Taffy Brodesser-Akner Quotes
“Rachel and I, we’d been raised to do what we wanted to do, and we had; we’d been successful, and we’d shown everyone. We didn’t need to wear apocryphal T-shirts because we already knew the secret, which was this: that when you did succeed, when you did outearn and outpace, when you did exceed all expectations, nothing around you really shifted. You still had to tiptoe around the fragility of a man, which was okay for the women who got to shop and drink martinis all day—this was their compensation; they had done their own negotiations—but was absolutely intolerable for anyone who was out there working and getting respect and becoming the person that others had to tiptoe around. That these men could be so delicate, that they could lack any inkling of self-examination when it came time to try to figure out why their women didn’t seem to be batshit enthusiastic over another night of bolstering and patting and fellating every insecurity out of them—this was the thing we’d find intolerable.”
“It was like those T-shirts all my daughter’s friends were wearing to school now, the ones that said THE FUTURE IS FEMALE in big block letters. How they march around in broad daylight in shirts like that. But the only reason it’s tolerated is that everyone knows it’s just a lie we tell to girls to make their marginalization bearable. They know that eventually the girls will be punished for their futures, so they let them wear their dumb message shirts now.”
“How could you be this far along in life and still so unsettled? How could you know so much and still be this baffled by it all? Was this what enlightenment felt like, an understanding that life is a cancer that metastasizes so slowly you only have a vague and intermittent sense of your dying? That the dying is happening slowly enough that you get used to it? Or maybe that wasn’t life. Maybe that was just middle age.”
“Of course I work,” she said. “I’m a mom.” But I was a mom, too, so what was what I did called?) But also: No one had to tell me it was harder to have a job and be a mother. It was obvious. It was two full-time occupations. It’s just math. Because having a job made you no less of a mother; you still had to do all that shit, too. Keeping track of your kids from afar isn’t easier. Entrusting them to a stranger who was available for babysitting by virtue of the fact that she was incapable of doing anything else is not something that fills a person with faith and relaxation. Now that I have worked and stayed at home, I can confirm all of this. Now that I stay at home, I can say it out loud. But now that I don’t work, no one is listening. No one listens to stay-at-home mothers, which, I guess, is why we were so careful about their feelings in the first place.”
“What if one of the imperatives we never understood was about love and therefore marriage? Meaning, what if we search to make sure we are lovable and worthy of someone who commits to us absolutely and exclusively, and the only way we can truly confirm we are worth these things is if someone wants to marry us; someone says, ‘Yes, you are the one I will love exclusively. You are worthy of this.’ And then, only when you’re actually married, once this need is fulfilled, you can for the first time wonder if you even wanted to be married or not.”
“The men hadn’t had any external troubles. They didn’t have a fear that they didn’t belong. They hadn’t had any obstacles. They were born knowing they belonged, and they were reassured at every turn just in case they’d forgotten. But they were still creative and still people, and so they reached for problems out of an artistic sense of yearning. Their problems weren’t real. They had no identity struggle, no illness, no money fears. Instead, they had found the true stuff of their souls—of all our souls—the wound lying beneath all the survivalism and circumstance.”
“Here is the problem: You can only desire something you don't have-that's how desire works. And we had each other. Resolutely. Neither of us with a stray glance at another. After Adam and I were married, when I'd go out into the world, I'd see that the men I found myself drawn to were almost replicas of Adam, just like that guy in Lisbon. I wanted nothing different. I just missed the longing. We are not supposed to want the longing, but there it is. So what do you do with that? Forget it, there's no use talking about this. Talking about this doesn't make it better.”
“It was an insult to having enough—to knowing that there was such a thing as enough. Inside those houses weren’t altruistic, good people whom fortune had smiled down on in exchange for their kind acts and good works. No, inside those columned, great-lawned homes were pirates for whom there was never enough. There was never enough money, goods, clothing, safety, security, club memberships, bottles of old wine. There was not a number at which anyone said, “I have a good life. I’d like to see if I can help someone else have a good life.” These were criminals—yes, most of them were real, live criminals. Not always with jailable offenses, but certainly morally abhorrent ones: They had offshore accounts or they underpaid their assistants or they didn’t pay taxes on their housekeepers or they were NRA members.”
“But also, divorce is about forgetfulness—a decision to stop remembering the moment before all the chaos—the moment they fell in love, the moment they knew they were more special together than apart. Marriages live in service to the memory of those moments. Their marriage would not forgive them for getting older, and they would not forgive their marriage for witnessing it.”
“Adam and I left the party, and we got into bed and tried to get through another episode of the drug cartel show we were watching that everyone said got really good at the end of the third season, but we were only up to the second, and we had existential angst about whether we should be watching something that only promised to be good but wasn’t yet. We agreed the answer was yes, that hope was good, and in those moments—the ones when we endured, the ones where we agreed, the ones where we disagreed and found the other person’s point dumb enough to laugh out loud, the ones where he still agreed to do our fully choreographed wedding dance in the kitchen for no reason at all and to no music, the ones where he showed me a window into how much smarter he was than I was and how even though he was that smart he never needed to flaunt it, the ones where we rolled our eyes at how dumb everyone else was, the ones where he evacuated me from my misery and made me a cheese omelet because I was stoned and wanted something warm and milky, that was when I remembered the most essential thing about Adam and me, which was that I never once doubted if I should be with him.”
- Date of birth: October 26, 1975
- Born: in New York City, The United States.
- Description: Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine. Prior to that, her work appeared in GQ, ESPN the Magazine, Matter, Details, Texas Monthly, Outside, Self, Cosmopolitan and many other publications. Fleishman Is In Trouble is her first novel.