Tuesday, January 19, 2010

where angels fear to tread

let's face it, i live like a monk. a room with a view. that's all i seem to need. and the thought of owning a house and tending a yard makes the hair raise up on the back of my neck.

not that i'm exactly happy with this. my mother said i played alone so much as a kid she thought i'd never have anything to do with people. alas, i've enough of the primate in me to like being around people, when it's at my own discretion. maybe this will help some of you understand my behavior.

not that you need to. it's my cross to bear. there it is again. the messiah complex. a therapist (and i've been to half a dozen) once told me, 'your mother and sister trained you very well to be concerned with the well-being of women.'

and it's true. i judge a country by the position of women within it, happy when we invaded afghanistan for this very reason. the taliban little boys who treat their women like slaves. on the other hand, the invasion of iraq destroyed the position of women and threw them back into purda. that i consider to be a crime against humankind.

like all men, i have had trouble with idealizing women, then being bitterly disillusioned. i'd say i haven't completely overcome this tendency. when you keep your distance, desire freedom over sexual comfort, the other remains a mystery. however, i'm a great believer in books. that's part of my monkish nature. libraries give me great comfort and calm me down. and somewhere in them i find the answers i need.

here's the book i ran across at barnes & noble which has helped open my eyes:

i've always believed much of what goes on with us involves chemistry. that our experiences change our chemistry, and vice versa. this book shows the difference in the hormonal tides of men and women. women seem in general more at the mercy of their bodies, living often in a state of discomfort. this means, on the positive side, they take care of themselves better than men. and married men live longer than the unmarried cause their wives make them conscious of things like heart attacks. they get their men to the hospital in time.

i once read the men of the old west had to be domesticated when the women arrived. the women had a tough time. the men were used to whiskey and brothels. eventually, the women succeeded in getting men to carry on the species.

anyway, now i understand a little better why women of all ages pore over 'house & garden', magazines on weddings (they go through stacks), worry about what their bodies presenting to the world. self and body get all mixed up. and of course it's frustrating for them the way men mix up self and mind.

the mystery remains. if it didn't, we'd all go smoke cigars and lounge at the club. i've always loved looking at women. they seem to me nature's greatest work of art. and the temptation to play pygmalion finally seems to have faded. the world's less exciting, if sometimes more depressing.

here are some poems i wrote about the stuggles between love and art:

no, i'm no angel.