Banality of happiness
Unlike Miss Nagai and other women at work, I had no optimism toward marriage. My skepticism started with my parents, who demonstrated the inequality in a conventional marriage daily. Violence and cruelty of boys in my hometown, and sexual entitlement of Mark and other boys from college, and the abuse of power by Jon and his friends cemented my distrust. I liked and respected men in my life in general, but I had no hope of finding a man who treated me as an equal human being and also desired me sexually.
My work colleagues only disappointed me with their married life. The men had wives who either stayed home or worked part-time. Mr. Tada’s wife was a cashier at a supermarket but had to decline a promotion because, with the raise, her salary would surpass the threshold of a dependant, which then would take away dependent support benefit from Mr. Tada’s salary. Mr. Tamada, who was the head of the accounting department, separated from his wife after his infidelity, signed a housekeeping contract with her so that she literary continued housekeeping and looked after a child while he was busy at work. Mr. Suga in my department, who often uttered he’d divorce his wife if there had not been the child, verbally abused her by telling her, who was no older than 35 years old, that she was too old to attract men. Even a young couple who were colleagues in the IT department horrified me when the wife said she’d often work longer hours and come home to find her husband playing a videogame, waiting for her to cook dinner.
When social media was introduced to the world, Miss Nagai created an account in which she played an imaginary persona of herself, a married woman with a son. She’d post: “My husband is away on a business trip, so I cooked a less elaborate meal for my son and myself.” It was painful to see her expose her raw desire in such a pathetic way. What convinced her that cooking for her nuclear family would make her happy while surrounded by disgruntled wives and husbands in real life?