Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Jellyfish have no spine

All my life i have heard this phrase and it never fails to piss me off. I heard it again yesterday and my reaction has not tempered over the years.

My husband/boyfriend won't let me.

I translate this into any number of real meanings, all of them negative.

1) I am spineless and weak.
2) I really don't want to _______ so i am using my husband as an excuse.
3) I am married to a controlling bastard.
4) I am a doormat.
5) I think being a woman means i should cater to my man.
6) I don't want to worry my pretty little head about it.
7) I am an idiot.
8) I don't want the responsibilities of being an adult.
9) I married daddy.

He won't LET you? What are you? Twelve?

UGH! Just UGH.

Over the years i have heard this applied to anything from getting a job to cutting off hair to going back to school. Even once to using tampons instead of pads. I am not making that up either.

This kind of statement is a real conversation stopper. I never know what to say other than "huh." And then i look at her as if she just stepped off of an alien vessel.

Do you ever hear this and does it bother you as much as it bugs me?

This rant was brought to you by an acquaintance of mine, who's husband won't let her drive at night, ever.


QT said...

Oh yes. This drives me insane, too. Methinks #2 is usually the culprit, but more often than not it may be a heavy dose of #7.

And I agree - UGH!!!

Tink said...

If a man ever told me I couldn't do something, it would be the last thing he ever said to me.

Bob said...

yeah! what qt said!

I don't get it a lot, I guess because the majority of the women I see on a daily basis are at work by nature of the job in our department (IT) they are intelligent people who can think for themselves.

I wouldn't know what to think if I were to be confronted with this. I would have trouble considering them a true adult.

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Right on, Meno. The only one that I have heard that was remotely acceptable was the "My husband won't let me skydive". This came from a friend who would normally never let her husband "not let her" do anything. She did concede that particular one to him. :-)

Mignon said...

A woman I play tennis with has big fake boobs and something strange going on with her face, but I still enjoy her company, as she is funny and outgoing. But last week she was wearing a cute tankini with her tennis skirt and when we asked her why she didn't wear it more often, she said, "John won't let me..." I didn't hear the rest of it, and I'm afraid I haven't heard much of what she's said since. In addition, now I really dislike this John guy. But I have yet to meet him.

TTQ said...

Don't tell me what to do! Because the second anyone says it to me I will do it out of spite. Including my husband and he knows this. Plus I'll kick his ass, I'm younger and faster than him.

He has pointed out some good points though like me bending over in a pair of shorts and telling me I had green panties on. That I listened too. Now I just wear them in the house.

Anonymous said...

I think I've said that at a bar, "I'm sorry, my husband won't let me sleep with you."

Turned out he would tho.

egan said...

Me thinks I've heard it once or twice. What bugs me is bloggers that don't keep active blogrolls. Ha, what the hell am I talking about. This blog is your blog, this blog is our blog.... from the gulf stream waters.. .this blog is made for you and me.

Marshamlow said...

I couldn't help but think of my husband, he always asks me if it is ok with me if he... I am in a bit of a rut right now, but if I were to do something I would ask him if it was ok. I guess because our actions interfere with each other, like we have to arrange child care etc. I even ask his thoughts on hair cuts and colors. However, as I am sure you can attest I have a mind of my own and NO ONE forces me to to anything. I wonder if in some cases this actually means... I am choosing not to do this because I know how much it would bother my husband. Jeff and I are both very opinionated people and we hardly ever completely agree on anything, it seems like on or the other of us is always giving and taking. I wonder if that is the same thing? I wonder if people think he is a spineless jellyfish if he doesn't join a bowling league because I said I would rather he not be out all night three nights per week?

thailandchani said...

I'm with Tink on this one. :) If by some weird configuration of planets, I ever completely lost my mind and allowed some man that kind of authority in my life, I certainly wouldn't admit it to anyone.

She probably thinks it's "cute".





Lynnea said...

