Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Revolution overrated

ACCORDING to Time magazine, the sexual revolution is over. We had all better believe it. When Time says on its cover that something is over, it's really over. Sometimes things are over even when Time says, on its cover, that things are just getting on. Newsmagazine cover stories are never premature.

So here is this well-coordinated report bringing the world the late bulletin - well, the fairly late bulletin - that ''commitment'' and ''working at relationships'' and even ''romance'' are the operative phrases of the '80s.

About these ads

We couldn't be happier to hear that marriage has become ''something hip, ambitious women could do,'' as one interviewee told Time.

But then a tiny shadow began to creep across our very committed and romantic heart just as we put on our great-aunt's recording of ''Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life'' and settled down to read all about the arrival of the ''We Decade,'' as another Time interviewee proclaimed it.

What could the matter be? As we scanned on, we realized that our unease had less to do with Time than with The Authorities - the psychiatrists, the psychologists, the sociologists - whose quotes strutted confidently across the pages in little white smocks, as it were.

If we are not mistaken, these voices expertly declaring the end of the sexual revolution are pretty much the same Authorities who cheered it on in the first place.

''Wise up, you mossy Victorians,'' they shouted rudely at you and me back then. ''Liberate yourself from your Puritan hang-ups, which, by the way, are hazardous to your health. Get in touch with your feelings. This is the 20th century - let it all hang out.''

Let it all hang out. They actually said that.

It's very hard on one, not being hip - never being hip - always murmuring, ''Start the revolution without me.'' But we endured, you and I. We suffered being harangued at by philosophers like Hugh Hefner and every passing proselytizer of the New Morality. And then, when we saw this cover story slip through our mail slot, we dared to think - we admit it: ''Maybe our Time has come.''

About these ads

Maybe there would be a printed apology, with a nice border, addressed to all the squares, past and present.

We looked in vain for a simple, manly confession: ''Sorry. We were wrong. You were right.'' Instead, our Authorities had done a quick costume-change out of their fun-crowd leisure suits, and here they were, in three-piece gray, behaving as if they had just invented monogamy.

''Grow up!'' they are now shouting at you and me, as though the sexual revolution had been somebody else's idea. ''Swinging is out. Open marriage is closed.''

One Authority stood on tiptoe and saw the future for Time: ''There's a movement back to more stability.''

Fine. But what about those of us who never moved very far in the first place? Revolutions get loudly announced, both as to their beginnings and their ends. Meanwhile, for most people, daily life goes on.

We don't mind the folks on the cutting edge discovering tradition as if it were the newest thing around. We're certainly glad the Yippies, who said, ''Never trust anybody over 30'' and wore buttons reading, ''Kill your parents,'' have changed their minds now that they're practically 40 and ''into'' what they call ''parenting'' themselves.

But we do wish that life didn't always get dramatized as one hot trend after another. Some days it's enough to make you cry, ''Stop the trend-mill. I want to get off.''

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.