25 Jan


 Pompeii, Herculaneum, Vesuvius photo PICT0026-1.jpgThe overpowering emotion I experience (being an old fart in his seventies) is an abiding and overpowering love for my wife. I would leap to her defence if anyone attacked her or even threatened her. She is very, very precious to me. That’s how I’ve felt since we first met over seven years ago and how I always want to feel.

As far as I am concerned the best I can ever hope to achieve is to be her equal, and that will be some accomplishment. And despite the infirmities that are brought on as the years past and I have admit I might be getting old, I find myself wanting to be closer than close to her, metaphorically and physically.

All this is a way of asking “how can men in a different culture be so different?”

I have watched women walking an unnatural distance behind their husbands because that’s what their culture says they must do, the men, being superior, always in front. I am aware that those husbands must have radically different feelings towards their wives than I have. The only way I’d let Dorothy walk behind me like that is if we were carrying a long plank of wood, sharing the load between us and with me at the front.

Appalling stories of the abuse of women – wives, that is – come from around the world. It is considered quite proper for a man to beat his wife and entire legal systems are constructed in order to cruelly limit the freedoms of the women unfortunate enough to be born into them.

And it’s not just in the East where some cultures say that women are inferior to men because they committed the original sin and we’ve all suffered because of it ever since, but closer to home where there are secure homes for battered wives.

How can this be? I’ve heard it argued that some women choose a husband who is dangerous and happy to live “on the edge”, and marry him from choice. They then put up with the excesses some dangerous men are capable of until fear for their lives makes them try to break away – and that’s not always possible. To some, mercifully only a few, the breaking away is postponed for too long, and they end up dead, and with their dying breath they may well tell of their love the man who’s killed them.

I don’t get it, but it does happen.

What is harder for me to understand is the way whole cultures behave that way to their women, and, like the dying lass mentioned above, the women say they like it that way. Maybe they do, possibly because they’ve had the lie, that there’s another life to come and the one they’re suffering is a painful preparation for Paradise, shoe-horned into their brains.

I’m pretty certain there isn’t any such place, though. I can see no evidence that we, on a small planet among billions of other small planets, have been “chosen” to have an eternity in some heaven somewhere. My understanding of the Universe has no place in it for a final destination as fanciful as that.

But if it’s fiction that re-enforces the perceived right for some men to bully those weaker than themselves then it’s about time that fiction was consigned to the scrapbook of history where other fancies fade away.

Women are usually too precious to hurt.

© Peter Rogerson 25.01.15


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