I agree in certain instances. Here's what I mean: if you want to cut your hair, it's your hair. If you want to drive at night, you're a big girl. If you want to go out with a friend, you get to make that choice. You get the idea. Here's where I find it difficult to get past the wishes of my husband: he is the sole bread-winner at this point. A choice we both made. In this regard, we refer to each other on major expenditures and even some that might seem smaller but could affect the current budget. So when I want something, even laying out a plan to pay for it, and take care of the time involved, if he still strongly objects, I find myself conceding because I can't get past the fact that my money is his money. But the important thing here is that I expect this to go both ways. If I strongly object to something, I fully expect that he should concede as well. Because his money is my money. Does that make sense?
I don't think I would ever classify that as 'he won't let me' though. In the end, its all teamwork decisions.

Stucco said...

I'd reply, but my wife won't let me...

Biscotto said...

You forgot reason number 10:

"I married an asshole."

Don't you wonder what the consequences are? If she defies her husband, will the woman be murdered? ostracized or excommunicated from her marriage? cheated upon? beaten? or merely tortured by his infinite and incessant whining?

Jay wouldn't "let" me do lots of things--and he's got the strongest liberal "gender equality" credentials a guy could have. So why did I let him not let me do them? God, once we spent $300 on marriage counseling to discuss why I had to go to rowing practice on Saturday (not letting my team down) instead of going to services to listen to him read Torah (witnessing the important events of his life).

When did witnessing his life become more important than living my own?

Funniest part of THAT story is that the coach that demanded that I attend practice wouldn't let me skip it. And then, after we decided that I could go to practice, it got cancelled.

Finally, a year later, I dumped both of them.

Sometimes it takes a while to wake up and smell the coffee. Just keep pushing the mug back under her nose, will you?

Lynn said...

I had something brillant to say, but alas my husband won't let me say anything remotely brillant.

Mrs. Chili said...

Oh, no, no, no. The FASTEST way to get me to do something is to tell me I CAN'T.

My husband and I have a blanket agreement to use each other as excuses to get out of things, though. These excuses never involve "permission," however: it's more a "I can't; my husband's out of town and I'm single-parenting this week" or "My wife's teaching a class so I've got dinner duty" or something of that sort. One lies and the other swears to it.

There are some things that Mr. Chili STRONGLY PREFERS I not do, but most of these things involve danger, so I'm okay with it. He would rather I not use the snowblower, for example, as the thing has been actively trying to kill him for years - throwing hunks of ice or twigs, trying to melt holes in his snowsuit, refusing to go into gear, that sort of thing. He also would prefer that I not mow the lawn - when he goes out to do it, he goes dressed for battle - gloves, boots, safety glasses, the works; the only thing that's missing is a helmet. The reason for all this is that, one afternoon, he mowed over a rock that went careening through a friend's car which was parked in the driveway. The not-small stone shattered the driver's window and left a sizable crack in the passenger window, to boot. Ever since then, mowing the lawn is ONLY his job and NO ONE is allowed outdoors while he's doing it. Since I don't have any burning desire to mow OR snowblow, though, I don't put up much of a fight...

Anonymous said...

Gawd yes that bothers me! I had a fully grown,educated and professional woman say that to me when I asked her to join me at a longaberger party. Crap, I didn't want to go either, but her husband wouldn't let her???? Thats the crappiest excuse to not go EVER! She could have just said, nah, not interested. Gak.

Rachel said...

this is pretty annoying, I agree, but it could be worse. My neighbors in the apartment next door are in an abusive relationship. My mate overheard a conversation that particulary bothered me:

He: "Say you're a fucking whore"
She: "Im a fucking whore"
He: "Say youre a fucking FAT whore."
she: "I'm a fucking FAT whore."

So, compared to this, the "wont let me" thing seems kinda minor.

SUEB0B said...

My old boss used to run a shop that produced a million dollars a year, but she couldn't eat anything more than a lite yogurt at lunch because "My husband won't let me." She got what she deserved there.

Schmoopie said...

So Stucco left a comment huh? I'm going kick his ass. Heh. We all know who is in charge at our house. ;)

WTF? I cannot believe that person is stuck in 1954. Sounds like she has non-existent self esteem.

Bob said...

I can't help but observe that the exceptions mentioned in comments above aren't really a case of "my husband won't let me" but actually a case of "my husband objects and I agree with it". That makes it a mutually arrived at decision. The statement "my husband won't let me..." demonstrates unquestioned submissiveness by the speaker and unquestioned dominance/superiority of the husband. jeez, that's part and parcel of the whole attitude that women need to be taken care of, the poor dears. they aren't capable, they're the weaker sex, big strong men need to take charge.

makes me gag.

