear. That.
Watching the Madonna/Timberlake “4 Minutes” video, I see something more than a woman who looks good for her age. I see a woman who looks incredible for her age. I see a sexy woman with seriously hard-core muscles, who moves like a 20-year-old woman.
No … Better Than a 20-Year Old
I see a woman who just may get it on with Justin Timberlake. Clearly the chemistry is there. It’s nobody’s business, but Justin doesn’t look exactly arm-twisted in his performance.
If Madonna is boring in this video and has nothing more to give us, the public will vote with their wallets. Meanwhile, I pose the possibility that Robin Givhan is hanging out in BSDM chambers and needs only the most unnerving visual excitement to stimulate her senses. This is she appears so modestly innocent.
Either that, or she’s not getting any.
What is it with writers anyway? Perhaps a bit of strap action across their backsides is required here. You know, a little dose of their own poison pills. And to Robin … let’s see you move, girl.