Melissa Addresses the Book Controversy
Melissa responds to some of the negative criticism regarding 'Love Italian Style'.
Hi, everyone! What a week. The finale episode was only part of the excitement. My book Love Italian Style has been out for over ten days now, and it’s making headlines. Some of the content is controversial to say the least. At first, I was upset that a website accused me and Joe of horrible, disgusting things. But now I see it as an opportunity to further explain my philosophy about marriage.
Regarding the quote in the book about Joe saying every woman wants to have her hair pulled and clothes ripped off sometimes: First if all, it's not meant to read literally. Joe would be in serious trouble if he tore my clothes! His point is that women like feeling taken -- within the trust and safety of a mutually respectful relationship. Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey can attest that there's a difference between racy and “rapey.” When Joe and I talk about dominance and submission, it's racy. It's about a man being a man, a woman being a woman, a man taking charge and a woman letting it happen -- consensually! There are times I play hard to get, and Joe knows those signals. But when I am not in the mood, Joe doesn’t force me to do ANYTHING. In the Jezebel article, the reporter failed to quote another line from the book when Joe says, “She’s not in mood to have sex? How about a three-minute massage instead? Men need to be touched. Skin on skin. A kiss, a hug, a massage. That’s enough on some nights.” Or when Joe wrote “My wife is my life. I live to make her happy. I like it when she tells me what she wants.”
When I refuse my husband, I do it nicely. I don’t slap his hand and say, “Get away from me.” The article took me to task for this. How can anyone find fault in showing kindness? I just don’t get it. I should make my husband feel like a pervert for wanting me? What purpose would that serve? Hey, I’m a nice person. I say “no” with kindness. Ladies, you won’t go to your grave wishing you’d humiliated your husband more often. I never regret being kind, to anyone, at any time, especially my husband.To the point that, in a marriage, sometimes you have sex because your partner wants to, even if you're not so into it: I defy anyone in a long-term relationship, man or woman, to say that they've never done it for their partner's sake once in a while. It's called compromise and compassion for the person you love and trust most in the world. There is nothing wrong with that, and nothing wrong with admitting it. I also made the point that, if you’re not so into it initially, you might change your mind a few minutes later, and wind up glad you said, “Okay, let’s go.”
About my saying that I need my husband: You bet I need him, and he needs me. I’m proud of that! Our family is our world. We turn to each other for support, love, and affection. We depend on each other to raise our kids, run our home, and pay the bills. Again, I defy any couple in a happy marriage to say they don’t need their spouse. If independence is a matter of principle for women, then why get married at all? Saying “I don’t need anyone” might make some women feel happy, secure, and superior. Not me. I love being married and depending on Joe, just as he loves being married and depending on me. Our need for each other doubles our joy and halves our pain. It’s how we share our lives.
Regarding our parenting style, how Joe said he doesn’t change diapers. The article pulled out one sentence, but failed to include the entire passage. Here it is, in full: “Some guys change one diaper or give a baby one bottle, and declare themselves Super Dad. They hand the baby back to Mommy, and then go to the garage to putter around or sneak off to their office to look at porn. I don’t feed babies, or change the diapers. My father never wiped my ass, and I don’t either. But, I get on the floor and play with my kids for hours.” This is what I mean when I say that the quotes were taken out of context. And guess what? My kids are out of diapers. They’re done with bottles. But Joe still runs around with the kids, and plays with them for hours. Another thing: Of course, I poop in my own house! I just don't let Joe see me do it. I keep that business to myself. You wouldn't let a man see you poop on the first date, right? That's my point. Keep the mystery alive in a marriage. Date your husband.
Finally, to the issue that I’m a throwback housewife: I concur. I am a “housewife.” I’m also a Housewife. I cook and clean; I’m on TV, am a recording artist, and now a published author. I treat my husband like a king; he treats me like a queen; I wrote a book about it. I’m an unapologetic traditional wifey, and that makes me happy. So does singing, writing, and meeting fans. I do find it ironic that some viewers of the show say that Joe is my puppet, and then criticize my book and say that he’s a control freak rapist. The truth is: he’s a passionate, red-blooded man who loves and respects me, just as I love and respect him.
In our marriage, we do whatever we can to make each other happy, and we succeed. If it makes my husband happy to have a hot meal on the table when he comes home from work, I cook for him. I love to cook. It’s not such a giant sacrifice. And if it makes me happy to sing and record music, he builds a studio for me in the basement. He also supports me to no end, tells me he loves me and that I am beautiful every single day, and has my back no matter what. That being said, if he’s unhappy with something I’ve said or done, he tells me. And vice versa. We correct each other. Our marriage is a two-way street. Having a well-fed family and a beautiful home are sources of pride for me. Hardcore feminists are allowed to cook and decorate, too, amirite, Jezebel? Or not? Clearly, that reporter’s ideals about marriage are different than mine. Good for her. To each her own. As the subtitle reads, my book is about “The Secrets of MY Hot and Happy Marriage.” I hope people will judge my book after they’ve ACTUALLY read it, not just on one article on a notoriously snarky blog that misconstrued my message in order to get hits.
Accusing Joe and I of promoting marital rape diminishes the real terror and violence of a forcible act of sexual violence. Women who are prisoners of their husband's violence have no escape from physical and psychological trauma. Playing hard to get is NOT domestic abuse. If any women reading this are in a nightmare situation, go to www.NOMORE.org for help.
Now, on to the episode.
I simply can’t/won’t rehash the Penny/Johnny confrontation. As far as the backstory goes, who said what to whom, I dust off my hands to the entire mess.
Jacqueline and Chris: You inspire me every day as parents. I’m honored to call you both my friends. Jacqueline, no one cracks me up the way you do. Your honesty and wit never fail to make me smile. Chris, your steady, calming presence is a gift for your family and everyone who knows you. Love you!
Caroline, Albert, and the entire Manzo crew: I’ve felt so close to all of you over the years. We’ve spend many nights breaking bread, opening bottles, and laughing until our bellies hurt. I hope that’ll continue for many years to come. I’m glad you decided to keep the home where you have so many beautiful memories of raising your family. Can’t wait to watch Manzo’d with Children! Congrats.
Kathy and Rich: you already know how much Joe and I love you. Kathy -- congratulations on your upcoming cookbook! I can’t wait to read it and get baking. You and Rich are a great couple. Your wonderful kids are the proof in the pudding of your happy, healthy home life. As Andy would say, Mazel!
Rosie: You know how I feel about you. You are a special person, charming, strong, funny, all around awesome. Joe is so lucky to have a cousin like to you. We love you!Teresa and Joe: We’ve obviously had our ups and downs, but in the end blood is thicker than water. Teresa, I know you will remain strong and know in your heart that we will always support you. We love you.
Last, I want to thank everyone for watching the show. To all the fans who’ve tweeted me, and the thousands of people I’ve met in the two weeks at my book signings, I love you all! I’m so grateful to you for the smiles, letters, photos, the love and support. You are the reason I put myself out there, and why I push myself to try new things, and express myself in music and writing. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
If you haven’t already, please check out my new book Love Italian Style. And “Never Let Me Go” is available on iTunes. A listing of upcoming book signings and events can always be found at melissagorga.com. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for all my news and photos.