And I Ran So Far Away

In one of my favorite fantasies, we chuck everything and move somewhere out of the country. Someplace new, with languages to learn and food we can't identify and universes to explore. Someplace where we wear sweaters and boots in winter.

Truthfully, what with The Varmint's new full-time gig at a job he digs, the li'l nippers and that pesky needing to eat thing, it really is nothing but a fantasy. Lucky for me, it's one I've already lived.

There was a recent infographic called 'The Real Stuff White People Like' on Gizmodo. It details the preferences of different men and women of various ethnicities, based on keywords extracted from their online dating profiles. It's fascinating, funny and poignant, and true in that un-PC, tee-hee-hee sort of way.

There are many eyebrow raisers, such as the fact that white men are far less savory than even I ever expected, latinos think they are funny and love Mars Volta (!!!) and that, across the board, women can be categorized as escapists.

The white guys / frat house thing? Oh yeah. Please. Not much of a surprise there. 

But that last observation from the article has been riding bareback on my brain since I saw it: Why are women so universally ready to chuck their realities and dive headfirst into fantasyland? Are their lives that bad? Or are they just coping with stress in a different way? 

it seems so obvious when it's pointed out. "Why didn't I notice that?" I wonder. Speaking for myself and most of the gals I know, our penchant for books and movies and dinners out and 'girl time' - that observation is right on target.

I will confess to planning whole vacations on kayak.com in my free time. Vacations I will never take, but research anyway. For fun. My hobbies might even be termed escapist: Interior design, photography, garden design, shoes, art, writing... All different forms of escapism, really. 

Have you ever considered how much of your time is devoted to escaping? Ever wondered why? I rationalize that it's a side-effect of being the mother of two wee girls. But I think it's more fundamental than that.

Most women suck at checking out without feeling guilty. Escapism is planned guilt-free time, structured like an adult playdate with oneself, where permission can be given to relinquish our responsibilities to others and take responsibility for ourselves for awhile. 

As multi-taskers and caregivers, there is no OFF switch. If you're a mom or wife, there are no breaks except the ones we give ourselves. Husbands and kids both will suck up every moment of love and tending they can get their greedy little paws on - regardless of how it taxes the source. Even at the expense of health, or mood or fairness, really. Moms, when is the last time a family member planned a day off for you, cooked you a meal or cleaned up without your asking for it?

Uh-huh. That's what I thought.

Regeneration requires fuel and time. I'd say 'escapism' is how many women replenish their tanks. Often with quiet, or therapeutic talk, an infusion of beauty or an explosion of creativity. 

What do you think? How do you escape?


  1. christy said on March 28, 2011 08:30

    Tam, you are spot on target with this one. I am sorry I missed this blog right when it was posted, but I got out of the habit of checking your blog since Teagan was born. I am in the middle of a BIG move to chuck it all and run away (as you know). You have given me new things to think about when it comes to the value of escapism. I want my on and off switch back under my own control, and maybe that is what I seek more than change. Love ya, thx for another wonderful post.


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >