Sunday, 21 October 2007

Q: When is a Dearth not a Dearth ?

A: When it is a chronic, not an acute, insufficiency.

Of Men, that is. The male of the species. The necessary opposite of female. Chronic, not acute. As in: always, not just recently. The essential opposite of the female; in daily life and in the psyche. So, the insufficiency has had to be filled by alternative masculine input. Masculine input that I could relate to, however impersonal was their way of relating to life; through music, words, the visual arts.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Poet

I discovered T. E. Lawrence ( Click for T E Lawrence Society ) long before I came to Dorset, where he hid. His friends the composers Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst, used to visit his Dorset cottage deep in the woods and would sit of an evening, listening to recorded music, as I am doing now. He is buried at Moreton in Dorset and someone, anonymously, leaves a posy of flowers on his grave for his May birthday. His effigy in his Arab robes lies quietly, stately, in Wareham church.

T. E. Lawrence (Augustus John - Tate Gallery)

My neighbour died last week. He was a male constant in my daily life, hammering away in his shed, muttering to his dog, grunting to his wife. Talking, like some men do down here*, in incomplete sentences; beginning in the middle, leaving the ending unsaid. Expecting the hearer to know dutifully what was his bidding; answering everything with "eh ?" so it had to be repeated, to give him time to formulate a reply to his/the cleverer quicker female.

(*Down here being Dorset; 'up North' they (men) have their own local variations.)

Nonetheless, he was benign. Until the frontal brain tumour, un-benign, began to take effect on his sense of right and wrong. He it was who banged on my front door one dark and quiet night at 11.10 pm, when I blogged it ( Click for Don't Panic Sally ! ) because I was frightened, because I didn't know who or why, when I dismissed the possibility of it being a neighbour and called the police. Sat in the dark blogging and waiting for my pounding heart to be slowed by beta-blockers and common sense. Was re-shaken remembering the neighbouring farmer who, I found out on holiday on Crete, was serially violent; remembered the childhood fear from father.

Why me? Why bang on my door? Because I am a woman living alone, so therefore without a man to keep her in check. So seen, by some, to be an affront to all that is right and proper in the order of things in this rural idyll. (I was rocking with some 70s rock on the telly.) Coming south to live in Dorset twenty years ago was like stepping back in time by thirty years (1985 - 30 = 1955) - and no, not to Thomas Hardy's storytime either. ( Click for Thomas Hardy Society ) I was never milk-maid material, but recognised that the place where he placed his stories, here in the Blackmore Vale, was where I found myself.

Thomas Hardy and friend at his home Max Gate, Dorchester


Another neighbouring man didn't have to look far when his wife died some years ago; there I was across the road, visible from his window, single. Obvious choice really, for him. Every time I came out of my door, it was to see him. Every time I did some work in my front garden, it was to see him. Every time I went to a village event, it was to see him. It took some carefully planned avoidance and seriously bad rudeness from me direct to his face to get through to him that, No Actually, the last thing I wanted in my life was the boring, selfish, patronising husband that my dear friend over the road had to put up with, before she died.

I am a child of the 50s, now in my fifties in the 21st century. When I was a child men were men and worked in the coal mine. It took me until about my fourth birthday to stop being afraid of growing up, because I didn't want to go down the mine, to realise that I was a different being and would grow up into being a wo/man not a man. My brain has always been too washed with testosterone, or something, that made me think too much and argue and fight, with words, and generally not fit in, thankfully, which is what got me out and away to London when all my northern friends were becoming couples and settling down, instead of thinking and reading and following, even finding, careers.

The female hormones eventually did get a look in, possibly aided by the new-fangled Pill that became readily available, if you answered the doc's questions in the right way and made up a 'hearts and flowers' story about a proper boyfriend with a proper job saving up for a proper marriage ceremony; all hearts and flowers.

So a few glorious years living in London, working with and socialising with clever, intelligent, capable men and women. Discovered sexual attraction and uncovered a desire for home-making (which I still enjoy) and baby-making (now thankfully too too old). I settled into being the sort that fitted in and had a good life and a nice wedding and produced a wonderful offspring. Then the Pill had to go because it was making me spotty and neurotic, so hubby had the snip and suddenly my hormonal balance tipped ever so slightly back to being me again, with a thinking demanding questioning brain in gear and at full tilt I wanted to go places, meet people, be someone, do things, and he didn't want me to. This picture then split

Life as a single working mother was hard financially and culturally, but time passed and I had more Me time and a few lovely encounters and one very restorative relationship but he died. Inbetweentimes I retrained, had a bad fall, and ended up with two good men in my life, both of whom I had to pay money for; the osteopath and my Jungian training analyst.

