Thursday, 24 March 2016

thus do they bat around, drunk, in this tiny province.. On Men (from a Fiction in progress)

................And of course, there is always an image of woman, around which they cluster and collude, a claque of cockheads, a rat's nest of recreants and proto-rapists. For what do they do, these pubrats? They pass between them the names of the office women and speculate as to how and where and if they would "fuck" them.. They circulate these names in lieu of bodies...  Sue, Jane, Anne-Marie, Tracy.. tokens handed round for commentary.."You'd have to do her from behind.." "...Yea, with a bag on her head," "No, two bags in case first fell off.." "Yea but after ten pints.." "No I reckon 7 pints with a blindfold.." And so on. "I'd do her on the photocopier," chirps Gavin, a wizened 60 year old weasel with a red shiny beak and collapsed cheeks, then another  interchangeable man, Reg, stinking of 'cigs', with sepia skin  .."You'd better watch out mate, don't want to leave any evidence. Your fucking skinny arse in a sheet of A4"... "What you on about mate, I'd be on top, it'd be her fat arse on the photocopier" "you'd need two fucking sheets of paper for that mate.." And so on. Each burst of so called banter is answered by a round of red-faced cackling laughter  .. Each quip or comment is copied from a crusty crib sheet of Male speech.. . Or else of course they talk about sport, using the pronouns "you" and "we" to refer to the on-field activities of football companies that have nothing to do with them. "We hammered you at the weekend, eh" ""We were shit mate, our defence was shocking" and so on, referring to a football match in North London, conflating the activities of the football team with their own activities, a form of psychopathology that has sunk into the fabric of their life. But anyway, this is what Men are actually like, just so you know, this is what a jocularly titled "night out with the lads or the boys" is like, just so you know, this is what their drink-soaked back-slapping homosocial sessions consist in.. the rat's nest in the pub corner, mouthing their lines, performing their maleness to each other.

People's experience is less the expression of something inside them than the expression of a great social machine which they are part of. For example, a Catholic, first inflated with guilt and then enjoying the blessed discharge of confession - is he expressing something about himself or is he expressing Catholicism? The agonised self-scrutiny and the blessed decompression in the booth with the hidden priest, this is part of the machine of Catholicism and expresses not just the man but Catholicism itself. The Victorian woman who, at the point of orgasm feels also the countervailing cramp of shame, pleasure twisted into pain by Moral censure, is expressing not herself but the Victorian machine of sexuality. And similarly, there is a masculine machine. Where others might see 'blokes' 'having a laugh', I see only this machine of masculinity, which none of these men invented. And when these men speak they are expressing not themselves but only this machine which came before them. When they pass between them the names of women and describe the sex acts they would inflict on these women, when they discuss also the activities of the football companies under the idiotic false pronouns 'you' and 'we', they  are expressing nothing individual but only the greater machine. Their laughs are simply the squeaks and noises of the social machine, with its manifold rules and prescriptions. Everything that degrades women to the status of matter is applauded, this is one of the rules of the machine, thus expressions like "beef curtains" or observations such as 'Her box won't be the same after she's popped one out, it'll be like a clown's pocket' are actually directives to laugh which cannot be countermanded or refused.  None dare disobey the peremptory orders of the machine because none can tolerate the ostracism and isolation they imagine lies outside it. And thus do they bat around, drunk, in this tiny province, blind to the beauty outside, stunted and poorer.

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