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Where all the women are...

December 14, 2009 | 3 Comments

Your Lake Wobegon ending is "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."
Do you think it is more important for a woman to be strong or good-looking?

Lena H.
Anniston, AL

Women are not decorative objects, my sweet, they are living, talking, thinking action figures who are on missions, some of them secret, driven by powerful inner forces, just as we men are. Because they are so crucial to the human endeavor, it's more important for them to be strong. The breakdown of a woman is a terrible thing. Families may be broken, lives skid into the ditch, when the mother falls apart. Men are not so crucial and that is why they earn more and are more prominent and successful and gaudy and write songs and novels and travel around giving speeches — their children don't need them so much. They need to be strong sometimes but they also need to be attractive, funny, kind, charming, sweet-tempered, and most of us fall short. I don't find grumpiness in men attractive or admirable. The quote, though, is descriptive of the Wobegonians, not a prescription for you or me, and that's all. The name Lena is a great name, strong and lyrical at the same time. And rare. Up here in Minnesota, we tell Ole & Lena jokes and that's why we wouldn't name a girl Lena, but it's a wonderful name nonetheless.


Yes, Wobegonians (citizens of our private worlds) prosper due to strong women, Good-Looking men, above average children, and loving gifted servant-hearts among us. Merry Christmas.

Children need their mothers, but I
have known "Mr. Moms" who have done
the job equally well. Above all, children
need love, affection and someone who believes
in them.
As far as men and women, my
husband and I have an agreement:
we are sailors and I keep things in order
and pay attention "on the boat," and he
watches for pirates, Blue Whales and
Tsunamis "off the boat." I do all the
docking and he does much of the driving.
Wobegonians are a snapshot of middle America;
a group that deserves more attention.If we
listen to them we might learn something,
like compassion.
San Clemente, Ca

May I have the precise phraseology that Mr. Keillor uses in his description of Wobegonians? I've seen slightly different versions.

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