Friday, 27 May 2011

Oprah guilt

This was absolutely the last time I’d shift uncomfortably when Shaune walked in on me watching Oprah. It was her last episode. I don’t know why I always felt a tinge of shame like he’d caught me red-handed in a nefarious act. Well, I think I know why but the real mystery was why I could never shake that feeling despite my true opinion of the show: wholesome and educational, researched and compelling. And even though I’d been known (in our house) for my over-compensatory lectures of the benefits of Oprah on our culture, I still felt a tiny bit queasy every time my husband asked what I was watching.

Yesterday I caught some news coverage about her last show where a Canadian anchor man when asked if he was a fan of Oprah’s, responded diplomatically with well, I don’t think I was a part of her demographic. Fair enough, I thought.

But something about this talk show host, philanthropist billionaire elicits bad attitudes in a lot of men I know and even some women. One girlfriend acts as if she happened to be home when Oprah was on and the only reason she watched was that there was absolutely nothing else on. Every time we discuss an interesting aspect of a particular episode, she participates using this contingency. As if to admit that had she willingly taken part in the viewing, she would have been lowering herself to a domain she would rather not be associated with.

My husband who is a modern-day Dad, an evolved spouse, and even a pioneer of the accurate division of labour in a marriage slumped his shoulders every single time I answered that I was watching Oprah. Yet on more than one occassion he watched episodes in rapt enthralment.

Honey, you know it’s true.

It’s not my intention to ask the cosmic why and shake my fists at the universe for creating men and women so different. I’m not even interested in changing my husband anymore. I gave that up some time ago – mostly. It’s this notion that I felt guilty about watching Oprah even though I loved the show. I won’t go so far as to say it was like Stockholm syndrome where the kidnapped person starts identifying with her captor. It’s something more elusive.

All I know is that for some reason the mere mention of Oprah serves to send some people straight back to the dark ages. It made my well intentioned, evolved, pioneer husband ask me Wednesday: Are you gonna have a girl party because it’s the last Oprah?

Really? Girl party?*

Oprah once said in regards to the relationship between men and women:
A man will only treat you the way you allow him to treat you.

I can’t think of one good reason my husband would suddenly talk to me like I was fourteen, giggling over Justin Bieber. In this one instance, she was wrong.

*It's a rare occassion when my husband is anything but respectful and supportive toward women.

I'm joining the ladies at the Red Dress Club in their prompt that asked we begin with the phrase this was absolutely the last time and end with she was wrong.


  1. I really love what you did with this; very well written. I am also one of these people that watched Ophah "when nothing else was on". ;)

  2. I kind of wish I could've seen her last show, but we don't get tv!

  3. I loved her show the handful times that I watched. She is one amazing woman, there's no doubt.
    I wish I had watched her last, I probably would have cried even though I wasn't a regular, lol

  4. I'm not a regular fan of Oprah, I say thi not because I'm embarrassed but its true. I like her but just didn't tune in regularly. I did watch her last show and it was great. She gave wonderful advice, left on a great note and is a graceful woman. She'll be remembered in history. I loved your post, very well written.

    Visiting from TRDC.

  5. I missed Oprah's last episode too because we don't have tv either. I do know that she will go down in history-just like Rosie:)

    And who knows why husbands act the way they do-while Oprah is on or at any other time. Figuring that out would truly be unlocking the mystery of the universe-and as they say-if we could figure it out and bottle it we could make millions ;)

    Great take on the prompt, my dear friend!!

  6. Too funny. I felt the same way when I got caught watching Dr. Phil! Love it!

  7. I never really watched Oprah, but I understand the not wanting to admit something. I'm obsessed with The Talk and my husband makes fun of it all the time. Also, I think Oprah makes men nervous, lol. I know my husband's afraid of her :-)

    As usual, I loved how your response for this prompt!!

  8. I haven't watched opra in years although I would like to. I am just rarely home at that time.

    I think when it first came on it may have been slightly "man bashy" and none of them have forgotten that!!

  9. Wow, this was an interesting take on the prompt! Well done!

    I grew up having Oprah on the tv, though, I haven't watched her in some time. I think a lot of people were intimidated by her success, but she wasn't anything to feel guilty over watching.

    Jerry Springer on the other hand... :)

  10. Oh, this is awesome!! I agree with this! I LOVED to watch Oprah!! I will dearly miss her. And men are just dumb sometimes.

  11. I love Oprah and if my husband's home I make him watch it with me. He's always willing. Lol. But I totally understand what you're talking about.

  12. I was never a fan of Oprah. I never watched the show either so I guess I was absent the day the oprah gene was implanted. She always seemed fake to me. No idea why just didn't do it for me.

  13. I like what you did with the prompt.

    I have never watched Oprah. Ever. And now that it's over, I wonder if I was missing something.

  14. This is a totally different take on the prompt. Great job.

    I rarely watched Oprah. I don't particularly feel my life is lacking from that :)

    Visiting from RDC

  15. This was so good!

    I'm sad to see Oprah go, and my husband is too (because he is the one who got me watching her!)

  16. I admire Oprah's desire to connect people in real ways. Her voice is one that should be heard. I wish that I watched more of her shows. Great piece, Kim.

  17. I love how you treated this week prompt! Nice.
    I liked OPrah and all she offered but I rarely watched the show... I think I didnt want to be tied to any daytime show. YOu are right men have this way of snidely asking if you watching Oprah like if it was a bad thing. Irritating. Men really just have a problem with girl power that is how I feel.

  18. Oprah wrong? Say it ain't so! hehe I kinda feel guilty now because I was teasing my partner about "just having" to watch Oprah's last show. She even got mad at me. I better go apologize.
    (love your blog!)

  19. I don't watch Oprah but I do watch the Food Network and I feel guilty when my husband catches me too. I think for me it's more of a "Oh, he thinks all I do is sit in front of the TV and watch Food Network." And this couldb't be further from the truth!

    Love the way you incorporated the writing prompts. Amazing post!

  20. Nice post!
    I left you a Versatile Blogger Award over on my site
    kelly garriott waite

  21. Such a creative twist on the post!

    What is it about Oprah that brings out the best in women and often the worst in our husbands?!

    And yes, it's devastating that it's over. Let's have a Girl Party. :)

  22. Great post Kim. I grew up on Oprah and have watched her on and off over the years. I will miss knowing that she's there when I feel like tuning in. She did a true "work" for many people, that's for sure. :)

  23. I watched vicariously through my mom for years.

    Stupid jobs, keeping me from watching all the good stuff.

    I really liked your take on the prompt.

  24. I actually met Oprah and shook her hand once. its a moment I will never forget.

  25. Fantastic angle on Oprah and her show. I have Oprah guilt too, but for different reasons...I hardly ever watch her show and couldn't even bring myself to watch her final episode. I feel like a traitor to my gender sometimes because I'm not an Opraholic

  26. I will miss Oprah's voice at the end of my afternoons.

  27. I've been lurking at the Red Dress Club for some time now and finally joined in with a post of my own today.

    I enjoyed this post--very engaging. I had no idea until your footnote that this post was the result of a prompt. I liked how you managed to weave the prompt theme around an element of your married life.


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