Men Live Under Male Illusions
My brother's remains now live a luxurious life on a bluff overlooking a West Texas panorama of vast cattle country far out in the middle of a Texas nowhere with his first wife already by his side and his second wife due to arrive when she's ready for her place on his other side. He was not prone to offer me any brotherly advice when he was alive, but one time he did. I was in love with his newspaper's rock and roll columnist, a 16-year-old very bright girl who had decided that early in life she wanted to be a journalist and who, once he introduced us, became terribly involved with me and what I wanted in life, which then was to be a writer and live a writer's life and adopt a writer's lifestyle, or what I thought that was, which looking back on it now I see was purely fictional, most of it invented in my mind based on reading Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Henry Miller, and building up my bohemian dreams based on their writing-thinking and their word-adventures; and also, their supposed understanding of women. What? They all had terrible misunderstandings about women. Not to me then they didn't. They were males; I was a male; males need women; males need women who love them sexually and want to have their children and who, though they may be talented writers, give up their desires to the wills of the males they love. Most of these guys's books are about their running around looking for the adventure of love in all the most fascinating places of the world. Especially Paris. Wow, Paris was just the perfect place for writers in those days, but especially American writers looking for love, which all of them were. In most of their novels, it is frustrated love that keeps them searching and marrying or shacking up with their ideal women, who were for the most part as nutty and as whiskey-laced as a hyperfruitcake. All these guys drank a lot and F-ed a lot and then drank a lot some more and then got F-ed by the women they idealized, but not the way they wanted them to F them. Their women F-ed 'em in their minds.
Hemingway's best novel, to me, was The Sun Also Rises [A Farewell to Arms is probably a better written book]. What's that about? A young man, a writer, who had his pecker shot off during WWI--not his cojones mind you, but just his tool. That left him horny but without the tool to pry open the treasure that horniness so desires. Love to Jake Barnes was possible and impossible at the same time and of course in this situation, every hot babe within several miles of poor old Jake fell in love with him and offered him treasure after treasure, and you're reading about him and loving the same wonderful women who are offering him their treasures and you're understanding how he's getting his sexual thrills from men with complete dicks that bulge out of tight uniforms--like bullfighters--men who can enjoy F-ing him, the fact that he has no pecker no matter the them. It gets so male-degrading to the point one of the bullfighters he so admires from his macho point of view actually gets the prize treasure of the book, Lady Duff Twysden in reality, and poor old Jake has to know the bullfighter is enjoying with his woman what he can only enjoy with the bullfighter. He spends the whole book acting like a fully applicational man though in truth, he knows he's not even really half a man, or he's only a man now to another man. According to the advice my brother finally gave me, Jack Barnes screwed up; he could have simply offered these babes a certain surety and they would have paid to get him a new tool.
My brother just out of nowhere one day gave me this advice; we were building him a brick patio in back of his new house, and my girlfriend and his wife were making us Kool Aid and sandwiches and laughing as they watched us working our asses off in a broiling hot West Texas sun. They were having a damn good time. He said, "The mistake men make with women: they think women want them for the love they offer, for the sex, but that's not what women are wanting. Men marry for love; women marry for security." That was it. That's all he said, and he said it while looking over at our women. I caught on right quick. The women were happy and serving us not because they were in love with us or looking forward to our next session in bed or the back seat of a car (in my case) but rather because we were working our asses off in building them something they desired, a nice patio to sit on or rest on or party on and hopefully also at the same time getting in the mood to perform the double-backed beast-- that is if they feel like it. Yes, I caught on, but I didn't learn anything. I kept on going into life with the same illusional attitudes toward women.
The rock and roll columnist went on to get knocked up and marry a DJ, a lad who offered her the potential of DJ stardom and big bucks and who was also going to college learning how to be a lawyer. On the other hand, all I had to offer her in the future was more poetry; by the time we broke up I was a poet, a broke poet, yes, but a published poet. That wasn't enough for this modern woman. She married the DJ and had his baby. I was still floating around in her ethereal; I was still able to have sex with her, but I was not able to steal her away from the DJ and make her into my Elizabeth Barrett. I was an usher at her wedding and by then was going with her best friend, a girl whose dreams included being a children's book writer. She was probably perfect for me, but I was still addlepatedly in love with the rock and roll columnist who was now married to a DJ, the would-be lawyer, so I spurned the sweet girl friend and went off to serve my punishment for being a healthy young male in the U.S. Army and when I came back on my first leave, this girl was knocked up by a friend of the DJ who stole my rock and roll columnist, and now you see how twisted it is wanting a woman for sex and only being able to offer her as something in return a poem about a flying red horse and a telephone pole. I love being able to add some irony here; both these marriages failed and both women went on to try other males; the rock and roll columnist finding her perfect male, a college English professor with a sharp wit; the girl friend...I know she divorced the father of her child but what happened to her after that I have no idea. The last time I saw her she was pregnant, separated from her DJ, woeful, depressing, and trying to get me to go for the woman that she was living with then, a really cute blonde who told me later that the children's book writer was still so madly in love with me she had gone mad herself. Was she suicidal? I used to think so when I was dating her. I'm a vicious male; I apologize to all women, like Philip Wylie had to apologize for A Generation of Vipers to women back in 1955 at the same time trying to convince them he was not a misogynist bastard and really loved ALL women madly. Me, too; I claim I was born and reared by three women, my mother, her Anita-Loos-like sister, and my witch grandmother (a gentle witch; a lovely witch; but a witch just the same). I guess I'm copping out that what's wrong with me is due to my feminine upbringing, what has developed into my mother and her family living within me, doing didoes on the dancefloors of my plasma, brewing potions within the cauldrons of my bowels, tricking my male brain via the feminine emotions that have bloomed in the hothouse of my solar plexus.
