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Michelle Obama reveals she almost dumped Barack to find ‘another guy’: Report
Before he was leader of the free world, Barack Obama almost got dumped on account of his letter-writing habits.
Michelle Obama once warned her then-boyfriend Barack that she would find “another guy” if he didn’t drop the pen and pick up the phone, the former first lady revealed. The ultimatum came before they tied the knot, according to the International Business Times — and it was only made half in jest, Michelle Obama said in her autobiography Becoming.
“Another guy” for Michelle
When they were still dating, Michelle wasn’t happy with Barack’s old-fashioned habit of corresponding by letter. The former first lady said that she warned Barack that he would have to “get comfortable” with the phone — or else.
“I announced: If I’m not talking to you, I might have to find another guy who’ll listen,” the former first lady revealed. “I was joking but only a little. And so it was that Barack became a phone guy.”
The former president has said that he was “wildly pretentious” in his college days, and this letter to one of his former girlfriends certainly seems to fit that description. Per the Intelligencer, the former president wrote:
I haven’t read “The Waste Land” for a year, and I never did bother to check all the footnotes. But I will hazard these statements — Eliot contains the same ecstatic vision which runs from Münzer to Yeats. However, he retains a grounding in the social reality/order of his time.
Facing what he perceives as a choice between ecstatic chaos and lifeless mechanistic order, he accedes to maintaining a separation of asexual purity and brutal sexual reality. And he wears a stoical face before this.
Read his essay on Tradition and the Individual Talent, as well as Four Quartets, when he’s less concerned with depicting moribund Europe, to catch a sense of what I speak. Remember how I said there’s a certain kind of conservatism which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism — Eliot is of this type.
Of course, the dichotomy he maintains is reactionary, but it’s due to a deep fatalism, not ignorance. (Counter him with Yeats or Pound, who, arising from the same milieu, opted to support Hitler and Mussolini.) And this fatalism is born out of the relation between fertility and death, which I touched on in my last letter — life feeds on itself. A fatalism I share with the western tradition at times. You seem surprised at Eliot’s irreconcilable ambivalence; don’t you share this ambivalence yourself, Alex?
The Obamas met at a law firm where they worked together, but Barack seems to have kept his habit of letter writing for some time.
“Nothing in common”
Elsewhere in her recent book, Michelle Obama recounted a trip to Africa with Barack when she had the thought that the two had nothing in common. They were visiting Barack’s half-sister in Kenya when she says that they had “rage”-filled arguments. She hasn’t visited Kenya since.
“For every bit of awe we felt in Kenya, we were also tired, which led to quibbling, which led finally, for whatever reason, to rage,” Mrs. Obama said. She recalled thinking, “I’m so angry at Barack. I don’t think we have anything in common.”
But the couple apparently worked things out, and in 1992, Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson married. They had two children, Sasha and Malia. But there would be more trouble down the road, and the two went to marriage counseling, Michelle further revealed. (It apparently came as an epiphany when the counselor told Michelle that she wasn’t “perfect.”)
Michelle Obama has said that she opened up about the tensions in her relationship with Barack because she feels compelled — given the Obamas’ celebrity status and their idealized public image — to “tell the truth” about the challenges of married life.
The former first lady said that she wants young people to know that marriage takes “work” — even for the much lionized Obamas.
“I know too many young couples who struggle and think somehow, there’s something wrong with them,” Mrs. Obama told Gayle King last year, according to TIME. “I want them to know that Michelle and Barack Obama — who have a phenomenal marriage and who love each other — we work on our marriage and we get help with our marriage when we need it.”
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