Friday, September 30, 2011

Three Graces


One thing that will reliably trip up any man is trying to express his complicated feelings about women. Especially as they grow older and more experienced with them. I have been with the Woman on the Verge for twenty four years now and I am every day hamstrung by my bewilderment at her astounding 'her-ness.'

She is no man. She is something altogether richer and more strange.


You can put me in front of a fire, or flood, or avalanche, and I know what to do. You can tell me, "Beyond this door, a monster awaits, with fang and claw and foul breath," and I know what to do.

But let me open a door and see three strong and self-contained women on the other side, and you will see me undone.


My mother, I am certain, set the stage for this. But also gave me a back-stage pass- so that's kind of a double-edged sword.

She raised my brother and I almost alone for the bulk of our childhoods. Imagine, if you will, a Phd candidate in European History, with a focus on British Socialists and the Second International, recently divorced from a handsome, dashing policeman who chased off after some tall, chestnut-haired beauty, trying to raise two small hellions on her own. She worked menial jobs and talked Gloria Steinem and Ralph Nader to us while we lit ants on fire with magnifying glasses and hit each other with sticks.

We hid our toy guns in the toy chests of our neighbors.

So I learned that the macho-man, G.I. Joe, James Bond, Walking Tall, John Wayne figure was a kind of boogey man, one to be feared or ridiculed. A kind of Frankenstein creature that didn't understand the need for love and sharing and communication and compassion.

The fascist ubermenche.

Batman, Superman, The Rifleman= misogynistic halfwits who did not understand the need for real emotional connection and love.

Men who mistook violence for effectiveness.


And, of course, from my father, I learned to belittle and scorn the whole of the feminine approach to the world. Women were to be seduced and objectified, they existed as exotic prey and beautiful bounty.

There was no higher calling than scoring the finest among them.


Is it any wonder that I am Janus faced?

That I embrace all of the worst of both points of view?


But I think I have been successful in integrating the wildly divergent world views of my two parents. I love and honor male strength and power, and I equally love and honor the female expression of that same strength and power.

I sought out for my mate a woman that could outstrip me in every way.

I sought out for my profession a challenge that would ask all of me, and more.

I wanted always to honor both my mother and my father. And all of life.

I have given it my earnest best in all endeavors.


Perhaps I will die in my narrow bed, alone. Perhaps I will.

But I may lay down my life on the field of battle.

I may die alongside my sweet wife.

I may be ripped from life with no seeming reason.

I may limp out, silent and broken.

I may go out swinging, giving as good as I get.


I know that it is how I have chosen to live that matters most.

I don't get to choose how I exit the stage.


I get only to choose how I move and speak
while I have my brief moment in the spotlight.


I will give life a good show, I swear it.





Blogger A said...

Great post.

4:03 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


thank you.

see you soon!

4:45 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

Agreed - great post, and fascinating stuff. We are shaped in ways we don't always recognize by our parents. I'm glad you got the full spectrum perspective and are making the most of this strange and amazing life. I think both parents should be proud.
Looks like you and the wife both chose wisely when you picked each other.

6:16 PM  
Blogger deirdre said...

wow, it is a great post. that you come undone in the face of three strong women is the key, it's so hard to relinquish, man/woman alike, so hard, if you can do that it's holy cow time. I think you're in holy cow time.

nice picture too, I love that redhead from radish's blog, who is she?

luv, d

6:29 PM  
Blogger Ms. Moon said...

Ah yah. Rebecca is in there, the poet woman whose words burn like fire, the woman lying in dying, childbed, whatever. The woman sitting and smoking and saying, "Yeah. Me too."

All of this is real.

All of this is us.

Bless your mama, you, the Woman, the Wild Child. Bless us all, Tearful.

Oh. You did.

6:59 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


thanks! I don't know if she chose wisely or not, but I know I sure did!

7:33 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


I don't know who she is, either. I just knew I had to take her and put her in something of my own.

Maybe Radish will let us know?



7:34 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Ms. Moon-

You were more than part of the inspiration for this piece. And I'm pleased you picked up on all the references....I wanted something that honored all women, all these strong and beautiful and odd creatures that inhabit the world around me. My wife and my child, you and Rebecca and Deirdre and Angella and Kay and on and on.

I really love this piece.



7:37 PM  
Blogger Petit fleur said...

I'm sure you are dancing quite the dance... and we are only seeing the tip of the iceburg.

Great post.

6:49 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

thanks, pf!

7:21 AM  
Blogger Radish King said...

I am 100% undone.

8:48 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

In my experience 100% undone is the goal.

So, awesome!



PS- you gotta tell me about fruitgina woman if you know.

8:58 AM  

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