Liv said...

Right now I just want to say to the Bobs: "Go, Bobs, go bobs!"

This is nonsense. Women should just own their decisions. The other phrase that makes me nuts is, "I just don't really want to spend the money." Most of the time I hear this when it is my deep-seated belief that the money isn't there. What on earth would be wrong with saying that you don't have enough money? Why the shame? Oh, I'm just annoyed all around. You shouldn't have gotten me started...

flutter said...

won't LET her drive at night?

hmm. Does she have some kind of disorder that keeps her from driving? Like, myhusbandisanassoleitis?

Andrea Frazer said...

I would die before I made that statement.

Kellyology said...

Amen sister! I stopped asking permission to do things the minute I was off my parents payroll.

ms chica said...

Too much ammo to comment about. I suppose my Mister doesn't forbid actions because he knows I'll them do it out of spite, and then I'll gloat about it.

Anonymous said...

My husband won't let me tie him up and have my way with him. Is that the same kind of thing? I'm not sure.

sari said...

I guess I'm lucky. My husband doesn't tell me what do to, nor do I tell him. And none of my friend's have husband's that do either (that I've ever heard, anyway).

I liked #7, though. It made me laugh.

urban-urchin said...

i think if i had to utter the sentence my husband won't let me, he wouldn't have become my husband because that shit doesn't fly round here.

Anonymous said...

The only circumstance I could ever imaginge uttering those words would be something along the lines of, "My husband won't let me tell that awful story ABOUT HIM anymore." (If it was about me then, no.) That's about it.

Girlplustwo said...

i had a whole response prepared but then my husband wouldn't let me post it.

dude. kidding. WTF?

I do think it's used more as an excuse for people who don't want to come right out and say no. either that, or that whole neanderthal thing is more current than i thought.

meno said...

Sorry i didn't reply sooner y'all, my husband wouldn't let me.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

qt, i think you are exactly right.

tink, i hear you, you little vixen.

bob, that's how i feel about it too, they lose adult status to me.

cagey, my guess is that she didn't really want to anyway. I wouldn't.

mignon, that sounds like bragging. Translation: "I am just SOOO hot that my husband doesn't want other men to see me." Yuck!

ttq, yes, but he didn't tell you that you couldn't wear them, he just pointed out the view and let you decide, like an adult.

franki, well, how was it?

egan, are you criticising my blogroll? You are on it, what else matters?

marsha, checking with one another is different that asking permission, especially if it has an impact on you, like leaving you at home alone 3 nights a week.

chani, damn but i'd like to see THAT interaction. :) And it isn't cute, it's yukky.

maggie, referring to one another means you are in a partnership. So yes, it makes sense. Neither of you can go rushing off and spend your money without consulting the other. That's just common sense.

stucco, god, she is such a domineering beast! You are a saint to put up with her.

biscotto, wow. Bet you won't make that mistake again, marrying an asshole i mean. Jay has always sounded like a large child to me. He wants to be in charge, he wants to be taken care of, he wants it all his way. Sorry bub, you can only get away with that shit for so long before your wife wises up.

lynn, how about brilliantly remote? You made me smile.

mrs. chili, i am all over letting him do the mowing and the snow blowing! That only makes sense.

my pool, i know, what a wuss! Just say what you mean and don't blame it on someone else.

rachel, i wonder what he won't let her do. I bet the list is long. Scary.

suebob, gad, that's just pathetic.

schmoopie, i think he might need to be disciplined.

bob, exactly, if my husband objects, and i see his point, then it's not a matter of forbidding. makes me gag too.

liv, bob's pretty cool. Sorry to have gotten you annoyed. I love you anyway.

flutter, I KNOW! All i could think of is that he's trying to isolate her from friends.

mamap, you and me both.

kelly, i guess it's easier for some people to never grow up than to make their own decisions. Losers.

ms. chica, i like that about you. i would do the same.

sari, well you are lucky, but you choose well too.

u-u, ain't that the truth.

chris, yes, but then i'd tell it when he wasn't around. But i take your point. :)

jen, yeah, but you aren't even married so don't give me that line! I know you would rip him a new one if he tried it. And you wouldn't even be with someone that would.

