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

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Dreaming Of Mystery–Romances That Might Have Been And The Fate Of All Men

It is an old saw that older men only dream of loves lost and not loves had; and it is true that as one faces one’s end, it is not of one’s wife of 50 years, nor one’s December-May lover nor the  Palestinian princess bedded in a Comoros raid-sodden Moroni hotel that one thinks about, but the mysterious woman in Central Park never spoken to, the girl on the shuttle, the woman in the cafeteria, the young woman on the stairs. 

A man’s life is comprised of many love affairs, and Brian Hanford had had many – the Greek expatriate whom Haiti had admitted for drachmas, the Somalian refugee from al-Shabab, the Danish model who was looking for  a certain moral class of man, and Emma, the girl from Accounting.  Yet as Brian grew older, he thought little of these women, but of those he had neglected and lost.  Any man worth his salt, he considered, was capable of hundreds of affairs; and the more attractive, alluring, and seductive he could be, the more women in his harem. 

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Brian Hanford, as typical an American adolescent fantasy as any woman could imagine – chiseled looks, blonde hair, athletic, and arrogantly titled.  Brian had all comers, hundreds by the time he graduated from Yale and hundreds more by law school graduation.  He was one of the savvy elite – men who understood women, their fantasies, their daddy-worship, and their need for a confident, aggressive male.  Feminism, for all its social and political successes, could never get past that fundamental, Pleistocene-era sexual determinism.  No matter how they claimed sensitive, New Age men as their own, they longed for the Wall Street financier, the Formula 1 race car driver, the downhill skier, the Casanova, and the Lothario.

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Women flocked to him not because of his looks,  his profession (up-and-coming but not yet arrived), or his family (far from Beacon Hill and Rittenhouse Square but with credentials for entry); but because of his sexual interest.  He was the man who loved women, who wanted them, and who desired them far more than the most committed Darwinist ever contended.  His love for female softness, complaisance, and theatrical show went far beyond the sowing of seed.  Progeniture was the last thing on his mind as he made love to princesses.  Offspring was far from their minds as they gave in to his blandishments and seductions.

D.H. Lawrence understood women – unfortunately for him not in the persuasive, alluring sense, but in the metaphysical one.  Women and men sought each other, Lawrence believed, to consummate an existential relationship.  Pure, mutual sexual bonding was the stuff of karma, and few people came close.  Birkin, Gudrun, Gerald, and Rupert (Women in Love) try desperately to find their sexual coevals and never do.  Gerald finds himself before suicide, but the others continue to muddle through, trying and testing each other with no resolution.  Even Mellors and Lady Chatterley who have come together and realized Lawrence’s wonderful sexual mutuality, find that such existential unity is but feeble when covered by the wet blanket of society.

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What is to become of a Lawrentian, Lotharian man in a modern feminist culture which wanted nothing to do with mutuality and sexual compromise? A culture which insisted on the essential dominance of women – the sex responsible for procreation, the one able to question paternity, and able to lie in wait for centuries for opportunity? It is an uphill fight.  The rooster’s contribution is worth little in the age of marketable male DNA.  A woman can pick and choose from thousands of online, catalogued, sperm donors. In the next few years the genetic bits of Michael Jordan, Einstein and Marilyn Monroe (exhumed and mined) will be for sale, obviating speed dating, singles bars, and electronic hook-ups.

The savvy, testosterone-fueled, deliberate male sexual adventurer has but few generations left; but while the field is still open to sexual innuendo, suggestion, and allure, the Casanovas of the gene pool will still have a leg up.  There are still women who want to marry their daddies and who will willingly capitulate to male will –  gender outliers in an age of aggressive sexual politics and DNA presumed uncertainty – and men are ready to invade the space.  In the short time available to them before sexual dynamics becomes  a relic, they are on the prowl.

Most women in this transitional age know exactly what is happening.  They see daddy-ism replaced by some eponymous cohort – sensitive, New Age men who want to please women, not satisfy them; who want to curry favor through respect, honor, and devotion, but who have left virility at the door.  Women say they want this tamed, feminized version of men, but cannot quite get over their erotic dreams of being taken.  Somewhere, they hope, is a balance between sexual respect, and sexual claiming. 

Brian Hanford was not one to wait.  As long as women still wanted virile, confident, sexually secure men; and the more most men drifted along the gender spectrum towards sexual indifference, the more open the sexual field was for him.  His were easy pickin’s.

Yet for all this sexual opportunism did for Brian’s ego, it did little to settle him in his waning years.  No matter how many seductions, beddings, or sexual victories, he was prisoner of his sex.  God created men to be sexually interested and active for a few short decades, then consigned them to many more of regret over lost opportunities.  The girls on the park bench, on the merry-go-round, at the museum, in class.  Why had they been let go?

Male sexual nature being what it is, there is no capping off of sexual desire, no filling the sexual tank.  Any lost opportunity, regardless of is b sexual fulfilment, is a regret.

Even men who have suffered rebuff after rebuff, whose every attempt at sexual contact and intercourse has ended badly, still pursue, no different from dogs after bitches in heat, and the more they fail, the greater the regret.  The Casanova who laments the loss of the Palestinian princess of royal Salafi roots, of dark Mediterranean beauty is but one-off, nothing to compare with the doofus who has missed hundreds of opportunities.  Regret is doled out proportionately.

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‘The One That Got Away’, the story of fish and women; and it was not lost on Brian Hanford who, in what was certainly to be his last decade, felt that far too many opportunities had slipped through his fingers.  He had let many profitable deals drop, winning hands unplayed, investment opportunities ignored; but these were nothing compared to the woman on the Comoran beach, the girl by the Oberoi pool, the matron at the park. 

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At times he felt neutered and betrayed.  Who ever said that any woman was the worth of Stendhal, Balzac, Faulkner, and Shakespeare? Every sexual pursuit represented time lost from proven value. Was it not irony enough that God created men to live short sexual live and then consign them to a few decades of unsatisfied desire and then eternity, that He had to make men always regretful of the past?

Would Brian be able to rid himself of the obsession in enough time to contemplate his End and his Future? Could he possibly die unencumbered and spiritually innocent? Ah, God worked in mysterious ways, tempting and challenging us till the very last.  Still, knowledge is cold comfort, and Brian wanted to view the heraldic angels and listen to epiphanic music without distraction.  Doubtful.  Christ’s temptation in the desert was nothing compared to the inviting, soft, yielding, delicious flesh of young lovers.

His final moments were kaleidoscopic – flashes of Palestinian princesses, women alone on park benches in Central Park, a few fleeting glimpses of loving wives, and Usha, Pakistani goddess; and intermittently, visions of Jesus in long, flowing robes and a halo, smiling.   There was nothing he could have done to prepare better, to initiate some existential considerations.  He had been created so imperfectly that no religion’s blandishments would have been of any use, even if he had believed them.  He was, like all of us, alone, Lear’s ‘bare, fork-ed animal’, but with more frustration.  Why had God not made us like plants, he thought in his delirium? Hiving off bits and pieces to create offspring without all this sexual nonsense?

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He thought of sophomore biology and the differentiation of the plant, animal, and inanimate kingdoms; but rather than wonder why he had not been created as a rock, he thought of Mr. Purdy’s sex lecture on how to get a woman hot.  Mr. Purdy had been expelled from school when word of his lecture got out, but not a one of his students ever forgot him, his beautiful wife, and the impossible urgency of sex.

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