Remember when I watched that Pamela Anderson sitcom, “Stacked,” so you didn’t have to? I have taken another hit for the team. This time, I read the July issue of Good Housekeeping, featuring 54-year-old Joan Lunden and her four toddlers and babies. I bought the magazine (a title from the genre I refer to as “married-lady magazines”) to basically find out WTF was the deal with Joan Lunden. Ah, but the magazine offers so much more…
I picked up the issue to pass the time while sitting with Ben in front of the TV (those Fisher-Price Little People videos offer nothing of interest to adults but the Aaron Neville theme song). I knew I was in for a treat right off the bat, on the letters-to-the-editor page. There was feedback on a recent article about a couple who lost a child to a dreadful genetic disease and opted for IVF with preimplantation screening to avoid a repeat of that tragedy. “Many readers wrote in, some concerned that the unhealthy embryos had been disposed of. ‘…I was…sad to learn that life had been destroyed to get the end result.’” Yep, that’s right. That reader would prefer that an embryo with a fatal genetic malady be transferred into a womb. WTF?
Another thing that caught my eye was the Venus Vibrance battery-powered razor, which appears to be a disposable razor crossed with a vibrator. WTF? If vibrator technology really facilitates a close shave, wouldn’t the folks at Gillette have introduced the vibrazor (I gotta trademark that!) concept in men’s razors first? (Ah. The Gillette website shows the “M3 Power Nitro” battery-powered razor for men—no mention of “vibration,” though. Guess vibrators aren’t manly.) Or are women supposed to shave their pits and their legs with this doohickey, and then flip it over to use the non-razor portion? Seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen—you could totally cut your hands on the razor blades.
Looking for a T-shirt that’s dressy enough for the office? What could be more practical than the Piscotta tee? It’s made from 100% organic milk, freeze-dried and spun into a silken yarn. Hand-wash, line dry—like I said, practical! (And yes, I did say “organic milk,” and no, I’m not mixing this up with cheese.) WTF?
Then there was an ad for the Tide to Go instant stain remover pen. Somehow, you press it on the stained clothes you’re wearing and the stain disappears, but your flesh is not chemically burned—that seems to be the gist of it. It seems too easy to be a good idea, doesn’t it?
Moving on to the article, “Does your husband need training?”—you’re supposed to tear out the article and give it to your husband so he knows how to make shit up when you ask insecure questions like “Do you wish I still looked the way I did when we first met?” or “Do you think that woman’s attractive?” Yep, read the canned answers, then give the article to your husband so he can feed you the canned answers right on cue. That won’t piss the woman off, will it? Sheesh.
“What about Joan Lunden?” you ask. She has three grown daughters (aged 17, 22, and 25). Five years ago, she married a man 10 years her junior. She was closing in on 50 when she started fertility treatments. IVF failed—big surprise—so they moved on to surrogacy and donor eggs, plus her husband’s sperm. (No one will be surprised to hear that the article didn’t mention the word “egg” or “donor” anywhere. These articles seldom do.) The surrogate got pregnant with twins, and then did it again 21 months later. Now, Lunden, age 54, reports, she is just so darn full of energy and enjoying parenting again. (Of course, having two nannies and a baby nurse on staff helps prevent exhaustion.)
Lunden argues that it’s unfair to criticize older women for having babies, given that older men father children all the time without incurring judgmental reactions. She answers the “Isn’t it selfish to have more babies” issue by saying, “having children is a lot of work. It involves tremendous amounts of time and emotion to create a kind, even-keeled, educated, spirited, happy person to send out there into the world. I mean, this is our gift to the future.” Not that I want to be hurling mommy drive-by judgments at another woman, but I don’t know if I buy this rationalization. Lunden had already sent three people “to the future”; if she felt the need to nurture more kids, why not adopt or take care of foster children? I just can’t even imagine trying IVF at age 49 or 50. If Lunden’s babies and tots are lucky, she’ll live until they’re about 40; there’s certainly a reasonable chance that she’ll die or be incapacitated long before that.
What do you think—Joan Lunden: Hero Mom? or Joan Lunden: Selfish Narcissist?
I can’t finish this magazine right now. It takes too much out of me. I haven’t even gotten to “Burning Questions for Michael Bolton” yet. (I am not making this up.)