The World as Will and Misrepresentation » On Pathetic Male Neediness

On Pathetic Male Neediness

In Isabel Allende’s novel Daughter of Fortune, I read how the Californian Forty-Niners used to walk miles merely to look at a woman. Her just sitting there was enough. In the miners’ dance, moreover, having a kerchief in your belt meant that you were playing a woman, and would be asked to step out. The second item reminded me of the origins of the tango, danced by customers outside the brothel with one another. If any thinker about gender has mentioned the latter two habits, it would surely have been Camille Paglia; but I do not know whether she ever encountered Allende’s marvellous example of the male need even for the most trivial amount of female company.

Paglia’s work on the history of art concentrated on paintings as a source of nekkid wimmin; Boucher was essentially for jacking off to. The more high-minded approach to “Art” seems to require a belief in some kind of female spiritual superiority, of which men can vicariously partake – either by looking at an Old Master nude, or walking miles just to gaze at a seated woman. But if we suggest that this male belief in Das Ewige-Weibliche comes from having a mother, then we need to ask why women do not have it too? Well, perhaps half the women honestly believe that they are themselves a window onto a better world, while the others find the scam lucrative.

However that may be, the extreme example of those footsore Forty-Niners may suggest something to the present generation of men. We have all grown up as the product of centuries of quasi-religious veneration of women and many decades of ruthless mockery of what used to be considered specifically male values. Which need not mean killing people in duels over silly points of honour; that equation is just precisely what has been so long foisted upon us. The fact that ninety-nine people out of a hundred assume that male separatism, literal or psychic, must be synonymous with rape or at least Trumpish groping is the fruit of this long eclipse of the masculine. Let us therefore develop a new creature: a modest, courteous, and celibate gentleman, all his energies devoted to science, arts and letters. Or even gardening!

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