Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin

Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin

Author:Suzette Haden Elgin [Elgin, Suzette Haden]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Fiction, Science Fiction, General, Mystery & Detective, Literary Criticism, Feminist, Social Science, Women's Studies
ISBN: 9781558617766
Google: iyAdAwAAQBAJ
Publisher: The Feminist Press at CUNY
Published: 2013-08-15T05:00:00+00:00

Chapter Fifteen

The decision to marry a woman who has been properly trained for wifery need not be cold-bloodedly commercial. True . . . the procedure of reviewing threedy tapes of our clients, examining their genetic and personal files, interviewing those women who seem most promising, etc., is reminiscent of the personnel office rather than the romantic idyll. We agree, and we agree that the American man has no wish to proceed in that fashion. Furthermore, it is not necessary. There is no reason why a man cannot see to it that the woman he has chosen as his bride—in the traditional manner—is then enrolled at one of the seven fine marital academies whose graduates are accepted by this agency. In this way he can have the best of both worlds . . . the tender joy of young love, the ecstasy of finding and choosing the girl of his dreams, and the satisfaction of knowing that he will have a wife who is worthy of the role.

We suggest that you consider the alternative carefully, before deciding that good luck will see you through—and save you our modest fees. Do you really want to begin married life with an untrained woman whose only skill at wifery is the haphazard result of a few mass-ed courses and the confused efforts of her female relatives? Do you really want to risk your career and your home and your comfort to the fumbling trial-and-error techniques of an untutored girl? Do you truly believe that any degree of natural beauty of face and figure can compensate for a constant succession of social embarrassments and personal disappointments? (If you are a father, is that what you want for your sons?)

We think not. We think you want a wife that you can take with you anywhere without hesitation. We think you want a wife you can bring any guest home to in serene confidence. There are few more important investments a man can make in his future—don’t leave your future to chance. We look forward to serving you.

(Brochure, from The Perfect Wife, Inc.)

SPRING 2187. . . .

Nazareth waited in the government car, staring bleakly at the snarled traffic all around her; they would be late, and the others would be angry. She would have to ask the driver to go in with her and explain that the delay had not been avoidable. . . . Happy nineteenth birthday, Nazareth Joanna Chornyak Adiness.

She didn’t feel nineteen. She felt old. Old and used up . . . The children of the Lines had little opportunity to be children, and that aged you. And having the children, first the boy born on her sixteenth birthday and then the twin girls two years later . . . that brought a certain maturity. But it wasn’t either of those things that made her feel like one of those ancient wrinkled crones cackling crazy imprecations from the back of a cave. It was living as the wife of Aaron Adiness, who was twenty-five on the outside and just barely three years old on the inside, that had done it.


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