The Misogynist

12 Apr


old man on a bus photo: Old Man oldman.jpg

Alex Cowper was a misogynist. He couldn’t help it. Something inside him not so much hated women as distrusted something unpleasant about them.

He’d always felt like this, even back in his childhood sitting and bawling on his mother’s knee after he’d fallen and grazed his own. He’d wanted to get back down onto his own two feet even then.

He supposed it was her smell.

His mother had been a war-time mum. Her husband (his father) was away fighting in the war – he was never to return though a telegram did get delivered as a kind of macabre substitute – and he was sure she did her best. The trouble was, he was little more than a toddler and her best smelt of things he didn’t particularly like.

So the years had passed as years do, and he had learned to keep his distance. That smell never left her, a kind of floury, hot chip-fat smell tinged with what might have been urine, though he always hoped it wasn’t.

When he grew old enough – he left school at fifteen like they did back then – he decided to get away from the constant mumsy fragrance by leaving home, and he moved into lodgings with an elderly couple. All would have been well, he supposed, had not the female half of the elderly couple tried to get all randy one night when her husband was in bed, drunkenly snoring, and invited him to snuggle up to her bosom on the settee as a prelude to adventuring into her knickers.

And the first thing he noticed was that smell. It took his back to all the moments he’d been engulfed by its like back home, and he moved out. He had to. He found a room in a house shared by two men, Gavin and Ian. There would be no mumsy smells there, he decided. Men don’t produce unwholesome aromas. Men just are.

It was a long time ago and people frowned on two men being together in what looked ever-so-much like an unnatural arrangement, and the moment he took his room in their house people started frowning at him, too. He couldn’t work out why until he noticed that Gavin, the blondish bloke of the house, smelt mumsy. It came as a shock. Surely men don’t have the same frailties as women, leading to the same smells? Surely there must be something wrong?

“They’re queer,” said a stranger on the bus, pointing at Gavin and Ian. “Two blokes behaving like that, kissing and such, it ain’t natural.”

He didn’t know what “queer” meant, though there was a clue in the context. So he took to thinking about the household and he soon noticed that it was Gavin that did most of the cooking whilst Ian did most of the gardening.

Maybe it was cooking that made Gavin and women smell unpleasant? He thought about it, and decided to move on.

“I hope it wasn’t anything to do with us…” murmured Ian.

“Sweetheart,” added Gavin.

Then he met Angelina. He was homeless, so he had to meet someone and fate gave him Angelina.

She was the kind of woman a man might say “cor!” about if he Passed her in the street. She was sexy and she knew it, so she dressed appropriately, in not very much most of the time, but she lived on her own and had a spare room and she let it to him for a modest rental. As she said, it’s reassuring to have a man about the house and she was a girl on her own.

Girl, he thought, was over-egging it, though she was thirtyish. He, too, was getting on, being somewhere close to his mid-twenties. Doesn’t time pass, he thought every time he glanced at his own birth certificate, which moved from domicile to domicile with him.

Angelina, he discovered, needed to be liked. Or loved. Or worshipped. However you described what she liked it all boiled down to an intrusion (by him) into her nether regions. She delighted in it and he made her pregnant as a consequence. It happens.

“Shit happens,” she told him, elaborating on the theme.

And then he noticed the smell. The mumsy smell. The floury, chip-fatty, slightly urinous smell. And he still hated it.

He just had to get away. He had no choice, really. That smell was well on its way to driving him mad.

“You smell,” he told her. “You smell of things I hate, so I’m off!”

“You’re a misogynist,” she sighed. “I knew it! A woman-hater! And here’s me, pregnant with your bastard. What am I going to do? Who’s going to be father to my child if you leave me? I ought to have known, shag me and leave me when things get heavy, and I will get heavy, you know.”

“I’m off,” he said, and left.

It’s odd how years pass and suddenly you’re old, he thought as he caught a bus for town, bus-pass in hand and a walking stick hanging from an elbow.

“You smell, old man,” said a stranger, the young woman sitting next to him on the bus, out of the blue, and she moved to another seat with a wrinkled nose.

© Peter Rogerson 12.04.15


2 Responses to “The Misogynist”

  1. georgiakevin April 13, 2015 at 12:11 am #

    Oh man is this ever powerful, poignant, tragic theme……………… but man on man i will be thinking about this post and your last one for a very long time!

  2. Peter Rogerson April 13, 2015 at 8:52 am #

    Cheers, Kevin. I’m glad you found a route through my typos!!!

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