Back in January I posted a brief discursion on the subject of women as they appear to me speaking both as a man in general and this man in particular. I wanted to talk about how I perceive the differences - and similarities - of the genders, starting with the notion that we are somehow fundamentally more different than similar.Because this seems to be a very common male assumption, the notion that we're some sort of raging red Martian, all hair and tumescence, and they are some sort of silky Venusian, wanting us to use a napkin and put the seat down afterwards. Or, more simply, that there IS an "us" and a "them", and (since we're male and something like 6,000 years of Western civilization has told us that we are the lords of creation and masters of all we survey) "our" way must and always shall be better.Hell, some jackhole even made an expensive commercial about it:But I cannot find in my personal experience any real systematic evidence that women and men are somehow different at the cerebral level. For every stereotypical "manly" man I have known men with a surfeit of the "womanly" virtues: talkative, intuitive, emotionally open and sensitive to nuance, romantic to the point of foolishness. And for every "womanly" woman I have met another who is shrewd, calculating, opportunist, direct, rude, callous, efficient or gruff.
I find that women's minds are interesting as the people within them are interesting. I find female fools no more bearable than the ones with chest hair; I find smart, witty, gifted women interesting and likable for reasons having nothing to do with their reproductive capacity or their silhouette.
But...this is where the difference creeps in.
I have many men friends whose company I find entertaining, enjoyable, stimulating. And while I enjoy spending time with them, that's as far as it goes.But a woman whose company is enjoyable also has the ability to make me desire a more intimate companionship, and therein lies the mystery.
Because, while I can appreciate the beauty and grace of a man's body it does not bring about anything more. But I find the simplest things about the physicality of women delightful.It may be the strength of her fingers, or in the shining fall of her hair. It may be in the way she laughs, or the play of expression on her face. Many women are more gracile and finely made than we males are, and I have always enjoyed the more gently rounded point of shoulder and fullness of hip, the slimness of ankle and wrist. The lush curve from ribcage through the hollow of waist into the rich embonpoint of thigh and buttocks is heartbreakingly beautiful; the soft swell of bosom and belly is an ancient fertility made flesh.(I should add here that I have been...I have to use the word "accused", although I don't really get it as an accusation...accused of liking a certain fullness to a woman's appearance. Well. I'm not the product of a culture that finds obesity alluring, but I will simply reply that I revel in a woman that looks like a woman. After all,Women come in many shapes, sizes, hues and dispositions. If you treasure women, I insist that there is nothing intrinsically unpleasant about any one of them.)
A woman, just like a man, can make herself unpleasant with anger, pettiness, or greed. Of course she can. Gluttony can bury her in grossness; vanity or social fear can waste her away to a frightful and ugly thinness. But from the time the menarche has ripened her into woman's estate until senescence shrivels her sexual appeal into barrenness, I find that there is something I find winsome, something appealing in every woman who combines a heart, a soul and a wit.
And I find it a little sad and a lot more enraging that we - particularly here in the industrial West - have made a fetish of some sort of skinny but buxom, depilated, glossy, mindlessly available sexbot. As if the physical appear of a woman should be restricted to and aroused only by some anorexic swimsuit model's silicon-inflated frontispiece.
How petty! How truly, grimly, limply unimaginitively small! To - not just forget but actively deny - that the magic is not in some sort of perfect pink-tipped parabola of some laboratory-crafted, airbrushed idealized paradigm of a breast, but in the glance from under her jumble of dark bangs, in the imagined tang of the sweat of hard work you know you'll taste when you press your lips to her temple and feel the fast, hard pulse beneath that tells you her heart has sped to match the rhythm of your own.That the magic isn't in the touch of some flawless expanse of marble thigh or arch of fatless back, but in the play of the light upon the imperfect skin of the one whose intimacy makes you gasp and shudder, whose nearness only makes you burn with the need to extinguish the last atom of distance between you, to be around and within and encompassed by the scent, the touch, the rough, smooth, cool, lambent heat of the woman whose simple existence sets you alight as balefire in the night.There IS a difference between men and women. And the difference IS primarily physical, and the sad thing is that we men, generations of us, have spent those generations building ourselves idols to a rag and a bone and a hank of hair and worshiping it without a hell of a lot of us ever remotely understanding what it is about that woman that seduces us.
Or being too simple to ever get past the obvious...
Sometimes I wonder how we ever manage to succeed in finding women to spend any real time with us at all.
And on the feast of St. Valentine I should add to my own love:"'TIS true, 'tis day; what though it be?
O, wilt thou therefore rise from me?
Why should we rise because 'tis light?
Did we lie down because 'twas night?
Love, which in spite of darkness brought us hither,
Should in despite of light keep us together."
Da mi basia mille, amadis, da mi basia mille.