What Men Are Saying About Women has a post about aging feminist Liz Jones and her poor me piece last December in the Daily Mail: Wish me a lonely Christmas and spare a thought for the millions of women like me. This is the ultimate red meat for the manosphere, including an aging feminist/post-marital spinster who’s social life revolves around her 17 cats. Liz hams it up in the photo for the column, posing with her cat and in rags with massive holes exposing both knees.
She holds herself out as an example, bravely baring her own pain so that others might better understand the plight of lonely older women across the UK:
As you all head home to your families for the holiday, spare a thought for the millions of women like me for whom it’s the hardest time of year
Later in the column she tells us how she has written only three Christmas cards, one of which is to her garbage collectors. Somehow along the way she forgot that she dedicated her life to not only making herself an aging spinster, but all of those other millions of women she mentions as well. As a former editor of British Marie Clare, author, and columnist she has been diligently poisoning the very well she now complains is not fit to drink from.
In August of 2009, her book The Exmoor Files: How I Lost A Husband And Found Rural Bliss was published. Then in December 2009 she published this piece, including:
I moved to the countryside, where I thought there might be more of a community (in London, I never did find out the name of the girl who lived next door).
I was wrong, as it turned out, and have found I can go from one week to the next without speaking to a soul.
Like Sandra Tsing Loh and the author of Marry Him, her life’s epiphany reads more like just another washed up attention whore desperately trying to turn the spotlight back on herself, if only for a brief moment. Following her December 2009 column, she revised the book and retitled the new edition: The Exmoor Files: How I Lost A Husband And Nearly Found Rural Bliss. Of course, before that she wrote Liz Jones’s Diary: How One Single Girl Got Married (2005). In between, she wrote regular columns complaining about her husband.
But a life of denial of reality and dispensing so much advice with so little wisdom is bound to catch up with someone eventually. Rationalization hamsters are an amazing thing, and if cared for properly they should last a lifetime. No one knows the exact number of revolutions a hamster is rated for, but most scientists agree the number is upwards of over 3.5 million for a western woman.
But Liz has kept her hamster running at full speed for over 50 years. Hamsters need a break, a time when logic and wisdom takes over to provide a period of rest. Her hamster is worn out. He can no longer keep up the pace.
Despite her hamster’s valiant efforts, moments of lucidity periodically break through.
Loneliness is a resilient, persistent little beast. For most of the year, those of us who live alone can rub along pretty well.
But then her hamster somehow finds the strength to spin just a little more, heroically protecting her from her crushing glimpse of her own reality. Surely her vacations alone must be better than the horrible fate of a woman vacationing with her husband and children:
To my mind, having seen the fatigue etched on the faces of parents waiting with their brood by the luggage carousel, this is far superior to the enforced camaraderie of the family holiday that frequently disintegrates into bickering.
That last burst took something out of her hamster. He can’t keep it up, no matter how hard he tries. Her thoughts turn to Christmas time and the grim nature of her reality seeps back:
Everywhere you look, you are reminded you are a pariah, that you have failed to even dampen life’s litmus test of happiness.
There is danger here, and the hamster knows no matter how tired he is he must protect her. He slowly struggles to his feet, and eventually manages another revolution or two:
This year, it is the ad for Coca-Cola that has me burping bile. You know the one: the handsome teenage son on his gap year somewhere far-flung and exotic, homesick for his dear old mum. The handsome dad, who returns home to sweep his long-haired daughter into his arms.
I comfort myself that scenes like these are mostly a lie. Twenty somethings might return to the fold to sleep in their single childhood bed, but they’d probably rather still be travelling or having sex. They have gone back home because they have run out of money and want a hot meal and someone to do their laundry.
Yes, thank you hamster! I had forgotten about all of the pieces I wrote telling women being a wife and mother is thankless and terribly unfulfilling! Inspired by this, her hamster once again finds his legs and trots along with splendor as he did when he was younger:
You know that if a dad did actually just turn up on Christmas Eve, there would be a shrewish woman waiting in the wings, all too ready to heap opprobrium
She smiles at the thought of all of the marriages and childhoods she made miserable by advising women they needed to be shrews to be happy, and drilling husbands that their duty was to put up with it. It must have worked, right? She’s seen it not only on every form of media but in person as well. She dreams wistfully of her handywork:
Through choice or by accident, more women than ever are living alone: the number has doubled in three decades.
Yes! She has made a difference after all! She may die alone and unmourned, but no one can take this triumph away from her!
The column continues, with the hamster periodically losing his footing and then recovering at the last minute. She imagines that her mother misses her deceased father, but then assumes she must really be glad she doesn’t have the bother of caring for a man who is invested in her.
Her hamster somehow musters all of his remaining strength, and comes through for a magnificent finish:
At this time of the year, women far too often regress to a Fifties role of carer and nurturer, which makes the atmosphere do what it always does: simmer with resentfulness and martyrdom. Being alone should be seen as an opportunity: to follow your passion, whatever it might be.
This Christmas, having received not a single invitation to join them from family or friends - I suppose a single, childless, ageing, vegan woman plonked in their midst is not everyone’s cup of eggnog - I am going to attempt to live out the rural ideal and spend the day feeding my animals.
I have 17 cats, all of whom worship at the altar of St Michael, my sheepdog. There will be sheep nestled like something from a nativity play, horses breathing steam with icicles in their manes.
And lonely as I may be, the thought of doing just that will, I’m sure, make many women, who are desperately trying to make everything perfect for a family who remain resolutely ungrateful, turn an appropriately festive shade of red and green.
Fortunately she ends it there, for her hamster has nothing left to give. This Christmas season, say a prayer. Not for the aging feminists and post marital spinsters who will spend it alone, but for their heroic hamsters who have given their all for so many years.
See Also: The Rationalization Hamster 500!