Saturday, May 09, 2009

Female friendships are left to be engendering

My last name is Scottish, but it's also historically Jamaican. I stand at 5'10." Women sometimes press me into service as the "boyfriend" who is culturally less important than their real or future boyfriend; they pretend I “have never had a real boyfriend” -- to emphasize their own sexiness -- and have gas attacks and decry feminism to me as if "no one" will ever care or know. The women want me to change or change the world or die young -- to die young is what men when they were younger wanted us to do then -- while the women get dressed up and laid; they believe that getting dressed up and laid will eventually lead to peace or equality. What if it will? I have at times felt "transgendered" by their athwart remarks, as not counted -- gladly -- within my gender, but maybe I’m not their other boyfriend so much as their other mother, and they escape me as they would try to escape her. “Transgendered women” at Google refers to a feeling that gender at birth was misassigned. It doesn't refer to a gender-neutralized mother. What are the color and number of genius? Gray? Ten? One? Friendship among disabled people? What is the next question?

I placed a higher value on friendship than on romance, except once, especially after I involuntarily faced retirement from teaching at 32. I invested in 30 friendships, and each is a story in itself.

I mostly was not friends with the "petite gals" and "hunks" with jobs in the cw bureaucracy -- and wonder why they haven't changed payscales for adjuncts and other things that need changing. Why have my friends still looked to me to do "something" while simultaneously shunning me as not useful?

One of my dearest friends is a blue collar male chauvinist academic and writer. I learn a lot about friendship from him, about loyalty in action. He and his culturally diverse male friends -- do they call it "male friends" or "men friends"? -- he uses the word "buddy," I think -- (what do women say? galpal? I never say that) -- men -- conduct correspondences, sell their papers to libraries, become literary executors, find each other jobs in academe, get each other book deals overseas, movie rights, agents, even scout out new young wives after their second wives leave. I'm honored to be his chick friend (he thinks I'm a woman); though he is clueless about my situation; he thinks that women envy me because I'm hot, but I think they fear or pity me as unmarried, childless, bipolar, not an author or teacher, and getting older.

The girls -- as some of my women friends prefer to be called -- discuss aspects of "hair" the most, clothes; they pretend to abjure poetry or their own poetry, though they're amazingly talented at poetry and other arts, and feel lucky if they get to live somewhere with a boyfriend or husband whom they "fuck." In the "vast amount of scholarship on women's friendship" -- "Marcus and Todd" -- would I find that no further work remains, that JHC is right? Is women's poetry besides Dickinson, Plath, Bishop, and Rich (or Brooks or Clifton or Levertov or Guest or DuPlessis or Waldman) just grist?

Is the future of all friendship sex? Do I have friendships with men that stayed platonic? (Rarely.) And with women? (Yes.) Women I’d had sex with at 19 or 20 are married to women with whom they have children -- are gone like Hera and the other goddesses, gone. Then they were non-monogamous and flighty; I was once and sincere. After the last time I had had sex with a woman, she read Chocolate Waters at her breakfast nook then lifted a butcher knife at me.

In a message dated 5/9/2009 1:00:37 P.M. Central Daylight Time, junction@NET writes:

Ann: Try googling "Female friendships." Dozens of useful sites, and far less junk than "Male friendships."

Best, Mark

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