In Praise of Men

BY MANDY BALDWIN

I love men, and I’m so glad I’m not one at the moment because they are being fenced in with such a wall of hateful trivia, they must wonder if it’s safe for them to leave home without being accused of sexual harassment for smiling at a woman in the street.

Belittling the real, devastating crime of rape doesn’t do real, devastated victims of rape any good, either. In fact, as with all the shoots of the monstrous Triffid, New Puritanism, it is strangling compassion and blinding empathy.

Every time someone pops up like a Jack-in-the-box to bleat that 25 years ago, someone admired their hat or touched their knee, it makes a real victim less likely to be given the correct attention.

Careers are now ending with ‘offences’ even the alleged victims deny were important. So Michael Fallon is a Sex-Beast? Get away. Sorry, but I don’t believe all these tales of musk and mayhem in the halls of Westminster. I don’t believe male MPs are sweeping desks clear and bending female MPs across them like a scene from Rob Roy.  Dear God, even John Major and Edwina Curry had the decency to go find a room.

I know there are a**hats amidst both genders (yes, Gentle Reader, there are only two genders, and the one you belong to can be ascertained by dint of a few minutes alone with a long-handled mirror.) But when a woman claims to be afraid of a male colleague because he compliments her shoes, you know you are witnessing a witch-hunt.

Many of the reports seem to be from women who simply hate males.  And it’s happening all the time. Last month, a female student actually got a man – with whom she admitted she’d had voluntary sex – sent down for rape because he “grabbed her breasts” during proceedings. What the actual?

If you have sex with mere acquaintances, it may not be a lyrical experience, but just because the Earth didn’t move, doesn’t make your hapless partner a rapist.

There are also suspiciously high numbers of married, or partnered, rabid ‘feminists’ who claim to view all men as sex-offenders. And yet, these women have often never spent time as singletons. The late Susan Jeffers held a confidence-building class once, in which she asked participants to say something nice about their partner. A woman said – after twenty five years of marriage – she had nothing good to say about her husband, to which Susan replied “So why do you stay?”

Why indeed?  Well, for one thing, such women tend to stand loyally by a bank account.

I remember a startling conversation with two women whose husbands had both recently been made redundant. Neither woman worked. One said “I won’t be having sex with him again until he’s found another job – I can’t respect a man who doesn’t pay my mortgage.”  The other described coming home from her ‘spinning class’ to find her husband in tears because he’d been twenty years in the same job and didn’t know what to do. “I didn’t know men could cry,” she said. “so I called the doctor, and went out.”

In terms of character, I’d say clumsy compliments or even a hand on the knee are preferable to coldness and sex for money. But hey, what do I know?  I’m single, penniless, and live in a tent. Maybe I should have tried prostitution, too.

Talking of sex, ladies, if you don’t like what’s being dished up, try varying the menu, instead of betraying private foibles to anyone who’ll listen.  How would you like your bits being the subject of gossip? He’s not a rapist just because you’ve gone off him. If he makes your flesh crawl in a bad way, you don’t make a feminist statement by hanging around. Leave, make your own life, let him make his.

After all, one woman’s mouldy chipolata is another woman’s prime beef-steak, and chances are, he’s equally miserable: not everyone enjoys being shackled to someone who pulls a face like a bull-dog chewing a wasp at the merest hint of a Morning Glory.

Don’t think I’m condoning the horridness of men from cultures which take pride in misogyny. There is nothing masculine in being a spoilt bully. I’m talking about real men, here. Being male isn’t something to be eradicated. Little boys often have an endearing, puppyish charm, which they tend to carry into adulthood. At their best, men have a powerful urge to cherish, protect, and serve, and take real pride in those things.  It’s horrible to see these attributes being targeted for hatred – men’s every word and move scrutinised with hostility.

What on earth would we do without them?

There is an honesty, compassion, courage and honour in people of either sex who know they stand or fall by their own efforts, because they know how hard it is to stand, and they live with the understanding that the fall is painful, undignified, and often unavoidable, and that asking for help is agony.

Sadly too many girls are still taught that the world owes them – not just equality, but constant affirmation, ridiculous levels of admiration for every achievement, as if they are cats who learned to play the harpsichord, a meal-ticket for life, and carte blanche to play the victim.

If you are in the work-place, out in the big wide world, then grow up. You’ll know if you are being genuinely assaulted, and you’ll recognise real stalkerish behaviour if it materialises. Don’t be the Boy Who Cried Wolf. Get on with your job, and if you are so lily-livered as to swoon because someone pays you the compliment of asking you out, then stay home and learn to crochet. But buy your own wool.

 And next time there’s a spider in the bath, move it yourself.

To support this homeless writer please visit her GoFundMe page raising funds for a caravan. 

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