Chapter 3 is all about Melissa getting engaged and getting married. Joe takes her to a weekend at a Hilton and treats her to a day of beauty. She gets all dolled up and goes up to the room, after he told her that he would be late, to find him there, ready to propose. She says yes, of course. Then she writes this little gem,
I know some people think that putting a woman on a pedestal means a man doesn’t see her as real human being. By raising her up, he’s idolizing her, turning her into a Goddess. Right? But you know what? I love being put into a pedestal by my man. Because I put him on one, too. I treat Joe like the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s easy to do because it’s true. And the truth is that Joe wouldn’t feel like a man if he couldn’t shower his woman with love and attention.
Where to start? There’s no need to worry that Joe doesn’t see his wife as real human being because it’s clear that she’s a servant/sex slave to him. But her desire to be this idolized, untouchable object is frightening. Doesn’t she want to be human? Why is being a thing so much more appealing to her?
Also, Joe wouldn’t feel like a real man if he didn’t put his woman on a pedestal? As strong as she makes his masculine identity sound, it just gets shakier and shakier as the book goes on. There are so many things he HAS to do to be a man or HAS to avoid to be a man. He has no breathing room.
Melissa starts planning the wedding right away. She sets the date for five months out, making it a full ten months since they started dating. They go all out on the wedding and throw a party for 250 guests. They dance to Mariah Carey’s “Endless Love” as their wedding song. Their night was magical and vomit-inducing.
Then it’s off for a brief honeymoon so workaholic Joe can get back to his job. Melissa gleefully scribes, “I will never forget the first time I called Joe “my husband”, or when the woman at the check-in desk said, “Welcome, Mr. and Mrs. Gorga.” I felt complete.” It’s that cute? Imagine what would happen to her if that title went away. She would be incomplete and never survive. Good thing she doesn’t believe in relying on a man!
When they get back from the honeymoon, Melissa had just graduated from college and goes out looking for a job. She gets the first one that she interviews for, but Joe quickly puts a stop to that by telling her that if they wanted to go on vacation together, he didn’t want to have to ask her boss permission for her to take off from work. Instead, he convinces her to come work for him at his office.
Melissa valiantly fights for her career, stating, “–I knew he was right. In the end, I was fine not taking the job. Something in my heart said it would be better for us and our future family if Joe and I put our hard-working efforts together.” I have a hard time believing that she would have gone to college, earned a 4-year degree while working three jobs, student teaching and substitute teaching and then, once she was offered a job in her field, she just walked away and never looked back. Why would you put so much work and effort into getting an education in order to be your husband’s secretary? Why bother?
If this is some kind of version of an MRS degree, I don’t get it. Melissa wants to talk about how hard she worked during college and how she supported herself and strove towards her dreams, then once a man slaps a ring on her finger, her dream evaporate and she’s just dandy with it. And the entire reason he comes up with for her not working on her own is that he wants to take vacations with her at the drop of a hat. She would have the entire summer off as a teacher, chill the fuck out!
But it doesn’t matter. Melissa is happy to let her degree become really expensive toilet paper and she starts working at Joe’s office. She soon makes friends with a fun neighbor who tells her to be a lady in the parlor, a cook in the kitchen, and a puttana (whore) in the bedroom. Melissa is quick to inform the woman that she is no whore.
Oh, no wait, she doesn’t. She makes this phrase her mantra, just as the woman suggests, and states that she working on improving her cooking, manners and er, whoring, all the time. Doesn’t she know how pure and not-slutty she is? She shouldn’t have anyone call her a whore, no matter the circumstance. She only lost her virginity on her wedding night!
Anyway, she then goes on with a section entitled The Five-Year Contract. She states that if she would have had a prenup, it would have had only one clause that read, “The couple can’t separate until five years are over, no matter how many fights they have, or how epic the power struggle between them.” Uh huh. There doesn’t seem to be any power struggle between the Gorgas when it gets right down to it. They both are happy to talk about who wears the pants in the relationship.
Melissa insists that people are too quick to give up on marriage and need to give it at least five years because apparently after you’ve been unhappily married for five years, after that, the marriage turns great. She admits that women in violent or unfaithful relationships might need to get out sooner than her proposed time limit. But the fact of the matter is that once the love is gone and there’s no hope for the future, there’s no reason to stay together and continue to make each other miserable.
It pains me to think that women are picking up this book and trying to apply its lessons to their lives. Melissa is not a marriage counselor or any kind of therapist. She was on a reality TV show and enjoys her husband treating her like an object. She is not anyone who should be doling out advice let alone on something as sensitive as marriage and divorce.
Needless to say, she’s never even been divorced. She has no experience in the matter. By her own account, she has had a successful marriage, so what would she even know about separating from someone? But let’s not get too logical. The part about being a lady is next. Gird your loins.
To read all review entries of Love Italian Style, click here. Blogs are in reverse chronological order.