dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

He's trying to 'save' her: why John sucks as a husband.

One of the many, many mistakes clingy, needy, wussy Nice Guys™ make is that they seek out women they judge to be somehow damaged in order to "fix" them because of their need to provide what they deem to be help. The same sick, fatuous impulse that drives Anthony's stomach-churning fantasy in which he makes it clear that he sees Liz not as a person with hopes, dreams and fears of her own but as a passive object to be rescued propelled an equally repellent moron ages ago.

Said nincompoop is, of course, John Patterson. You see, forty or so years ago, our lad came across a woman he still believes needed rescuing from herself and her silly and bizarre belief that she somehow needed an identity independent of a male when it seemed obvious as all Hell to the oblivious and unobservant git that his mother was a happy homemaker who was content as anything to be Mrs Will Patterson. Although it's obvious as all Hell to me (owing to my brain doing something John's doesn't called "functioning") that Carrie might have loved to be more than a mere housewife, she also knew that Society would look down on her for leaving her family in the lurch and so on and so forth. Since she wasn't given a choice that wouldn't hurt, she just made the best of the same bad situation other Carrie Pattersons were in and put aside happy thoughts of a life of ease and fulfillment until after the nest emptied.

Since John is a smirking bonehead who, like most of his kind, revels in being unaware of the subtext that surrounds him, confused her smiling her way through the grimly inevitable with contentment with her lot in life because it confirmed what his real parent (network television) told him. Given that his predilection towards thinking that people were put on the Earth to serve him was validated by hucksters who don't want to rock the boat and are all kinds of scared of women to begin with, his belief clearly seems to have been that were he to rescue Elly Richards from her many, many "neuroses", he would become a more worthy person and thus receive the approval of society. What's more, he would have her gratitude.

What went wrong is, of course, that his happy little fantasy ran aground on the rocky shoals of a place Nice Guys fear: the land of objective reality. Since John is stupid and blind and stubborn and proud of it, he doesn't get it that he's not seen as a savior whose help is longed for but as an antagonist that Elly spent the longest time thwarting. This caused him to retreat to an alcove in angry confusion and fear. The only reason that the two of them are still together is that they're not around each other long enough to antagonize one another. The sad thing is that said distance has allowed them to befriend the impostor lack of contact created. John loves the dedicated housewife he thinks Elly is and she the supportive husband of her fantasies. This would be bad enough were it not the happy ending that Mike, Deanna, Liz and Anthony are destined to embrace.
Tags: death to nice guys(tm), john versus reality

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