WELLESLEY FALLS, Mass. Marci Bowline is noted among her suburban housewife peers for her enthusiastic, some would say aggressive approach to the holiday season that runs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. “I’m not saying she’s over-the-top,” says a neighborhood acquaintance named Judy Blasner who asked to remain anonymous, “but her gingerbread house was so big they had to get a zoning variance.”
“Honey, the building inspector says we need to add more icing to the roof.”
But with the end of the period of intense socializing, decorating, baking and gift-shopping comes a sense of lassitude that verges on depression, sending Marci into a tailspin from which she is unlikely to recover until–and unless–she receives an expensive item of jewelry from her husband Cliff for Valentine’s Day in February. “Marci gets so excited stringing white lights over everything that she burns out like a space shuttle re-entering the earth’s atmosphere,” Cliff says to this reporter in hushed tones so as not to alarm his wife until she reads his comment on internet. “I’ve tried everything short of a tranquilizer gun, nothing calms her down.”
“Maybe we just need to add a few more lights . . . somewhere.”
Marci suffers from Seasonal Affection Deficit Disorder, a malady whose symptoms include exhaustion, indifference, and a loss of interest in sex and less lurid expressions of sentiment. “SADD sufferers–and try saying that five times fast–sink into a state of despair shortly after taking out the last load of chardonnay bottles from their New Year’s Eve party,” says Dr. Clinton Kusker of the Institute for the Study of Suburban Housewife Ailments in Ladue, Missouri. “Where before they would merely flinch when their husbands tried to touch them, once SADD sets in they are liable to tear off a body part.”
Some husbands cope with the ailment by making themselves scarce beginning with the National Football League’s “Wild Card Weekend” until the final whistle blows at the Super Bowl, but specialists recommend that they try to maintain contact with their wives from a distance, like powerful space telescopes set to receive signals from aliens in other galaxies. Cliff Bowline is a member of the latter group, and he made a hesitant, tentative approach to his dispirited wife last night in the hope of renewing their pre-Thanksgiving state of equilibrium.
“I’ve heard good things about that new TV series,” he says, poking his head into a darkened den where she sits, brooding and nursing a glass of white wine.
“Which one?” Marci asks.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s getting great reviews and . . .”
“Just what I need,” Marci snaps. “A TV show about a bitter woman whose husband sleeps with his secretary.”