Every now and then, this quote by Marilyn Monroe shows up on my Facebook feed, and it makes me want to do violence to my computer screen:
I hate this quote. It’s essentially saying, “Hey partner, if you can’t deal with me when I’m being horrible and treating you like dirt and having absolutely no regard for how my meanness is making you feel, you don’t deserve the awesomeness of me when I’m being amazing.” Riiiight. You’re so amazing that your partner should put up with all sorts of horrible garbage. Don’t apologize for being dreadful. Don’t try to change. Just tell your partner it’s not your responsibility to deal with your worst; it’s their responsibility to deal with it.
On one level, I get where this quote is going. You’ve got problems, you get upset, you blow up every now and then, and your partner should be able to handle that. Yes. True. It’s a good thing to be in a relationship where you can be your true, authentic self, which may very well include being a nightmare every now and then. But I feel like people take this quote as an excuse to be horrible with no consequence.
In all fairness to Marilyn, the majority of the time people throw around this quote of hers, they just use the second half of it. When we look at the entire quote, it seems at least a little better. “I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” OK, with the whole quote, we can see that at least she’s acknowledging some weakness. She’s pointing out some flaws. She has some self-awareness. But still, it’s a pretty stupid quote to go basing your attitude on.
And <martryed sigh> to my dismay, whenever I see this quote shared, it is by one of my fellow females. Ladies, seriously, would you put up with a guy who said that crap to you? Picture this scenario: Your guy goes ballistic, yelling and breaking stuff and saying horrible things to you. In response to all that, you yell through the locked bathroom door, “Dude, chill out! You’re scaring the dogbabycatgrandma!” Then he hollers, “Hey baby, if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best!” You then pause, triple check that the door is locked, and concede, “Hey that’s a swell point, sweetheart. Punch another hole in the wall. There’s no need for you to ever try to rein in your negative traits in this relationship. I totally should accept this as part of you, because when you’re not yelling and scaring me and being a jerk, you can be a pretty cool dude.” No. Of course you would not. If your guy did that, you’d call the cops, and leave him as fast as you could.
Sure, that’s a bit of an extreme example for the vast majority of relationships, but still it is true that for some people, their worst is pretty monstrous, and is never something that their partner should just accept. Anyway, the same logic still applies on a smaller scale as well. What about a guy who criticizes you all the time, doesn’t do his fair share of housework, ignores you when you’re talking, checks out other women, etc. All those annoying things that some guys do when they’re in relationships. That stuff’s not cool. Unless you’re cool with it. Then whatever. If both parties in a relationship are honestly alright with accepting each other’s bad stuff as long as it means they don’t have to try to be a better person for their partner either, then have at it. I guess just don’t expect him to be cool with all your bad stuff unless you’re going to accept all the bad stuff about him, too.
But, generally, I think we all hope that our partner wants to be nice to us, to treat us well, and to try to make us happy. And they expect the same of us. If your hope is to spend the rest of your life (or at least a good chunk of your life) with someone, you want someone who is nice to be with. Not someone who is sometimes cool, but sometimes being dreadful to you and then telling you to just deal with it. That gets old. Sure, this is complete speculation here, but maybe Marilyn’s mindset contributed to at least one or two of her divorces.
Which brings up a question: Come on now, why take relationship advice from Marilyn Monroe? Myself, if I was going to take relationship advice from someone, I’d seek out an emotionally healthy person. Marilyn Monroe had a great life in a lot of ways, I’m sure, but in terms of emotional health, not so much. And that’s not just me being a dick, because, if you’ll recall, she herself said she’s selfish and out of control in relationships. Still, I feel like a bit of a jerk here since I’m pretty sure Marilyn was a vicitim of some horrible stuff that had to be detrimental to her mental health. But let me be clear: I’m not saying she was a bad person; all I’m saying is her relationship-related thoughts may not be all that wise. Actually, scratch “may.”
If we must take advice from the realm of famous people, who, let’s face it, aren’t as a group the best at healthy relationships, why not go with someone who at least seems to be able to make their relationship work? For instance, Rita Wilson. Yeah, she’s not the most well-known person out there, and you may be heading over to IMDB right now to see who she is, but she’s been married for thirty years, which is rare in Hollywood. Even if she hadn’t been married for thirty years, I’d still take her advice over Marilyn’s any day because Rita was in Jingle all the Way and Mixed Nuts; as far as I’m concerned, that indicates stellar judgment which must surely cross over to other areas of her life. What does Rita have to say about relationships?: “We want to be married to each other. That’s the main point. You’ve got to want to be married to the person you’re married to. We still like each other a lot.” Now that’s nice. Yes, Rita. Yes. I also want to be married to a person I like a lot. And I can tell you that I would not like a person who told me I had to be OK with them at their worst in order to be worthy of them at their best.
Although that didn’t stop Mister Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks, from firing off a pretty-dumb-yet-often-quoted line on marriage: “”That woman has loved me skinny, she’s loved me fat. She’s love me bald, she’s loved me hairy. That woman, I know, loves me. So, I’m a lucky man.”
Hey, it’s the Feminomicon. I had to make fun of a boy at some point.