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"If a Man Wants to Leave His Toothbrush at My House, He Bloody Well Better Marry Me"

11/1/09

Good day, Woman UP'pers. On this All Saints Day, I'm wondering what the rest of you in the coven think about a couple of different pieces in the Washington Post. First, what a great obit of Michelle Marvin, who popularized palimony but never collected a dime of the $104,000 she was awarded for what a judge called "rehabilitative purposes'' after her companion (but not husband) Lee Marvin dumped her and she sued him for a share of the millions he'd made while they were together. (She did award herself his last name, which must have been more self-flagellating than self-aggrandizing after he left her for his childhood sweetheart.)

After an 11-week trial -- of marriage itself, according to her lawyer -- she famously said, "If a man wants to leave his toothbrush at my house, he bloody better well marry me." Then she spent 30 years with (but not married to) Dick Van Dyke.

I remember her as the cautionary, anti-role model of my adolescence, and do wish her obit had shed a little more light on the decades after the lawsuit; does anyone know how the story ended?

Also wondered what others thought about the woman addicted to abortion. (Here's a Post transcript of an online discussion with Irene Vilar, under the headline "Nightmare addiction: abortion.'' It's sub-titled: "Irene Vilar tries to explain the pathology that led her to abort 15 pregnancies."

So my question to my pro-choice sisters: If there's nothing wrong with abortion, either morally or physically, then what does sheer volume change? If, as Slate's Emily Bazelon wrote last year, "sometimes an abortion is a few not ideal hours that give you the rest of your life back,'' then at what point does it become a pathology? (Six? Ten?)  {Melinda Henneberger}



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