The following passage comes late in Diane Meier's The Season of Second Chances and is spoken by a colleague of Joy, the narrator. Given Meier's opinions in her Huffington Post article, I think this passage from her book is about as near a relative of the 19th century authorial aside as contemporary fiction will allow. Enjoy!
"Men say that style is frivolous--clothes are frivolous, that homes are frivolous, hair styles and gossip and entertaining are frivolous--but most men tend to live one-dimensional lives unless they have wives who take care of the homes and the clothes and the entertaining for them. Their wives bring a level of humanity to them. They bring drama and detail and style into their lives. Haven't you ever noticed that when a wife dies, a man either remarries--right away--or he dies himself; while women go on as widows for decades. That's how frivolous these things are, Joy. This thing we call style--this is the texture of the world."