16 February 2021
For the Men
Certain types of men I get along with. With the other types, I want to take out a gun and shoot them. In fiction, I already have!
My essay, In The Home, provides a rich and rollicking history of my early years of homemaking, of trying to have more in common with women than with men. My frustrated attempts were not always the fault of the woman; more often, the problem was the Man, the male of the species whom the woman had hand-picked, to carry out her own nefarious purposes.
There are several somewhat varying categories; and there is one eternal example. That archetype remains the magnum opus for the ages, regardless of the age of the woman.
— Sperm donor. One gal-pal found the most recessive genes she could locate and marry in order to engineer blond-haired, blue-eyed children. I personally thought the heredity gamble was a risky crap shoot, but this woman, whose clock was ticking, grandly succeeded in her eugenic goals. After the child-bearing had borne the desired fruit, however, the sperm donor was more or less emotionally kicked to the curb of the marital cottage.
I did not feel sorry for this boy masquerading as a man; he was an immature, egocentric lazy pud of a person who let the wife do all the heavy lifting in the child-rearing. For who else but an egomaniac would so generously grant his exceptional chromosomes to the future?
I felt sad, but not sorry, for this gal-pal who had made a progeny deal with the devil, and soon discovered that her marital laps in that gene pool were drowning her as a person. The silent bargains that some people make to form a legal merger of two lives can proffer endless sources of fictional material!
— Professor Higgins. A complex character type whom George Bernard Shaw immortalized in Pygmalion. Here is the older, wiser, always more experienced in some arenas but less experienced in others, and frequently wealthier man. Out of his extraordinarily charitable benevolence toward women, and due to his most unfortunate need to control the feminine creation of his own ego, this man meekly subjects himself to possible exploitation by his own human achievement of womanity.
As an orphaned girl myself, I dealt with more Professor Higgins-types than I care to admit or contemplate. The ones who made any headway with me were the kind, nurturing, somewhat selfless men. Because what I sought most from a man was the type of firm but gentle guidance that my father had given to me; and the loving discipline that I never got from a mother. Those older men ennobled me as a woman, and as a person. I believe that I accomplished the same goal for them by accepting their wisdom and patient affection.
— Svengali. The evil twin of poor Professor Higgins is the sinister Svengali. The modern era lacks the essence of this perverse creep on a personal level, as he savagely attempts to control a woman, because the Internet and the plague of social media have made those despicable behaviors the purview of politics, “news” corporations, and the galaxy of “fashion”.
The term, misogyny, is bandied about as the purest form of evil perpetrated upon a woman; but the purest form of truth about misogyny is that the people casting the first and forever sexist stones are the most misogynistic of all. As for the horror of misogyny, I contend that hatred of women is a mere function of the hatred of humankind. Any man who hates women, also hates men, himself included. The people-love just isn’t there, in his cold cold heart.
The most public, appalling, humiliating, and front-page-grabbing Svengali’s were Hollywood stars of the Golden Era, when stars truly were golden. Rita Hayworth had already been re-made by Hollywood, with some fantastic results. Hubby Orson Welles re-cast her with bizarre repercussions. Rita finally retrieved the diminishing parts of her self from her husband with the statement: “I can’t take his genius any more.”
I will probably never understand whatever possessed the Southern country girl, Ava Gardner, to embark on a second, brief and ill-fated, marriage with jazz musician and bandleader Artie Shaw. He tried to educate her and to cultivate her, to teach her philosophy. Right, Ava needed to learn the intellectual theories of human existence, while she was living the hell out of life!
The Svengali type is perhaps the most masculine of male types. There may be a Svengal-esse, but I’ve yet to encounter her.
— Little Boy Blue. So misunderstood. So woe-be-gone, until he is gone to another pair of arms to caress him and to whisper sweet nothings that really do mean nothing from Little Girl Blue.
I was not ever Little Girl Blue, although I suppose I could have become her; but I chose not to, and that decision made all the difference in directing the course of my life toward happiness. Once upon a time, in a very different place and time, in the very long ago, my life became entangled with the life of a man who had been abandoned as a child. He was placed into an orphanage with his older brothers; he, and his older siblings, were reclaimed several years later by a mother who had found a second husband to abuse her sons even more than the first husband.
When we first crossed paths, at a pinball machine in a soda shop, he explained to me that he was an electronics trouble-shooter. I replied, “I’m a trouble-maker. Don’t shoot me.”
