“A Real Man.” That’s what a woman of my acquaintance, whose writing I hold in respect, called Ted Cruz for breaking his vow to endorse Donald Trump. Her error lies in believing that it’s up to women to decide who is, and who isn’t a real man.
Aspiration. The Trump family presents itself as aspirational in looking like the best a man, a woman, and even a child can be — with Barron there as well. Melania walking on stage after Donald’s nomination acceptance speech was a vision. Many voters don’t like aspirational.
Barbarism. Omar’s relatives whoop with joy as the sentence is handed: two hundred hours of community service. Two months later, a knock on the door. A judge opens the door, clutching her bathrobe at the neck. A fist knocks her down. A kick breaks her rib. Petrol is poured, a lit match falls.
Dreamer. The following dialogue is loosely based on a real conversation. A young man stops me outside of a grocery store and asks: “Excuse me, do you mind if I ask you something?
“Go for it.”
“So I have kind of a dream…” and he briefly described a career objective that is ambitious but not unrealistic “but my girlfriend tells me I need to get a regular job. Should I listen to her?”
I look at him with some curiosity. A type that’s common around here. Lower class kid, bright but a little goofy, hasn’t gotten his act in order yet. A lot fellows like him hang out as goths at the nearby dying mall. So I tell him:
“Sounds like you already have a job, which is to realize your ambition. But do you know exactly what you want?”
“Great. So you have a vision. Do you know how to make it happen, beginning with the first step today, then the second step tomorrow, and so on?”
He thinks before responding. This impresses me.
“Not one hundred percent,” he says.
“You need a plan that you follow every day. Otherwise you’re just a dreamer.”
“You gave me something to think about sir, thank you. And what about my girlfriend?”
“Her job is to believe in you. If she becomes demanding, get her in line.”
First Kiss. My first taste of pleasure with a girl was on the tennis courts nestled into the woods on the edge of our neighborhood. Christopher and I were middle schoolers, Jennifer was a year older than us (all names have been changed). She was in some kind of trouble, living temporarily in our community with her adult sister. Blonde feathered hair, strong perfume, tight jeans. The three of us are horseplaying and I pick her up and chase Chris to kick him in the ass with her feet. She’s laughing loudly and as I’m carrying her I notice that my left hand is cupping her breast. I look at her with raised eyebrows, she smiles with a knowing look I’ve never seen on a girl before.
We plop down against the tennis court fence and she sits on my lap. When a girl’s face is so close you notice things like the faint freckles around her nose. I lean in. She leans in too and we kiss. I had seen it hundreds of times before on television but I didn’t expect it to be this easy, with mouths fitting together and her tongue giving me spasms of longing. We break it off every once in a while to catch our breaths. I still remember her Polo shirt; it was light grey.
Christopher, meanwhile, is picking up heavy branches in the woods just behind us and smashing them against the ground. Jennifer winks at me, turns her head toward the woods and says “What’s the matter, Chris, you ok?” He casually replies “Yeah…” like he’s distracted by something important. I slide my hand up her shirt, up under the bra and she shifts herself to make it more comfortable. They are firm and beautiful, I cup and caress them until I am satisfied and then I ease my hand down her smooth skin, toward her jeans and the elastic band underneath. She blocks me. In the reel of my youth’s progress, girls I barely knew who liked what they saw still always drew the line at the southern border unless we were alone.
Freedom. So who is responsible for the wrecked state of our women? Whoever gave them freedom. Women can’t handle it. Men learn self-control because we are checked by other men through behavior-correcting violence.
Goethe: “Girls we love for what they are; young men for what they promise to be.”
Heartiste: “Love is the only thing in this world that isn’t bullshit.”
Shaw, George Bernard:
TANNER. What! a man who idolizes women! who sees nothing in nature but romantic scenery for love duets! Tavy, the chivalrous, the faithful, the tenderhearted and true! Tavy, never marry! Why, he was born to be swept up by the first pair of blue eyes he meets in the street.
ANN. Yes, I know. All the same, Jack, men like that always live in comfortable bachelor lodgings with broken hearts, and are adored by their landladies, and never get married. Men like you always get married.
TANNER [smiting his brow] How frightfully, horribly true! It has been staring me in the face all my life; and I never saw it before.
ANN. Oh, it’s the same with women. The poetic temperament’s a very nice temperament, very amiable, very harmless and poetic, I daresay; but it’s an old maid’s temperament.
TANNER. Barren. The Life Force passes it by.
Surplus Men. A few weeks ago @ChateauEmissary tweeted: “Dark Thought of the Day: A cultural, institutional, & biological assault on boys is Nature’s evolved response to a sex ratio favoring women.” There is something to that observation. Women become hogs when their pick in men is overly generous and that has downstream consequences. Therefore, we have evolved to effect a rebalancing mechanism so that young men are always tested. Under current arrangements, those with will and smarts can beat the fix with Game.
War. The aural Guernica of gunfire with Franz Schubert’s Ave Maria below is the sound of Europe’s nightfall. Poland has revered the Virgin Mary, becoming Her beloved nation, protected by Her against the depravities of history. It is time for Europe to pray.
Shots of Wisdom, Part 3 takes a look at scenes from America.
Shots of Wisdom, Part 5 anticipates the election.