Soon: Chapter 20: Jae Kicks Ass
Paul is an ass, and Jae kicks ass.
Sure, it’s short-lived, and sure, we all know that Jae, being a woman, will be proved wrong in the long run, but I’m going to enjoy this while it lasts.
Paul is back from New York, and…well, I’ll just let Paul and Jae tell you:
“Straight wants to take me to a regional chess tournament this weekend.”
You’ve got to be kidding,” Jae said. “You were stuck in New York till last Sunday, and now, rather than spend a weekend with your children, you want to go play?”
“It’s not a question of ‘rather.’ Tournaments, when you get to play real people in the flesh, not just on-line, don’t come along that often. Straight thinks I’m ready.”
“Well, whatever good ol’ Straight thinks.”
“Look, I’m proud that I’ve gotten good enough to play tournaments again in such a short time.”
“Yeah, real impressive, Paul. But let’s face it, you’ve had nothing else to do for months. If you can waltz out of here with a clear conscience, then you and Straight just go ahead and enjoy yourselves.”
“I can tell you don’t want me to go.”
She shook her head and put her hands on her hips. “Thank you for clarifying the obvious. Where is this tournament, anyway?”
“Toledo! More than two hundred miles away.”
“What difference does it make how far it is?”
Would it make a difference to you, Paul, to know your family is leaving you next week?
Oh, Jae, you were wonderful! That bit about Paul being so good because he’s chosen to do nothing but sit on his ass for months–that was frakking beautiful.
I’m serious; I can hardly believe Jerry Jenkins wrote this. I want to give Jae some kind of prize. Maybe Isis-points or something.
And okay, I know: this won’t last. Jae is destined to be Stepfordized, and even if she was not, she is Wrong to challenge Good Christian Paul, who just wants to play chess with his Good Christian Friend, Straight.
But damn, Jae was fantastic just now. That was more than Actually Not That Bad.
But on to further tales of Paul’s asshattery!
Paul and Straight have a heart-to-heart on their roadtrip to Toledo.
(No, of course he didn’t listen to Jae and hang out with his children. Don’t be ridiculous.)
“Lately [Jae] doesn’t even seem to want me around. It’s like she’s given up on me. But I guess I can’t blame her. I’ve been no prize either.”
Either??? You’ve been no prize either? Wow, how big of you, Paul, to actually share a bit of the blame in the failure of your marriage. Let’s see, you’ve been serially cheating for eight of your ten years of marriage. You’re emotionally abusive, dismissive, condescending, cruel. Oh, and now you’re been lying to her for months about your new-found faith.
But Jae is no prize, either. After all, she’s…
Well, and then there’s…
Wait a second. WHAT HAS JAE ACTUALLY DONE WRONG, YOU POMPOUS, SELF-ABSORBED, FALSELY HUMBLE ASS???
“I’m worried about my family, Straight.”
Huh. Could this be some insight from Paul? Some acknowledgement of the harm he has caused? Worry that his decade of emotional abuse of his wife and distance from his children is something that can’t be repaired? That he has hurt his wife so much, and so deeply, that he may never be able to win her back?
“What does it mean for them that I’m a Christian?”
Oh. It’s all about Paul and his feelings. I should have known.
“You know that verse in the New Testament that says, ‘He who loves God must love his brother also.’ Well, I’ve been having trouble loving my own wife.”
Paul, you ignorant slut.
You know what, you do not have the right to complain about this. You are the one who’s spent the last eight years getting women drunk and horizontal everywhere you go. You are the one who did not get a divorce even though you and your wife were both unhappy. You are the one who has found a way not to have to spend more than twenty minutes at a stretch with your wife and kids, even after becoming a Good Christian, and now you’re complaining because you are “having trouble” loving your wife?
Let me just back up the wambulance for you, Paul.
But never fear, Straight has some Wise Christian Counsel for our confused hero:
“As for Jae, things may be difficult now, but you have the same job: to honor her and serve her. Keep it up, and you’ll be amazed at the change you’ll see in her. It’s an investment. You do this because it’s the right thing, not for what you get in return. But you will get what you give. Invest kindness, service, love, and understanding, and you’ll get it all back in spades.”
This is some of the most convoluted, disingenuous, two-faced logic I have ever heard.
It’s an investment: you give something, and then you get back even more.
But it’s not about what you get.
But you will get stuff, never fear.
This really just reads to me as an endorsement of lying to yourself: do nice things for your wife so she’ll be nice to you right back. But tell yourself that you’re doing it for the much loftier and less selfish reason of “it’s the right thing to do.”
And it has bonus points for treating women like machines without individual personalities or motivations: if I act in way A, Woman will respond in way B.
It’s an investment.