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

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Return Of Machismo - The Tale Of An Irresistible Man In A Sexually Cautious Age

Harper Ferry was an interloper in the gender wars - a man who threw received feminist wisdom out the window and who was unabashedly and unashamedly a predatory male.  He was a modern day Casanova who seduced innocent young women and who took older, savvy, suspicious women to bed with ease. 

Take Linda Darnell, for example, a woman who had grown up in a patriarchal, male-dominated household, who adored her devoted, loving father and wanted more, not less of his attention.  She admitted that she had a thing for him, a Peyton Loftis love affair, an incestuous but unavoidable relationship that neither admitted until it was too late. 


Linda had transferred her sexual desire for her father to Harper, an older man who knew of her family relationship, but rather than be deterred by it, was all the more desirous of the woman who had known from the start that no greater attraction existed than between father and daughter, who had dismissed conventional mores, and acted on her own - her own woman, more determined, disciplined, and completely and absolutely feminine than any woman he had ever met. 

How could one compete with such a love?  Or tempt any woman who had tasted such intimacy? But how different could this woman be from the hundred he had slept with?  Janey from Iowa, Bridget from Tuscaloosa, or Amy from Queens all needed not just men but fathers, brothers, or some vague amalgamation of all of them.  No woman exited adolescence without an emotional reticule.  No woman sussed, vetted, and chose on the basis of some mediated algorithmic variant of Mr. Right.

Young virgins were prizes in the sexual lottery, enjoyed for their simplicity and eagerness. Tara, for example, the Punjabi he met in Bombay whose 'never met a man like you' desire for an out-of-caste bad boy was easy prey.  And so was Lucinda, a Jewish Argentinian who had been waiting her whole life for a man who understood the complexity of her Semitic-Hispanic roots; Palestino-Israeli, Russian shtetl, exodus, and finally cono del sur Latino machismo environment. 

The real prey were women who had been through the sexual mill, scarred, discouraged, diminished by men who had taken them, enjoyed them, and left them.  These were women who had wanted nothing to do with men, had not yet endorsed misandry or male-hatred, who still had hope, but were on their guard, firewalls up, perimeters tight. 

Eliza Bennett was just one such woman - married twice, abandoned twice, suspicious of any man's advances and intentions, yet despite it all desirous and wanting more.  When Harper met her she was sitting in the corner of Paddy's, an Irish pub in the West Village nursing a beer.  He knew immediately who she was, what she was, and where her ports of call were.  She was defiantly alone, angry, and armed; but Harper knew the type - the gullible type who always emerged after sexual abandonment.  They would show whomever came prowling a thing or two about romance but it would they who would be shown. 

Harper, not only undeterred but challenged, approached her with two of what she was drinking,  It was that notion of consideration which brought back images of her father and the fair, buying her exactly the three-scooped ice cream cone she had dreamed of.    

Harper smiled, put her drink down, smiled again, and began to walk away.  She called him back.  Women like her - all women in fact - were open books; and despite all the feminist cant were still daddy's girls, as delicate and sweet as spring lilies.  No woman, he had long understood, could resist genuine, sincere interest. 

'What do women want?'.  Harper smiled and surveyed the room, 'To be noticed, to be taken seriously, to be paid attention to', and what easier scenario was there for a man like him?

'When will you find nice girl and settle down?', he was asked; but Harper knew that this fabulous, tasty smorgasbord would never end.  Why on earth would any man choose bit, harness, reins, and stable when the free range was just a hoot and a gallop away?

There were times when he wondered about his longevity, up till what age would women be attracted to him; but through his forties, fifties, and beyond he saw no limits either to his allure or his desire. 

Mrs. Artemis Langley, for example was well into her sixties when Harper met her.  She had had two wealthy husbands and lovers from Baton Rouge to St. Tropez, but was in an interregnum.  At first he saw nothing of interest there, an aging woman with experience and money who would find her way to Rimini or Palm Beach and spend the rest of her life serviced by gigolos and counts sans inheritance. 

On closer inspection he saw a profoundly disappointed woman.  Her days of youth, optimism, and sexual abandon were far behind; and she had no idea - no intimation - of what the future might bring...until she met Harper Ferry. 

Harper was properly courteous, admiring and respectful of her European sophistication and savoir faire but not put off by it.  He saw the chinks in this faux worldly-esque presupposition, the desire, and the sense that this was it, the end of the line. 

He went on cruises with her, skiing at Gstaad, summers in Nice, and Spring in Amsterdam until he had sapped all she had to offer.  The poor old lady had few resources other than her memories, had lost her mojo many decades ago, and was worth less and less as the years wore on. 

As he entered his seventies the December-May affair became his go-to adventure.  There was nothing more appealing at that age than the love of a thirty-five year old woman looking for someone, anyone who could relieve the idea of lost opportunity; and so it was that Harper and Carol from Accounting met every Saturday in her East Side walkup until she mentioned marriage and children.

By that time Harper had his own wife, children, and grandchildren; and had learned enough about the uncomplicated exit to leave Lucinda tearful but appreciative. 

Women are all the same, he concluded many years later.  Not such a bad thing - only the deceived believed otherwise, that there was indeed diversity and uniqueness there - and a life of predictable sexual conquest of predictable women was far better than a frustrated look for the right one. 

He felt no shame lying on his chaise lounge in the courtyard of his small condo in Tampa, an older gentleman who need help getting from here to there.  Life was what had been led, not what was, and so he died a very happy man. 

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