Jul 09, 2024, 06:26AM

The First Mrs. Gaiman

The missing person in the fantasy writer’s scandal.

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Neil Gaiman got married at 25. In his late-40s he got unmarried and took up with a woman in her early-30s. To you or me this might look like a man dumping his wife when she aged out. To Gaiman fans it looked like nothing at all. It still doesn’t, even after the news that the publicly enlightened and woman-friendly Dream King of fantasy lit is, at best, a horndog with a liking for pussy under 25, and at worst a manipulator who’ll get his shit-covered dick into a girl’s mouth and then threaten suicide if he thinks she’ll go public.

Looking at Twitter, Bluesky, and Redditt as Gaiman’s public absorbed the recent accusations by two of his ex-lovers, you’ll find a good many points made over and over: 61 and 22 is yucky, employer and nanny is disturbing, power imbalance, age gap, are there no good men, it’s lousy to get into a bathtub with a girl you just met, and so on. Nothing about the first Mrs. Gaiman.

Plenty of kibitzers chimed in to tell Gaiman fans that they never liked the guy, that they thought he was shifty or too pleased with himself, that he wrote flat women characters or included too many rapes, that they had a coworker or neighbor who reported that Gaiman went through groupies or hit on young chicks. But nobody mentioned that, back in 2009, Mr. Feminist (“Noooooo not Neil,” “The last respectable man on earth just shat the bed,” “Are there ANY good men?????”) had followed the ancient pattern of male shitheels and decided he wasn’t a husband after all because his wife’s crow’s-feet and thigh spread had become irredeemable.

Which goes to show how little attention first wives can expect, at least from the tribe of online feminists concerned with the spooky but whimsical. Results indicate the tribe cares much more about unattached young women, a focus it shares with the tribe of men that dump first wives. The angle examined here isn’t so much Gaiman’s hypocrisy (itself a very legitimate topic) as the blindness displayed by the people who know of him and his works.

Anyone who’s even heard of marriage ought to know what’s up when a middle-aged man leaves a middle-aged wife and declares his passion for somebody a decade or so younger. Old Mama just got replaced and it’s because she’s Old Mama. To fail to see this takes a force greater than stupidity. I don’t know what it’s called, but its grip on the Neilites kept them from having a clue until now, 15 years after the giveaway, when a girl and ex-girl (now in her late-30s) finally spilled the beans about the supposed respecter of women.

I remember arguing about Gaiman with a true believer a little after wife number one got trapdoored. I painted his hero as a damn smooth operator: the One Good Man decoupled with an aged partner and coupled with a younger one and meanwhile his fans raised not a peep. My take gained no traction at all, for reasons that the other party never felt the need to articulate. The years have passed. Gaiman and his new love got married in 2011, when she was 34 and he was 50. Eleven years later they got unmarried. Some fans remarked that wife number two, the indie rock star Amanda Palmer, was no day at the beach. I’ll add that she was 45.

  • This is the only honest article I've seen on the subject that doesn't make me feel insane. How are people just catching on to this man? Are people actually this stupid or does the world really find it this easy to overlook and excuse everything men do? Sadly, and infuriatingly, its a terrifying mix of both.

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