He did not shoot me, nor I him. This still-young man had been in the process of writing his life story; he claimed he needed my editorial help. I thought that 30 years of age was too young to write your life story, but, as it turned out, the life of this future criminal was about half over. His jail time took place decades after I’d parted ways from this troubled man who harbored only rancor in his heart, and not one ounce of forgiveness.
He showed me the stack of typed pages of his draft autobiography, along with 2 pix of himself: one 8x10 color photograph before, and one 8x10 after, the awful orphanage experience. The shockingly dramatic change from the innocent and hope-filled smile of a five-year-old boy to the doubt-filled sneer of an eight-year-old was horrifying and heart-rending to observe. I’d have to have been heartless for my heart to not have gone out to this person. And he kept my heart on the nurture-me-back-to-health hook for several years, until I found out that Little Boy Blue passed out those 2 pix on a regular basis to the next woman in line to fall for his pity-line.
What astounded me was the almost endless supply of women in that line!
The near-tragedy of that true tale is that this man probably knew, from a young age, that he was beyond being salvaged as a human being. He really did not want to move past his profound rage. He held onto it, like a lifeline, that eventually sunk him. Most of the females lured into his non-tender trap started out, like me, wanting to love someone, anyone, looking for love. Unlike me, those gals did not realize that this person was not looking for love. Also unlike me, those women stayed too long at a pity-party that offered no laughs, or even pity, from a man who could not love, or laugh, or feel mercy toward another human being.
Those liberties of the heart had been destroyed by too many cruelties during his childhood. Only a miracle would have rebuilt those liberties and that heart. That ruined sweet little boy grew into a ruined soured man who did not believe in miracles.
Why does a man use his grievous past as a bait to lure loving women into his lair, those arms that will hold her for a while, but will never truly embrace her, never really love her? And why do so many women flock to that malevolent kind of guy?
I cannot say why with any certainty. Perhaps physical gratification is all that such a person of grotesque insensibility has been reduced to feeling. Perhaps that paltry portion suffices as the entirety of human emotions. That sensual pleasure, however, is not, in reality, pleasure, because the mortal senses need the mind, and the heart, and the soul, to truly feel, and to sense immortality on the most profound level. That fruition is spiritual. The foretaste of heaven, on earth, is the passion between a man and a woman that is sublimed by love, pure sincere love, heart-mind-and-soul love. That authentic love is, at once, carnal and spiritual in nature, and it ardently aspires to the heavens.
The spirit of any loving person, man or woman, is the formidable fount of the more gentle and humane sentiments, and of transcendant rapture and ecstasy. The spirit of that wretchedly angry man whom I scarcely knew, but tried to love, hugged his resentments like lovers. Such a man I deemed a cad, and the term was apt, though not helpful in my acceptance of the fate he brought to himself.
Lastly, there is the type of man who presently appears to be in very short supply, except in my written works. In today’s upside-down world, that breed of man constantly runs the risk of being shot at, but not by me. I shall always endeavour to protect him:
The Humble Hero. For the man who can, and does, love, who knows how to give from the heart, who cannot help but humbly submit his self to the woman he loves, there are infinite paths open to him in the life he was born to live. The choices he must make are finely balanced among his profession, his beloveds, his personal desires, and the promptings of a heart that, as a boy, began to school him in the ways of the world.
The ways of the world did not tarnish him, or embitter him, or even scar him. The hits and hurts that he took transpired for the purpose of bruising him so as to strengthen him. With that strength, he loves and protects and defends anyone less capable of shielding herself, or himself, from the wicked in this world.
For the man who truly loves, the road to the future is an unknown source of inspiration to do better; to be of greater service to others; to build a world that might not have existed, if not for his having played his part; and for having loved, even if it meant, ultimately losing his beloved.
The humble hero offers his gifts to create a more perfect, though flawed, sphere of humanity. He seeks to calm, to soothe, to heal, to right the wrong, to fight that unbeatable foe. For the blessing of that man upon this earth, there can only be gratitude — from me, and from any woman brave enough to pursue those same goals on earth with a loving man.
For the humble hero, his equal among women was born just for him. Those two individuals meet, somehow; they join hands, somehow; and they unite hearts, and lives, and love, forevermore.
That storyline is more than mere fiction. It is real life — which fine fiction tries to tell — in words of true love.