2017 03 Real Weddings Taylor Daniels Alabama
To share a meal with a young woman of the present generation, you have to be prepared to witness signs of grave illness. You ignore her frantic scanning of the menu, the meticulous way she scrapes the sauce. If she drinks five glasses of water and sucks and chews the ice, you mustn’t comment. You look away if she starts to ferret a breadstick into her pocket, and ignore her reckless agitation at the appearance of the pastry tray, her long shamefaced absence after the meal, before the coffee. “Are you okay?” “I’m fine.” How dare you ask. When you share the bill, you haven’t shared a meal.
The always renewed debate that young people of each generation take for granted, about how to change the world to suit their vision, is not going to be renewed for women over a table such as this. The pastry cart comes first; its gilt handles tower over you, blocking out the landscape. The world will have to wait. That’s how it works. There is no villain lurking by the cash register. No visible enemy has done this to you two; there’s only your waiter, and the block-print tablecloths, the blackboard with the daily menu, the ice bucket full of melting cubes, the discreet hallway that leads to the bathroom with its sliding bolt.
Evil, said Hannah Arendt, is banal. But the work is done anyway, and it looks as if it has been done by your own hands. You claim your coats and step outside and part ways, having talked nothing new whatever into life. Young girls and women are seriously weakened by inheriting the general fallout of two decades of the beauty myth’s backlash.