And one day, I became a married man. It happened fast; it happened while I guess I was in a stupor. My bride was another woman who knew my brother through his editorials in the local newspaper and she was into politics and was a constant "Letter to the Editor" writer on his editorial page. He called me one Sunday morning and said check out the Wedding page, page 15C, top left. I went out and got his paper and checked it out. Holy Christ, there was my beautiful fiancee looking too pretty to describe in words at this time (it's saved in my memory), with a headline that she was to become the bride of me on such and such a January day way back in the 64th year of the 20th century. Me? A husband? Yes, we had talked about it. Yes, we had gotten the blood test and the marriage license and yes we'd bought the rings. But damn, I guess I just hadn't considered it real; it was just a story in my head. The night before I was getting married the next morning, I had a date with a woman I'd been hitting on heavy for over 5 months, a former beauty queen from De Queen, and after I left her apartment at 4 in the morning and stumbled into my apartment in the dark and sat down in my favorite chair, a Danish modern job with orange upholstery, and started remembering what I'd just experienced, my remembrance realerting my phallic desires to the point my whines woke up my mother who whipped on the light and then screamed bloody murder as I ran for my bathroom into which I literally jumped, almost tripping on my sloppy pants that had been down around my ankles when that light exploded in my impassioned face. I'd forgot. My parents were asleep in my room having arrived from my hometown, not found me home, found my key where I told them it would be, and me not coming home until that ungodly hour, they had simply washed up and gone to bed. That was the state of my mind I was the next late morning when I was married to the most beautiful girl in the whole damn world, and smart as a whip to boot.
After my wedding, I told my best man, my best friend, that I still couldn't believe I was married and he said he couldn't believe I was married either except that at least my wife was a beautiful woman with a great body and I should sure better hold on to her at all cost. And she was very young, too. Yeah, go ahead, you can finish this thought...too young; absolutely; both of us; too damn young. We were both escaping something, she her parents and me my job and personal dissatisfactions and wanting so badly to be a writer and where I was was just not a place where any writer with any sense writes, so right after my marriage, we moved to New Orleans.
I was still looking for love even after our marriage was working and we were living the bohemian life in New Orleans. The life William Faulkner wrote about in his first novel, Mosquitos, which I read in New Olreans while sitting in the Bourbon House bar on Bourbon on a bench behind which was a plaque reading "It was at this table William Faulkner began writing his novel, Mosquitos," a statement William backed up by mentioning his doing just that in the Bourbon House in the novel he was writing right there where I was reading the damn novel then on the same bench at the same table. Just what a man wanted: a chance to live a romantic life in a romantic city with a beautiful young fully developed romantic woman who was always romantically available anytime, day or night...except soon she came to me one day and said, "We are running out of money. So, what about work? Are you going to go look for a job? Or am I going to have to go look for a job?" She found a job--BANG!, just like that. Like the next day. And she started out making good money, too--something like $4,000 a year, being an administrative assistant to a rich man. She took me out to dinner with her first paycheck and after the king crab legs and several glasses of champagne later, she suddenly up and said, "Now it's your turn to get a job."
I did it. I got a job; really quick, too. But it was making just over $3000 a year. She made more than I did. Son of a bitch. Yep. Then my brother's words came flashing back: "Men marry for love; women marry for security."
My marriage ended one Sunday afternoon. She was sitting on the couch reading the New York Times; I was sitting in my Marcel Breuer chair listening to Bach, Glen Gould playing the WTK, on my headphones. She kicked me to attention from the couch, you know, just tapped at me with her foot. "Take off your headphones, we have to talk." "OK, baby, what's up?" "I want a divorce." "Whaaa?" "Yes, I want a divorce." "What the hell brought this on?" "You. I think you should be making more than I am or at least as much as I am." At that time, I was a freelancer making $7000 a year and she was on the board of a large employment agency making $45000 a year. I kid you not. I tried to reason with her. "Sweetheart, senior editors at Random House don't make as much as you do." "Then you should find a profession that will pay you what I make." "It's impossible, baby, you know that." "Then I want a divorce."
"Men marry for love; women marry for security."
The very insecure,
for The Daily Growler
The Daily Growler recommends the following Web sites:
-- wood s lot (if you like the arts, you'll find this blog the cat's meow-deluxe; wonderful stuff)
The Daily Growler is run by dummies and has not learned how to "link" yet. Everytime we try and link wood s lot, the html. doesn't work and addresses it wrong.
-- always, we highly recommend:
Today there was some interesting Jimmy Joyce's Wake discussion with links and also language discussing the recent National Spelling Bee results--how German words were the final words--one girl going down on Weltschmerz or something ja vol like that--go to languagehat and find out about it. We were champion spellers in elementary school but in later life we have totally depended on our Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as our spell checker, for of all the disgusting things we do, misspelling words is the most disgusting.
Take a look at this California guy's art we've discovered recently on one of our spasmodic searches:
The Daily Growler Quote of the Day
"Where is this new bird called the true American? Show us the homunculus of the new era. Go on, show us him. Because all that is visible to the naked European eye, in America, is a sort of recreant European. We want to see this missing link of the next era.
"Well, we still don't get him. So the only thing to do is to have a look for him under the American bushes. The old American literature, to start with.
"'The old American literature! Franklin, Cooper, Hawthorne & Co.? All that mass of words! all so unreal!' cries the live American.
"Heaven knows what we mean by reality. Telephone, tinned meat, Charlie Chaplin, water-taps, and World-Salvation, presumably. Some insisting on the plumbing, and some on saving the world; these being the two great American specialties. Why not? Only, what about the young homunculus of the new era, meanwhile? You can't save yourself before you are born."
D.H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature, Viking Compass Books, 1973.