Chapter 15 is hilariously titled Full-Body Gorgasm. Did I say hilariously? I meant, ridiculously. Seriously, between “Joements”, “Gorganize” and now “Gorgasm” it just makes me want to put my head through my desk. Melissa starts off this chapter by assuring us that it will not get too lurid at any point.
She writes, “I’m not going to get too graphic here. I’m a lover but I’m also a mother. If you want to read about the real down and dirty, you’ll have to go somewhere else.” Melissa, we’ve read about your pooping habits, I think we’re beyond coy right now. But without wasting any time, Melissa launches right back into the ideology that is what is keeping her relationship so unequal. She states,
I did a survey of my friends and looked around online, and my theory turns out to be true. For the most part, men fantasize about doing things to women. Women fantasize about men doing things to them, in different settings and in different outfits. So it works out perfectly. Men have that instinctual urge to dominate, and women, whether they realize it or not, want to submit. The point is: Men want to be men; women want to be women. Husbands want their wives to submit; wives want their husbands to dominate.
Her ideas about sex are so flimsily put together that I still find it staggering. If I was going to write a nonfiction book, I’d read books written by PhDs about the topic. I’d look at scientific studies. I’d conduct interviews with professionals. But Melissa? She conducts a survey of a few of her friends and Googles, not even for reputable sources, and decides that she knows it all. But really, what were we expecting at this point?
She has made it quite clear that she ascribes to the 1950s gender roles that should have died out with black and white TVs. Melissa still wants to hammer home that women are submissive, men are dominant and anything that deviates from that is going against nature itself. Melissa then drones on about mini-makeout sessions and sexy talk and a ton of other topics that add nothing to male-female relationships.
Joe pops in to inform the readers that if Melissa asked him to walk around the bedroom with a g-string up his ass, that he would. Because it would remind him of his stripper days. Whatever. Melissa then starts in on one of the more controversial sections of her book. She writes,
Even when I’m exhausted and not really in the mood, it means a lot to Joe that we connect physically, I’ll say, “I’m not so into it tonight, but let’s go.” This goes back to the tenet of honesty. He wants to go, I could take it or leave it. But for ten minutes, it’s fine. I tell him the truth. Of course, Joe wants me to be 100 percent into it. But let’s get real, that doesn’t happen all the time.
Then Joe interjects and writes the most dangerous and worrisome passage in the entire book. He states,
Ladies, read this part to your husbands. Men, I know you think your woman isn’t the type who wants to be taken. But trust me, she is. Every girl wants to get her hair pulled once in a while. If your wife says, “no,” turn her around and rip her clothes off. She wants to be dominated. Even if your wife is a tough, strong business woman who breaks balls all day long — especially in that case — when it’s just the two of you, she wants to be dominated.
Melissa writes that she will have sex with her husband even when she doesn’t feel like it because it will mean a lot to him. Joe writes that you should rape your wife, because all women want to be dominated and abused. Melissa tried to backtrack over this section in later interviews, claiming that the passages aren’t supposed to literal. Because so much of this book is figurative and symbolic. Right?
Joe, I’ll disprove your theory right now. I do not like to have my hair pulled. If I tell a man “no,” then everything has to stop or I will fuck a bitch up. Sexual aggression is not attractive to me at all. Every girl doesn’t desire what your wife does and stating that after a woman refuses, to rip her clothes off, is disgusting and disturbing. As much as they want to claim that this paragraph is supposed to be “racy” not “rapey”, that is not how the passage reads.
If they wanted to say something different, they shouldn’t have allowed that to be published. How did everyone read that passage and say, “Yep, this is fine. On to printing!” How did no one realize how violent and violating it sounds? It makes me wonder if people did realize how terrible all of this sounded, but decided that this book was never going to be praised for being good, but they still wanted to get headlines. So why not make the book so backwards and unacceptable that it couldn’t possibly go unnoticed? All press is good press, right?
But moving on, Melissa starts up another weird passage and recommends that women try to be different people in order to keep their men interested. She advises,
When I gained weight during pregnancy, Joe was totally into it. He said it was like having sex with a different woman. He loves variety. Do what you can to seem like a different woman. Hair up, hair down. Be a little more aggressive one night, and passive to the point of timid the next. Be loud on Monday, and whisper on Wednesday. When you can surprise each other, passion keeps burning.
How do you keep your husband interested? Try to be another person. Act like you have multiple personalities and keep rotating so he doesn’t know who he’s dealing with. Scare your children by using different voices on different days.
But even as Melissa claims that Joe loved having sex with her pregnant body when he thought she looked like a different woman, she claims that you should never close your eyes and fantasize about another actual person. Because that’s just wrong.
Joe helpfully adds, “–I don’t want to fantasize about another woman. That’s what keeps our relationship real.” So they’re recommending that you act/dress/voice modulate to be LIKE a different person but the spouse in question will still fantasize about you as you usually are even though you’re busy being like another person? You’re trying to be someone else so they can think about you? I’m confused.
I’m also confused as to how these two contradictory passages ended up in the same chapter, just paragraphs apart and no one noticed. Joe ends the chapter with some words of wisdom. He writes about a friend who got divorced, but then got her boobs done, lost weight, bought a new wardrobe and got a new boyfriend who she has wild, kinky sex with in various locales. But she doesn’t love her new boyfriend, she mourns for her husband. But if only she had done all of these things for her husband, then he would still be around!
He finishes with, “What’s a man going to do? Even if he loves his wife, he needs to feed.” Yeah, he has to get sex somewhere. Why get married if not to secure a regular sex partner who vows on their wedding day to be sexually available for them whenever they feel like it? Men have to feed. Like vampires. Fact of life.
Chapter 16 is entitled Afterglow. It’s all about what happens after you finish fulfilling your wifely duties and you can just fucking go to sleep. Not really, Melissa wants to talk about sleeping habits. She writes, “I’m physically incapable of sleeping without him. We must be touching, too. Some body part of mine has to be touching part of him. It’s usually my foot on his leg.”
Liking to snuggle up to someone is fine, but to describe yourself as incapable of sleeping without someone else? What? Doesn’t she ever spend the night away from him? Could she imagine being parted for a single night? Well, no, probably not. Joe verifies her statement by stating, “Any touch from a woman shows a man, “I love you.” That Melissa needs to touch me is proof of her love for me. The little things, touching toes, matter.” Proof of her love or proof of her inability to be an independent person? Melissa confirms that it’s the latter.
He’s right. Joe is my anchor. Without him, I’d feel adrift. I don’t care if that makes me sound needy or dependent. What’s the point of a marriage if you don’t dependent on each other? That’s why you get married in the first place — to have someone you count on no matter what.
Yeah, why get married if not to completely become enslaved to another person and be helpless to function without them? Melissa doesn’t seem to grasp this. She writes, “I’m not a weaker woman for needed and depending on my husband. I’m stronger for it. We’re a team. He’s my best friend.”
The only problem with this is that there is no guarantee that Joe will be in her life forever. He might die in an accident. He might leave her. He might cheat. She might get fat. Lots of things can happen in life and should one of those thing happen and if he is out of her life, what is she going to do?
How will she survive without the person that she has built so much of her life around? A weak woman is someone who depends on others for their happiness and fulfillment. A strong person can survive any changes or challenges that life throws. She won’t lay down and die without her spouse and never be able to carve out a semblance of a life without them. But why are we talking about independent women during a discussion of this book? Only the epilogue is left. Stay tuned, kids!
To read all review entries of Love Italian Style, click here. Blogs are in reverse chronological order.