Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Woman's Cause is the Rake's: We Rise Or Fall Together!

It will not come as any surprise to you that Gaspard and I spend most of our time, jointly and severally, meditating on women. No man can deny that, especially if he has a bottle or two of Scotch in him, his thoughts will always sooner or later turn to females. Sometimes these reveries center on particular specimens--like Greta, the charming young second cello whom I've been seeing for a few months--and in such moments phantasies of almost unspeakable erotism play before my mind's eye, often for hours. I imagine her hands--rosin-stained, worn and calloused, testifying to her ardent love of music--rising to her swan's throat for a delicate self-caress. Her blue eyes bore lustily in my own as she reaches behind to the clasp of her performance gown, pausing for an aeon of a moment before releasing her pendulous Teutonic…excuse me. I must leave off for a while. Perhaps later I will have the presence of mind to return to my theme.

Now then. As I said, sometimes my meditations are specific to one woman. But at other times, the mind abstracts and considers Woman more broadly, as a concept and as a class. Too often general consideration of woman's plight ends sourly, as women have always gotten the short end of the stick. Think on it and you will know it is true. Even when women have enjoyed some degree of financial and sexual license, like the grandes dames of the Ancien Régime, their available choices and behaviors have always been severely circumscribed. Remember, in Laclos' masterwork, Valmont dies something like a hero's death, while the Marquise "necessarily" ends her drama disfigured and penniless. And don't get me started on those bastard Victorians: that for a half-century an entire race of people so thoroughly perverted joy in life, nuptive and otherwise, seems almost as if it must have been some sort of sick joke. You may apply this model to almost any period or place, and you will see that everywhere, Woman has been suppressed.

Perhaps some readers will be shocked that female liberation is a pet cause here at the Rakish Life. Our journal is undeniably male in its orientation, and most self-consciously male institutions tend to stand in the same sort of relationship to our better halves: objectify, repress, possess. But Gaspard and I want no part of this gender control. After all, any effort to deprive a woman of her natural rights derives from a man's basic insecurity that, given free choice, she will choose somebody else. This is an anxiety from which we rakes are completely free, thanks to our flawless features, impeccable moustaches, and boundless élan.

Women today, at least in some countries, are undoubtedly accorded more freedoms than ever before, and for this the Rakish Life acknowledges a deep debt to your Pankhursts, your Friedans, and your Steinems. Much progress has been made in the sexual arena: these days, a woman can--and should--take as many lovers as she desires, when she desires (so long as one of those lovers is me). Modern girls take a fierce pride in protecting and promulgating this right, some going so far as to extend their favors to several men in one evening, merely because they can. Such women are treasures.

But there are challenges that remain. Astute readers will be aware of the deplorable statistics concerning equal pay in the workplace. A male office drone might knock off on a Friday with money to burn, while a woman who has done the exact same work and put in the same hours will often leave work with barely tuppence. At such a disgraceful economic disadvantage, how is she meant to pay her bills, service her debts, or buy an evening's worth of drinks for the jaunty, penurious Scotsman at her local bar? Readers, this cannot stand, because I am thirsty.

Women: tear off your shackles! Break your chains! Now is the time to answer the challenge put to you by your mothers, and mothers' mothers! Empower yourself, liberate yourself! I'll be waiting at the bar when you do.

1 comment:

  1. I love you, and if I weren't so tired from working at my penurious vocation, I would be right down to the bar to buy you a dram of Aberlour.