Carl Gustav Jung

And for quite some time they were the two men I most appreciated in my life. Over many years the osteopath unravelled all the old injuries and took on the imbalance and generally dizzyness in my physical body and the analyst did the same over seven years with me and my psyche. They both were in stable relationships and that was a good foundation for the professional understanding that enabled the friendship between us.

But that was when I first noticed the Dearth.

It is not deliberate on my part, I am open to new friendships and potential for relationship, but I guess the answer to 'Why the Dearth?' lies somewhere in all the above, and the fact found in another neighbour's new relationship: when he came out of mourning for a feisty rotund wife, he found himself a thin quiet blond who has the appearance of being half his age. Men !

The Dearth in my life continues. Until that imbalance rights itself, here is another favourite Dorset man, a man of letters and many languages, sometimes called the Dorset Dialect poet. ( Click for William Barnes Society ) I salute him for his love of all things Dorset every time I see him.

William Barnes - Poet - watching the people go by on Dorchester High Street

(Edwin Roscoe Mullins)

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Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

Oooohhhhh.....eeeeeerrrr. To be honest, I have found straight men to be a little too coddled by social norms and assumptions to be worth the bother. That doesn't mean I don't think it unfair and not so nice when two became one and one working mother.

Actually I too realized that I did not know in any friendly way a single heterosexual male (outside my father who I try not to think of a sexual anything) and joined an online penpal dating thingy and immediately met about 12 creepy guys, 5 GREAT women and 1 straight guy who is still sort of hanging in there.

So while I am not such a great person for the explaination of the dearth of males, I will point out the trend of women of mature age who find partnership with other women (where I could DEFINATELY help you with some hook ups). I hear there is a Christian Group that thinks if you pray and focus REALLY hard, you can turn lesbian.....or maybe it was the other way around - I lose track.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007 at 18:46:00 BST  
Blogger Sally said...

Bless you Elizabeth, yes I have had one or two approaches (from one or two rather odd ladies I am sorry to say), and my bestest closest girl friend is gay and happily so and I am happy for her but I so definitely like the other ! More about the psyche and its opposites when I have thunked a bit more.

But now .... its time for SPOOKS !


Tuesday, 23 October 2007 at 20:54:00 BST  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

Certainly, the bad eggs among chaps have a lot of cultural crap to hide behind when they choose to be unreasonable; us ladies are so oversensitive, we ought to be flattered! This is greatly exaggerated in those cultural bubbles you get, whether in a social group, an institution or a geographical area.

There are however lots of good straight men about. Single ones too. But first one needs the good fortune to come across them, or else think of a way of finding them without inadvertently inviting all the crappy creepy ones. All my straight male friends, and indeed my love, were all accidental finds. You know, car boot sales, charity shops, skips... ;-)

Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 17:07:00 BST  
Blogger Sally said...

Hello again Elizabeth.

The Dearth, though obviously of a partner/significant other; I don't mean only as a lack of a sexual relationship. I would love to have a special man in my life again. But the Dearth stretches over most of my day to day life.

I mean the opportunity to talk to, engage with and have an ongoing friendship with males; who are different, if not from another planet, then at least from a different view point and attitude to life. Even in this blogospher. Charles Dawson was a rare and much intelligent knowledgeable, valued crip blogger, and well-rounded though his personality was, he was so appreciable male. That made a difference.

Its relatively easy to find female friends, and when I lost some when I became ill and unable to keep up, other more worthwhile ones came along, but any males I have come across have been wary because I am disabled as well as single, and inevitably I am at a huge disadvantage being out and about in the wheelchair. The male ego/inadequacy being unable to cope with being seen with a female in a wheelchair. Oh yes, that comes from experience. Because I can and do stand, even walk short distances sometimes, I have experienced the different reaction to me when I am next seen, unexpectedly, sat down. No, not even 'sat down' but wheelchair bound. As if the standing Sally had suddenly morphed into something else. I think it even comes down to: standing I am seen as a sexual being, 'wheelchair bound' (not my term) I am a liability. Even in heels !

