Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Waddling down the Aisle
According to the 5/18 NYT wedding section (yes, I went so far as to read the wedding section. But I had food poisoning at the time, so the words came right back up! OK, OK, I read the wedding section regularly. It's a chronic disease. Anyway). So according to the wedding section, 43-year-old Elena Weschler paid dating consultant Rachel Greenwald $5,000 a day to dole out the following advice:
"Always look for a guy with a dorky walk. They make good husbands."
Ms. Weschler apparently took the advice to heart, landing a software entrepreneur who "walks like a duck;" the couple is now enjoying their inaugural paddle in the marital pond. If Rachel Greenwald is onto something, then I'm way ahead of her: every guy to whom I've even been remotely attracted walks as if they'd been tortured in seventh grade. But has Rachel caught a scent, or is she just quacking in the wind?
There are two assumptions underlying her pronouncement. The first is that our lives impress themselves into our bodies, warping the way our muscles seize, the way our bones rub together. This is, I think, true: for better or for worse, how we move is who we are. A woman came into work today dragging two kids and a stroller; as soon as she bent to check the diaper of her autistic three-year-old, I knew she was a dancer. I can tell if you'd rather be running, or if it hurts you to walk, or if you had no friends when you were fourteen.
The second assumption, that damage makes you marriageable, is more interesting. Men with dorky walks are men who had trouble growing into men. People beat them up, or yelled at them; they didn't feel at home in their bodies. Does being hurt make you less likely to inflict hurt? Does suffering make you amiable? Should we gird all our young men with pocket protectors and turn them loose on the football field at halftime?