Fair is my Love and cruel as she is fair;
Her brow-shades frown, although her eyes are sunny.
Her smiles are lightning, though her pride despair,
And her disdains are gall, her favours honey:
A modest maid, deck’d with a blush of honour,
Whose feet do tread green paths of youth and love;
The wonder of all eyes that look upon her,
Sacred on earth, design’d a Saint above.
Chastity and Beauty, which were deadly foes,
Live reconcilèd friends within her brow;
And had she Pity to conjoin with those,
Then who had heard the plaints I utter now?
For had she not been fair, and thus unkind,
My Muse had slept, and none had known my mind.
Recently, I wrote a little retrospective appreciation of Stephen King’s 1986 novel, It. I thought it timely since it had been thirty years since the book was published, and it’s a “fan favourite” as some people say. When I was re-reading the piece I stopped and stared at this short passage:
Many of us enjoy regressing to childhood. We look at pictures and video from when we were kids and indulge our sadomasochistic side by going to the “school reunion”. Childhood is idealised in our memory and children, especially babies, are cooed at and fawned over. This might be why so many of us are wet and feeble weaklings when we grow up. The Romans, not fond of children, thinking them rather gross and needy creatures, used childhood as the time to train and prepare for adulthood, without the cooing and fawning. Who would argue Roman men weren’t made of “sterner stuff” than us males are today?
The problem was that, seven days prior to forwarding the piece, I had myself attended a “school reunion”. I had seen the advertisement on a popular “social media” site and thought it was something I wouldn’t be going to. I did think a lot about this, changing my mind each day, depending on my mood. I saw a school-friend in the supermarket and asked him about it. Would he be going? Phil barely thought before answering.
‘No mate, I’m not going to that. Why would anyone want to go back to all those feelings of inferiority?’
I knew this was just what I wanted to hear, so I jumped on it, not really remembering what I’d written about It (the book) but probably having it in mind somewhere.
‘Yes,’ I said, ‘that’s it exactly. It’s like regression. Who’d want to go back to that? All the cliques, and the social complexes…no thanks.’
I was pleased to have found a kindred spirit, someone about whom I could think and whose name I could use when telling my subconscious mind that no, it wasn’t only me, I wasn’t a pathetic wimp, I was an intelligent adult who didn’t need to “do” reunions. I even managed to tell myself that it wasn’t a “reunion” to begin with because there had been no “union” in the first place; therefore – and goodness me! – what a lot of low-brow nonsense it all was.
My inner snob timed its rescue perfectly.
I didn’t want to go because I was scared of what others thought of me while I was school, and scared of what they might think of me now. There was nothing concrete to this fear, it was just a fear, sat in the gut, spinning and twisting.
I first thought it was a “guy thing” and that these fears had their root in the not only hair-raising, but terrifying things many teenage boys are duly terrified by; namely, teenage girls.
But I didn’t think that was precise enough. I fiddled with the idea an all-boys school would have been an easier place to be, then realised that such were the joys of being a teenage boy, a single-sex school would have made nothing easier, then or later. It remains my unshakeable belief that the greatest joy to be had from being a teenage boy comes from knowing it has to be done only once.
It seems to me teenage girls realise the power they have over teenage boys too late to make the best use of it. This is lucky for the boys. I wonder what school would be like for thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen year-old boys if the girls realised the power they have, and what they can do to those boys, with one look.
(And what can they do? Imagine the mind of a forty year-old woman in the head of a fifteen year-old girl and you’ll get the idea. One actually shudders at the thought.)
The girls have an opportunity, narrow in time, to assert their natural dominance, and they should take it, because it doesn’t take us boys long to catch up. When we’re fifteen or sixteen, we might inwardly howl that we like girls, we just wish we could talk to one; by the time we’re eighteen or nineteen, we’re complaining that although we like girls, we could never eat a whole one.
“Hot is my Bird” – or
“A Translation Flowing to the Estuary”
By JDA aged 42 years and 3 months.
The bird I fancy is hot, but she’s a bitch in equal measure;
She scowls a lot, but she’s got nice eyes;
Her smiles are thrilling, but her snobbery fucks me off;
She dogs me up, but not all the time;
Not a showy bird – butter wouldn’t melt!
She’d never shag about cuz she’s totes too young and innocent;
All my mates want to bang her;
She’s hot right now – she’ll get promoted when she croaks!
Frigid, yet fuckable – a problem for most birds –
Is something of which she aint bovvered;
She’s got no sympathy for her position,
But if she did – why bother moaning about her?
Y’see, if she was a minger – and therefore a bit nicer,
I wouldn’t have given a shit and written this!!