Katie Roiphe: Internet Infidelity is Lame Compared To Straight-Up Extramarital Banging


Our very own wealthy, psuedo-intellectual Brooklyn-brownstone-dwelling polemic feminist (although, who knows, she might rankle at the label of “feminist”) Katie Roiphe’s latest piece on Slate, primarily addresses this much passed-around NYT article and the nuances of Facebook flirtations. See, KT thinks it’s worse than old-timey cheating.

they can represent very intense fantasies, distilled versions of romantic yearning, including its darker, more narcissistic sides, honest articulations, for better or for worse, of the inner life.

Or wait, no, better? Or just lamer? I’m confused.

In some sense, you can see how the various forms of Internet rapport allow you to transcend, to go halfway, to dabble, to hedge, to not really cheat. There may be something cowardly in this form of cheating, some slight lack of investment, some protective holding back.

It’s very easy to hate Roiphe for, oh, say, suggesting that the success of 50 Shades of Grey is owed to the modern career woman’s sexual domination fantasies, or whatever latest liberal-minded trend she (usualy wrongly) deems ubiquitous.

It’s even easier to hate her because these issues she takes it upon herself to deflate as some sort of self-assigned cultural anthropologist really only exist at, say, the Boerum Hill all-organic dinner parties she frequents. For instance, is there an over-sensitive sexual harassment workplace culture? Maybe in Roiphe’s world, but she doesn’t seem to acknowledge or care that the majority of offices across America still have a distinctly insensitive sexual harassment culture, preferring instead to bolster her argument with quotes and anecdotes from her niche of bourgeoisie friends.

Okay, so that said, I just read In Praise of Messy Lives and I realized that it’s actually quite sad: Roiphe’s entire oeuvre is based on the underlying idea that 1950s, in all its three-martini-lunching, child-neglecting, sexist, racist, adulterous glory, were cooler, better. (Better for whom, exactly? Roiphe contradicts herself by opening Praise with a defensive paen to her “swinging” single motherhood in the eye of a judgmental society—”I go off in a car to meet a man at a hotel bar. This will seem like the wrong structure to many people.” Sorry, shit wouldn’t fly back then.) Saddest of all is that more than once in multiple essays, including this piece, she cites infamous misogynists Updike, Roth and Bellow as hallowed voices of these “better times.”

[T]hese are undoubtedly safe adulterers, cagey adulterers; they are not running, in other words, the way Updike’s Rabbit ran.

If nothing else, it’s depressing to me that such a well-read woman as Roiphe won’t deign to use any hard-drinking, hard-fucking lady writers to cite as her ideals.

‘I Love You. Now Text Me.’ [Slate]

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