IN RECENT months, newspapers and magazines have been full of articles dealing with the rise in teenage pregnancies, both here and in Britain. The decline of man-kind, a change of power in gender supremacy, prevailing and increasing promiscuity and, above all, an almost casual disregard for sexual loyalty (whatever happened to the AIDS scare? Is that now, once again, exclusively a Third World killer?) – somehow it occurs to me that all these phenomena must be at least loosely connected. Let me take an irreverent look at several aspects and manifestations of these 21st century trends.
Female emancipation (oops, I’m going to have to watch my step here – I should have said “the struggle for sexual equality”) has travelled along a hard and rocky road, but, doing away with something similar to slavery which should never have been a fact, never mind an issue, has been achieved at record pace. Considering that New Zealand only started enfranchising the other half of the world’s population just over 100 years ago, and that Emily Pankhurst and her ‘sisters’ were still chaining themselves to lamp posts and diving in front of male-mounted horses in supposedly advanced and liberal countries like England in the 1920s, a quick-fire revolution has taken place.
Despite most recent revelations that women (oops, I did it again, so in order to avoid any more faux pas, I will use the terms “girl” and “boy” from here on in) are still being paid less than boys in the job market, today, equality, and more, is here to such an extent that girls no longer need boys. “And did they ever?” we are told, or is that merely a contention propagated by boys?
Traditional values have been thrown out of the window, and rightly so. Tradition, after all, is only a chauvinistic concept employed by boys to maintain the status quo favouring their predominance.
Girls, whisky distillers claim, are breaking into the Scotch market, consuming rocketing amounts of the amber drop. Apparently, this new craze shows her to be confident, intelligent, young and individualistic – even sales of Jack Daniels, with or without Coke, are booming. Maybe a re-branding to “Jacquie Daniela”, “Jenny Walker” or “Jan Beam” is already in the pipeline. I don’t care, I am not partial to a furry-tongued, raging hangover – go for it girls!
More worryingly is that I am continuously being confronted with surveys telling me, and my brothers in arms, that girls no longer seek commitment, don’t want sensitive men, love or mutual exclusivity (Woman’s Own problem pages, furtively read under the bed cover with the help of a torch, told me a different story when I was young). “Take what you want, use it and chuck it away” seems to be the modern credo – is this turning into an age of revenge, with girls seeking disproportionate retribution for a long history of repression? Help!
Even science is now meddling with what little romance there is left in the world. Research has focused on the death of the lust hormone. Tests on volunteers in Italy have shown that the chemical compound neurotrophin, responsible for sending us head over heels, fades away within two years of the beginning of a relationship to be replaced by oxytocin, a cuddle hormone. It is unbelievable – surely the illustrious biochemists at the University of Pisa are committing a fundamental error, that of confusing lust with love, the latter, not the former, being the glue that binds people together (nothing against a good cuddle, I’ll have some of those molecules too, “Grazie”!).
What does it all mean? Do I, a man, male, boy have to worry about being subjugated by a new breed of hybrid woman, female, girl? I don’t feel threatened, only worried that we may be losing touch with real values sacrificed on the altar of non-consensual sameness.
All this may go some way towards explaining why infidelity, in so much as it still has relevance, is reaching unprecedented levels. Just look at the tens of thousands of one-purpose-only tourists visiting Brazil, the Philippines, and other travel destinations offering cheap and uncomplicated sex. Not to mention the Gary Glitter-type group of persuasion. Homophobia is out – boys are fleeing a girl-dominated society, workplace and home in droves, simply terrified of the Amazon jackboot! Casanova is dead, long live Raquel Welch and errr, Maggie Thatcher and her heirs. The answer to this complete turn-around in human affairs, once again, lies in the genes (not the hot pants) if we are prepared to believe what we read.
Some PEOPLE – yes, we are all the same race – don’t have the desire for monogamous relationships, while others do. This is not a boy or girl thing, just a call of nature. Our contemporaries hide, assuming different guises, often preconditioned by past (negative) experiences at home. Boys and girls, like you and me, are constantly on the look out for love, acceptance, respect and understanding – a real sense of liking, if not fanciful companionship. Everything else is rubbish, amplified by the media.
Show me a modern woman, a modern man, give me an x-ray of the soul, and I will show you the secret and identical cravings inherent in all of us. And I am not just talking about heterosexual relationships – the same is true for girl/girl, boy/boy scenarios, however uncomfortable that may make you feel, depending on your generation dependent degree of acceptance (not lip service), It boils down to the same thing.
Unfortunately, we were not made to be alone, as much as we attempt to convince ourselves that we should have been. The longing remains, but it is not solved or entirely satisfied by a well-loved pet either. Cats and dogs don’t talk, are unable to give in the same way another human being can – or refuse to. Duopoly, not monopoly, is the state that we seek, regardless of where we see ourselves in the general order of things – take my word on this. But it’s no good going around nailing your pseudo-emancipation, super independence and artificially inflated confidence onto a flagpole, only to go and cry yourself to sleep in private. Nor is there any benefit to be derived from running away for the rest of your life, afraid of what might or might not be.
Boys, girls, all of us, we need to find a new, direct and honest way of communicating with each other – and of understanding ourselves.
By Skip Bandele