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"Love" in the Afternoon

by P. Kellach Waddle

While chatting with one of my non-soap-opera-watching pals recently, who of course knows of my career as a freelance member of the "Soap Press," I realized there is still a myth or two pervading among those who are not partakers in these daily doses of heartbreak and horniness.

One of these Myths is that the main thrust of any story on daytime drama is that some poor lady will find "The One" and then after years and years of ordeals they will finally get together and live happily ever after and then help OTHERS with their own horrifying ordeals. This, ladies and gentlemen is over.

You see now when fortysomething women finally DO get the one...they go out of their way to screw it up. The romantic fulfillment fantasy of soap opera of the past has now made way for middle-aged women who can't leave well enough alone and need to be slapped REALLY hard, sent to therapy...or perhaps a vigorous combination of both.

One story on the highest rated soap now is epitomizing this, and considering this story recently came to a turning point on allegedly the most romantic day of the year, (Valentine's Day a scant two weeks ago)...I have felt compelled to write it ever since (especially since my dear editors here didn't invite me to express my feelings about love with the rest of the staff in the Valentine section of the last issue, probably because I wear a black shroud each Feb. 14 to demonstrate my own personal faith in romance.)

On the now completely misnomered YOUNG and the Restless, we Have Nikki. Nearly TWENTY years ago she was a stripper who caught VD from a future policeman and a brooding creepy rich guy named Victor decided to make her his Eliza Doolittle- in a G string- to his Henry Higgins with a cosmetics conglomerate. They both married numerous members of each other's exes' families' and FINALLY when poor Nikki was on her death bed for the THIRD time in 6 years (her maid was secretly her THEN husband's psycho not-dead ex-wife...she politely shot 4 people on their anniversary killing that particular husband and nearly mortally wounding poor Grandma Nikki.) Victor and Nikki finally decided again each other was "The One" and he married her thinking she was about to die.

She didn't (Her contract wasn't up, she makes a ton of money...and moreover she wasn't played by some neophyte 20-something who the minute they get their face on a soap magazine thought they were going to bolt their job and get an Oscar the next year.)

So after she recovered and they dealt with Victor's most recent ex-wife, being none-too-happy Nikki didn't die (He divorced HER to marry the supposedly about-to-be-a corpse Nikki) one would think any NORMAL middle-aged person who would have gone through so much to be with her...

Ahem...TRUE LOVE...might be happy to friggin' chill.

Ummm. No.

Within THREE months...yes just THREE months of making Victor's annoying ex-wife shut the hell up (She retaliated with such things as stealing Victor's sperm. Yes, folks, I cannot make this stuff up actually I CAN someone give me a soap writing gig.) Nikki suddenly , despite the fact she is 40 something...decided VICTOR WASN'T PAYING ENOUGH ATTENTION TO HER!!!

Hello? Is this the 11th grade? You have children, you have grandchildren.. You have almost died more often than A Saving Private Ryan character...GROW UP.

So what does she do? The evidently none-too-thankful to be happy Nikki runs off. ON CHRISTMAS no less, with one of her other exes that is so young, she owns clothes older than he is and leaves her whole family and a VERY pissed Victor and decided to play the ho-ho-ho away from her family.

The ramifications of this of course are ongoing. Sperm thief has taken Victor into live with her...Nikki's kids of course think she has lost her mind to ditch their daddy she pined over for twenty years for an ex-pool boy...and blah blah blah.

But here is where you myth-believers on the romantic side need to be educated about the soap opera of today. On a soap opera 25 or 30 years ago, once a lady of a certain AGE found "The One" (much less for the third time after losing him twice before) she was glad. AND SHE KEPT HIM. She didn't suddenly whine about problems that would embarrass a Dawson's Creek resident and then hit the road on our Savior's birthday.

For instance, the stalwart Jo on the defunct Search for Tomorrow was married 4 times in that show's 36 year run. Nikki's daughter Victoria was married 4 times...BEFORE SHE COULD LEGALLY BUY A DRINK. The soap opera "heroine" of today ostensibly to show her liberated-ness, once she gets who she has whined and pined for.. suddenly acts like a hormonal school girl.


These kinds of stories demonstrate to those of us, (granted a small percentage) of the straight men who follow soap opera, much less are members of the soap opera press.. that perhaps our growing bitter misogyny is not misplaced. No matter if she is 20 , 30 , or 40 , it seems the point being hammered home is that nowadays, regardless of generation...women are still gargantuanly immature, selfish creatures who exist solely to make men's lives frighteningly miserable as they lead us around by our collective scrotums (unless of course your name is Mom or Grandma, then you are usually a saint and no bitches in tight white skirts with the body of a goddess and the brainpower of igneous rock can compare to your gloriousness. Yeah, damnit, Oedipus THIS.)

Therefore if there are still a few of you who perceive that when you get a chance to sample daytime drama...that you will be swept away in some sort of romantic fulfillment fantasy that makes your own usually sorry-ass love life seem even more dreadful than it is...I am afraid I am writing this column to invite you to smell the coffee. Today's daytime ladies don't know WHAT they want no matter how many years they whine for it.

And guess what else... just to leave you with another myth destroyer...ALL of those pretty guys the wench you will turn heaven and earth over to please will dis you for- THEY ARE ALL GAY. EVERY last one of them.

LOVE in the afternoon my ass.

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