And all human beings need to interact with the opposite gender in their species. Its healthier. And so much more fun if they are intelligent, personable and ... single !

(Spooks was excellent.)

Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 17:45:00 BST  
Blogger Sally said...

Goldfish, great to have you around.

I have before now put my own skip outside on the drive, but all I got was other's rubbish. Charity shops (a favourite haunt of CD - remember the 'cardy' ?) in this area are in small shops with small doors; can't get the wheels in. Car boot sales .. hmmm, next spring perhaps when it gets a bit warmer.

I have thought that if the LGO awards compensation I might put some aside for a 3 month trial of a quality dating web site, such as Country Friends.

Its being older as well as a wheelchair user, that stacks the odds against me. Your's or Elizabeth's photos on a dating web site would get a lot more reaction than mine !!

I think many men's mothers, particularly my generation, are to blame for the negative traits all too commonly seen in their sons.

And, I was spoilt by having a relationship with a very intelligent capable sexy (wealthy !) man who found me very intelligent capable sexy (being poor didn't bother him) and I know that such men exist, and anything less (except being poor, I don't mind that) I would be too aware that they are ... boring, patronising, selfish. Those types are around in droves.

So, here I am, still. I love living in a rural area and would not want to be anywhere else, but I know that decreases the chances of finding someone companionable, or even friendly ! I would like a smattering of the male of the species in my daily life, to balance out the almost exclusively female small circle of friends and acquaintances I have.

"There are however lots of good straight men about. Single ones too."

Where !?

Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 18:04:00 BST  
Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

I think your comments about being in a wheelchair are very spot on. I think I can get 10 guys to "help me" in my chair for every guy who is actually willing to talk to me.

I also have been struggling with the loss of sexuality; as to bring up just a simple point, almost all clothes make you look better if you are STANDING UP - even if that is propped up against a wall.

On the other hand, if you are in need of males, I find a few gay guys a good relief - they are generally cheerful, have good stories, are willing to go out, generally are aware of what is it like to feel an outsider and have male point of view....even if they happen to like musicals or such far more than you actually do.

If you ever want to get to know some guys on-line just take up gaming. It seems to be such a guy mecca that any genuine female is totally revered - When I used to have the energy for such, I would do some on-line war games and get lots of texts and other messages (hey, a guy who finds a female who games AND maybe watches horror and/or action films gets wierdly excited). Of course, you do have to wonder how much you want to converse online with someone who finds you "hot" because you can sniper headshot them across a battlefield. Sorry, that's it, it's all I've got - I dredged up what I could.

Thursday, 25 October 2007 at 19:28:00 BST  
Blogger Sally said...

Oh, well dredged ! - this old lady wondered at first what you meant by gaming (gambling ? what ? like James Bond, for money !?) then realised that the online games gaming is not for me - I can't keep up.

I can only do blogging because I have it all written down for the next time when I cannot dredge up reliably what I ought to remember about the person I am in contact with - even friends in the daily world I have known for ages, I write down the latest thing they have told me about their life, because I feel anxious otherwise next time I meet them that I have not assimilated something important - physical fatigue = brain fatigue/Lupus brain fog. I couldn't possibly keep two programmes running in my brain simultaneously - one for the gaming and one for the person. Andrea (Buzzing About - see link on my page) has written about this.

There are not that many visible gay guys in this rural area, they tend to stay hidden or migrate to the city - just a few miles along the coast the bigger town of Bournemouth is a mecca for gays - but I can't cope with noise, crowds, moving people, city or even big town life.

I just need a few nice tired men who I can keep up with !

Re the clothes looking better if you are standing up - so does one's figure. I have long legs (father) and short torso (mother) = average height. When I sit down there is very little torso space for the extra weight to go to and clothes that look good stood up (briefly) just don't work sat down.

Moan moan.

Thursday, 25 October 2007 at 20:14:00 BST  
Blogger seahorse said...

Sally I will return to this when my concentration is improved. I only made it a quarter of the way down then my brain went boink. So sorry, I was, and am, interested in reading more.

Monday, 29 October 2007 at 22:18:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally said...

No hurry, no worries ... boy-ing boy-ing brains are par for the course around here !

Tuesday, 30 October 2007 at 16:50:00 GMT  

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