I spent the next morning obsessing over Rupert, I didn’t want to contact him, in case he thought me clingy. But I was cross that he’d not called me for several days. I wasn’t sure if he was in Europe still. I wanted to explain that there was nothing going on between Josh and I, but I knew if I brought it up I would instantly look guilty. I don’t buy into Plato’s theory that lovers are two halves of the same person. But I do live in hope. I think there can be a ‘right person’ for everyone, and that we shouldn’t give up searching for them.
I received a letter from my cousin Tabitha who lived over in New Hampton. Tabitha, with her huge house, cherubic children and tall architect husband. Tabitha, object of endless jealousy and aspiration. -
I am confined to this house like an animal in a zoo. No, I can walk as far as the end of the road, if I am permitted. I spend my days fetching food and drinks, cleaning, and soothing frayed tempers. I bribe them with treats and brightly coloured TV shows, with ever diminishing returns. The elder child will not dress himself unless rewarded with chocolate.
I find myself getting fatter. Not just filling out, but my body warping. And I am in discomfort all the time. The constipation so serve it causes cystitis and an inflammation across my lower back. I am on my feet all day, but in such a small enclosure. I get neither rest nor real exercise. There is no routine to my sleeping or eating. A wad of half digested food sits somewhere in my intestine.
They are better behaved if I find them things to do, painting, drawing, model railways, but this requires and ever-running programme of events. And I have to be on top form as a compere. The slightest chink in my mood opens a chasm of screams and tears. Like animals waiting to spot a weakness.
In the past couple of days there has been a story on the radio about a woman imprisoned for falsely accusing her husband of rape. She now maintains he did rape her, but she retracted the original statement under pressure from him. I suspect they did have a very complex relationship, as is the way in sadistic or domineering romances.
It got me thinking about the bits of misogyny which are still latent in our society. Beliefs that women are nags, bridezillas, manipulative princesses, adulteresses.
I’m sure there are women who do things they shouldn’t do. C— , D— , B— , K— to think of a few. But the notion that all women are to be mistrusted is a misogynist myth, spread by men bemoaning the fact that women are no longer waiting on men in the home and the workplace. My old firm still had a norm whereby women were expected to serve the coffee and do the more repetitive admin jobs. I suspect a lot of older men miss those days, and the younger generation of men…hmmmm…don’t want to generalise.
I keep thinking about the commitment-phobic-man-child trend, again being careful not to generalise. I am writing about this because I had this issue chronically with two serious boyfriends before I was married. And many women I know well have talked about commitment-phobia in men. And more worryingly, many of my male friends openly talk about themselves as man-children, freaked out by the grown-up world.
I wonder, is it partly a way of manipulating women. Getting sex, love, affection, companionship, food etc, but without having to commit.
Demographically, groups have always sought to subjugate other groups, Whites enslaving Blacks, Romans enslaving Anglo-Saxons, Men enslaving Women.
Is it like children getting away with what they can. Playing on your weaknesses (fear of being left on the shelf), and taking advantage of any generosity you show.
I heard a rumour once about a guy. He was frustrated, bored and married.
He went to see this hooker, for sex, but he was so stressy he couldn’t get it up. He ended whining at her about his problems for like an hour. She glanced at the clock. “Sorry, I’ve gone on at you,” he said.
“That’s ok,” she said, “but I’ll have to charge you extra if you go over the hour.”
They laughed. “You make me feel much better,” he said.
I don’t know if they actually did it eventually. But I found out that the guy’s wife was a real nag.
I really don’t know if this is true or not. It may just be another one of those dumb urban myths.
Come visit me soon,
I was tempted to visit Tabitha. My boss was winding me up, and I thought it would be nice to sit in her garden for a few days writing notes for my dissertation and sipping homemade lemonade.
I hadn’t realised that Tabitha’s husband was such an oaf, he could more than afford a cleaner and a nanny to help with the children, and Tabitha was supposed to be finishing a journalism qualification she had begun before the children were born. It’s a first world problem, I suppose, but it made me angry that she was being treated this way.
As I left for work I thought about Katy. She had seemed lively and sober. I was trying hard to ignore her odd friends, and the elite ‘artistic’ world she was inhabiting, and concerntrating on the fact that for now at least, she seemed well and happy.
Image: Angry, abstract print by Connie