Anonymous said...

not worth the self-loathing.

Lucia said...

I consider folks who say this just short of insane. I mean please! Really!

Anonymous said...

In college I knew a guy (friend of a friend sorta thing) who made his girlfriend ride in the back of his car anytime they went anywhere. If there were people in the car she had to ride...wait for it...in the front seat but with her head on his lap.

I always thought she had to be the biggest moron to let him control her like that. It also opened my eyes to just how bizarre this old world could be at times.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this drives me absolutely crazy. I heard a co-worker say it about her husband not letting her go shopping! My jaw was on the floor.

crazymumma said...

A friend of mine, who incidentally I looove (I DO!), and is in an apparantly perfect marriage (they seem so great together!) always says, well, I wanted to but he really didn't like the idea of it.

makes me nuts.

Mother of Invention said...

You'll be glad to know that I have never uttered this ridiculous statement. I actually haven't heard it said much either but I'm sure lots of babes out there have.

Princess in Galoshes said...

My husband won't let me kick him in the nuts.

That's about it, though....

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of negotiating in a close relationship like a marriage. I think every one of us could come up with something that we think is perfectly all right to do, but we don't do it solely because a person who means a lot to us does not want us to. However, if one is making the "he won't LET me" comment, then she's probably feeling compromised.

The next time you hear that, how about asking, "Oh? And what won't you let him do?" Could be entertaining and enlightening.

Em said...

It bothers me! My wife would never assume that I have the power to "let" her do things. And I would never presume that kind of authority or control. Just cause we are married, we don't control each other! Are there things I don't do because of her? Sure...by my choice or by mutual agreement on things. But "let"??? Nay.

Mermaid Melanie said...

I think sometimes its easier to just not do something and use someone else as an excuse.

a man telling me I can't do something, especially someone that "loves" you, makes me want to do the very thing he told me not to.

but I am stubborn that way. and single.

sari said...


I waited until I was 32 to get married and believe me, I went through a lot of frogs. I feel lucky I chose a good guy when I finally chose!

Tink said...

The comments for this post are awesome.

luckyzmom said...

I thought marrying your father was verboten.

Seriously, have a little sympathy for us spineless creatures.

Anonymous said...

I waited until I was 50 to get married.

My husband lets me do whatever freakin' thing I want to.

And I let him do whatever freakin' thing he wants to.

'Cuz it ain't a question of "letting" the other person do something. The only "letting" that needs to be done is "letting the other person be who they are."

meno said...

franki, not surprising, that.

lucia, it gives me a real insight into who they are, that's for sure.

irrelephant, that is one sick story. Wonder if she married him. Ick.

irish goddess, (nice moniker by the way) To me it indicates certain things about a relationship, all of them fucked.

crazymumma, sounds like she's using him for cover to me.

moi, i am glad to know that.

princess, but can he stop you? That's the real question.

de, i will do that. But i am not sure if the answer will make me feel better or worse.

em, it implies a kind of parental role that really has no place (in my mind) in a marriage, or any partnership.

melanie, that is my sense of it too. I am that kind of stubborn as well. Good thing i didn't marry a man who thinks he has that kind of power over me.

sari, i wish i had been as smart as you are, to wait to get married i mean. You aren't lucky, you are smart. And maybe a little lucky too.

tink, I KNOW!

luckyzmom, really, your husband won't let you do stuff? And that's okay with you? What won't you let him do?

ortizzle, nicely said woman.

Cheesy said...

Holy crap... women still say that? Glad first off I don't know them or I'd have to bitch slap them~2nd Glad my guy likes that I have a mind of my own and NEVER tells me what I can or can't do.. well except when he says don't have TOO much fun without him. Who were these girls' mothers???

luckyzmom said...

No not really.

egan said...

I wasn't criticizing it actually. I was being a smart ass about them. Some folks get way too worked up if their blog doesn't appear. That's all I meant. No harm Meno.

meno said...

cheesy, they still do. And i wish they would stop it.

luckyzmom, oh good.

egan, i am not one to get my knickers in a knot about blogrolls. No harm taken, i was being a smart ass too.

Susanne said...

Yes, heard it and it makes me totally furious. Since I'm a little cooler these days I react with a blank look and a "Huh?" too. I have learned not to argue with people like these.