Women are made to be loved, not understood. –Oscar Wilde
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART SEVENTY-SIX: KINGDOM COME
As Count Justin Victor continued his rant, a queer gleam arose in his eye, as though he were dyspeptic or, at least, just slightly mad. As he slopped the beer from his mug, punctuating this action with occasional sips, he also regaled the loafers and the loochers, the cracksmen and the abrams-men, the hooligans and thugs, with the full measure of his pent-up bile.
“We all know of course that the Suffragettes’ claim that they can do any work a man can do just as well and maybe even better is a whole lot of bunkum and hot air. Where is your great woman artist, your great woman politician, your great woman sculptor? All that women are fit to do is be sinners and saints, and there’s hardly any in-between. I’ll tell you what their problem is–they don’t know when to shut up. That’s why you never hear of any women poker players. They can’t keep a secret. All they do is gab. It’s enough to hurt a man’s ears, just from the sound of it. That is, if we were actually listening in, it would be. And have you ever heard to women say a single wise thing while talking with one of her fellow shemales? No, it’s always loose talk about what so and so is wearing, and the new fashions, and other feebleminded pap. Mind you, women have a lot of good qualities–but raw intelligence ain’t one of them.
“Tell me–what do women have a genius for? All kinds of manners and mannerisms–and very little else. They can put a person right, but ask them to do a job of work all by themselves and all of a sudden you’ll see a shrinking violet as she puts on her ‘I’m just a pore week woman’ act. Tell me–how can they compete in a man’s world when they’re oh-so delicate? You ever see a woman at a boxing match? She inwardly shrinks at the sight of all the sweat and blood. What makes her think she can compete in the great arena of storm and strife when she can’t even stomach the faintest bit of violence? She wants equal rights. But she also wants to be treated with kid gloves. Which one is it going to be? I ask you. I suppose that if you’re spoiled rotten, you’ve managed to convince yourself that you can have your cake and eat it, too. But menfolk are under no such illusions. They realize what a hard place the world can be, and that you have got to snatch every moment of relaxation when and where you can.
“I will tell you a sure-fire way to rile up any woman, anywhere. When she complains about something, tell her she has bats in her belfry and had better mind her ps and qs. Then watch her go off on a tirade. First, she’ll accuse you of being little more than a low-down brute, with no consideration for other people. Note well that ‘other people’ infallibly translates into ‘me’. Next, she’ll imply that you’re the one who is in the wrong. Then she’ll lament the fact that she ever met you. Will compare you, either inwardly or audibly, to other men she could have met and prospered with. Point out in great detail every single one of your shortcomings. Predict that if you fail to change your ways, you will be destined for a bad end. And don’t think it will end there. Oh, no–she’s just getting warmed up. The vindictive little hell-kite! She’ll blame you for everything under the sun. The fact that she broke a fingernail. The fact that there’s stains in the wash that won’t come out. The fact that the dog won’t come when she calls it, and won’t obey her when it does. The fact that she has to take care of a passel of unruly brats because you’re never around. The fact that her feet hurt from having to slave all day over a hot stove, and why can’t we have a cook like her friend the millionaire’s wife? The fact that she doesn’t have enough money to get her hair done every other day. The fact that you don’t give her enough money to buy groceries, so she can treasure up the leftover ooftish and squander it later on–upon powder, paint, and perfumey-water. Or going to the hairdresser. Or buying grotesque wigs. Or similar useless fripperies.
“But most of all, she’ll always complain about the fact that, every time I come in the door, I fail to splash her with dresses and furs and shoes and hats, and buy for her some fine jewelry.
“Who does she think I am–Buster Brown?
“You come in exhausted from a hard day’s work. Does she have your supper waiting? No–she wants to talk on and on about the costly shopping expedition she went on with her dumb friend. Or about how the maid is being saucy. Or about how you forgot to bring home the milk and eggs and butter. Or about how expensive groceries are these days. Or about the new baby that the couple upstairs just brought home. Anything, in fact, except where your dinner happens to be. And when you choose to gently bring to her attention this salient fact, what does she do? Storm out of the house, presumably to go home to mother, and, as her Pythian shot, she will tell you to get your own supper.
“And finally, she will certainly complain about the fact that you don’t listen to a word she says. That accusation, at least, has some bearing in fact. Because if you listened to every single one of her nitpicking, fussy, persnickety, sniping complaints, you’d very soon be just as loony as she is. And…alack! What profiteth it a man, et cetera, et cetera?
“I’m not saying that woman complain ALL the time. They don’t. Because, at least occasionally, they have to pause, if only to take a breath of fresh air.”
SAMMY DAVIS JUNIOR
POPULATION REFERENCE BUREAU