"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Friday, December 28, 2018

Good Girls And Bad Boys–A Match Made In Heaven

Good girls love bad boys, the kinds their mothers dread – Deadbeat Doug, the high-school dropout, Army recruit, he of the long rap sheet, the only one of a hundred tame classmates, harnessed and tethered well before puberty, trained to march in line, be respectful, and do one’s duty, to give full rein to the bits and pieces of Great Grandfather Hiram’s DNA – that Hiram Mycomb the black sheep not only of the immediate family but of generations of Mycombs, the bad boy who was a petty thief by the time he was ten, a numbers runner by fourteen, a gofer at Mme. LaMotte’s by sixteen, and a well-to-do procurer, boulevardier, and man-about-town by twenty.  Doug Mycomb couldn’t help himself, always in trouble with priests, teachers, and police, all of whom wanted to give the benefit of the doubt to this smart, socially precocious, and canny young man but who could not ignore or forgive serious breeches of the law.

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By the time Petty Bingham had met him, his die had been cast.  He was always on one side of the law or the other, impatient with its rules and restive behind its unjust bars; but not only did girls never mind, they flocked to him.  He had swagger, attitude, and confidence all of which had been squeezed out of his classmates.  To the law, to parents and teachers, and to priests and counselors, he was something the genetic potting wheel had cast according to plan, thrown with taste and care, but because of some irregularity in the wheel, the clay, or the hands of the potter, had come out unlike the other figurines on the shelf – not exactly misshapen but unmistakably different and unsalable.

To Petty, however, he was irresistible.  No matter what her parents said or how much they warned, she couldn’t keep her hands or mind off Deadbeat Doug.  While she read pioneer journals, did advanced calculus, and learned French, Doug hung out in Rockville packs, hustled Georgetown day-trippers, and made enough off of low-grade, below-the-radar dope deals to keep him solvent. 

Petty met him at a rave, wasted on E, sexy as hell, dancing with anyone who crossed from Aisle A to Aisle B and then heading up and dancing through the after-hours parties on the Anacostia.  He was always what she wanted – the fuck-all piss of her father, the Prince Charming of her childhood fairy tales, and the incarnation of everything her proper, conservative mother hated.

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Mr. and Mrs. Prentice Bingham both came from solid, upper middle-class stock.  He from a proper New England family, captains of minor industry (millers and hatters from Danbury); and she from the best society that the Midwest could muster – a respectable matron by way of Saint Margaret’s, Shawnee Mission, Kansas, and Vassar.  They were careful to enroll their daughter in the best Washington private schools.  Especially in the culturally porous, multi-ethnic, diversity of the Capital, one had to take certain precautions - build firewalls and no-fly zones, monitor phone conversations, install mini-cams, and vet every non-academic interchange on the calendar; but to the surprise of no one, these attempts were vain and bumbling.  As much as they tried, no friendship with the son of Senator Billings of Missouri or the daughter of Fed Chairman Randall ever matured; and if it had, it would have resulted in trouble – the same trouble that Deadbeat Doug got into, mitigated only because of connections and political influence.

So Petty hung out with Doug Mycomb no matter how much her parents objected until all the training, high-class education, and downright, old-fashioned Protestant rectitude kicked in.  Following Deadbeat Doug to Alabama, betting on the dogs in Mobile, and hanging out with offshore oil riggers and displaced Haitians was not in the cards.  As much as Doug appealed to her sense of adventure, sex, and defiance, she knew that he would never be more than what her parents suspected – a deadbeat ne’er-do-well with sexy overtones.   By the end of her sophomore year at Brown, Deadbeat Doug was history.

Petty had a number of affairs in her early post-college years, and the spirit of Doug Mycomb was invested in all of them.  There was Cameron Wright, a mixed-race Princeton graduate, graphic artist for a Hollywood studio, who, thanks to his stunning good looks and irresistible sexual allure was what Deadbeat Doug had always wanted to be but could never muster.  Chris Martin, another unstoppable bad boy who had tamed his wilder instincts, kept the most attractive, and slept and wangled his way into the best Burbank stables.  And finally Piotr Alexandrov, a Russian émigré with an aristocratic pedigree, a European playboy history, and a coldly indifferent attitude towards women.

Petty of course was not alone in her attraction to bad boys, whether lowlife Deadbeat Doug or high-toned Count Alexandrov.  All girls wanted nothing to do with the bridled, tamed, and sexually neutered males of the feminist, post-modern generation.  While academic canons, popular media, and received wisdom all pointed to the sensitive, respectful, orderly male, young women were having nothing of it.  They may have marched in solidarity with the MeToo movement against sexual abuse, enrolled in in post-modern courses on feminine ‘natural autocracy’ and will, and demurred on any invitation to dance; but they never hesitated before the advances of the Apollos, Casanovas, and Lotharios of their generation.  Petty and her girlfriends were no different from generations of women before her who had been nurtured, brought up, educated, and trained to single out the best of the best, but who fell for the worst – the rakes, Don Juans, casual seducers, and top dogs of the street.

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The New Age, sensitive man was simply not what God had planned when he created Adam; but women ended up with one, a man easily seduced by Eve, a moral weakling, a man without principles or the insatiable sexual will to populate the world.  He is the feminist ideal, not Darwin’s male – aggressive, insensitive, male to the roots, dominant, and unalloyed.   Women are not such easy marks.  They get the difference, know that they want nothing to do with the Adams of the world and are far more seduced by the likes of Milton’s Satan, a creature of intelligence, will, determination, sexual poise and confidence, and ultimate power.
Me miserable! Which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell;
And in the lowest deep a lower deep,
Still threat'ning to devour me, opens wide,
To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven.
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D.H. Lawrence understood sexual dynamics better than any author – better than Henry Miller, Albee, or even Shakespeare.  Men and women sought sexual mutuality which could only be attained after a struggle of wills.  Sensitivity, appreciation, and gender fluidity are irrelevant to the centrality of sexual will.  Sexually timid, uncertain, equivocal men and overly dependent, longing, idealistic women are part of this irrelevancy.  They will always search for sexual completion and satisfaction but will never achieve it because of their lack of focus, purpose, and desire.  

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Women may want supportive men at feminist conferences, but not in their beds.  They may respect male solidarity in the fight against sexual abuse, patriarchy, and male dominance but want a man who will, like Lawrence’s characters, refuse to be feminized, accept their maleness and aggressive pursuit, and never back off or back down in the essential struggle between male and female.

In Gone with the Wind Scarlett, after two years of indifferent marriage to Rhett Butler whom she married for his money, is forcefully raped by him, and she loves it. Sex with Rhett, drunk, angry, abusive, and irresistibly male is the first passionate, consuming, and fully sexual experience she has ever had.

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Until human DNA has been recombined to change sexual nature, urgent demands to reject male-female polarity and substitute for it a fluid gender spectrum, will fall on deaf ears.  The sexual battles fought by Shakespeare’s powerful women – Tamora, Dionyza, Goneril, Regan, Cleopatra, Rosalind, and Beatrice - and the willful power of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and Strindberg’s Laura will continue to be the essential, determining struggles of women.

Powerful, determined women will never look for male sensitivity, accommodation, or complaisance to satisfy them.  They will always look to society’s bad boys – the ineffably irresistible males who offer confidence, strength, and sexual prowess.  Canny men understand this, know how to negotiate the flimsy and artificial constraints imposed on them by a politically-motivated society, and always win the most desirable woman across the floor.

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