A Monopoly On Being Flattered

The feminist SF writer Sheri Tepper once posited a utopian society built on giving both sexes what they most wanted and having them sacrifice lesser ambitions thereto. What men most wanted, she thought, was paternity confidence, so that her husbands were guaranteed legitimate issue, enforced by the death penalty for “mismothering”. This the women had to give in order to get their own great desideratum – to be cosseted. Her matriarchs accordingly enjoyed the attentions of a corps of male Consorts – sterilised masseurs, entertainers, duellists and lovers.

This is mostly a fantasy, of course, although the Tōkyō “butler café” runs it close. This is where the women of the hostess bars and “maid cafés” go to receive the exaggeratedly deferent attention that they are obliged at other times to give to their male customers. I have also heard that some women purchase 500 digital boyfriends from Sorority Life at one time. Apparently one software program giving you digital attention is not sufficient.

Tepper’s fantasy is nevertheless highly educational. For the fact that there were no Consorts for men in this system, or even brothels, may suggest that one of the lesser-known reasons why respectable women are so outraged at commercial sex is that they are subconsciously attempting to realise Tepper’s vision, whereby cosseting is the privilege of women alone. If males have a need to be cosseted and flattered, why then, they must be encroaching on a specific female territory and usurping specifically female privileges! After all, there is only a certain amount of cosseting available in the universe, not enough to go round……

Alternatively, the fact that many men are prepared to make heavy sacrifices to get that cosseting may represent a reflection of themselves in the mirror that women would prefer not to see.

Posted on February 9, 2012 at 12:26 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: THE NAME OF THE GAME, The Matrix Of Exchange

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