My (real life) friend the poet George Szirtes, has responded to my post on Misogyny:
I wrote three posts at my own place in response to the misogyny blog by Linda, that ended with a comment by a certain Stephanie who suggested men die first because they're stupid. My contribution was: fine, I am quite happy to die first.
I am not altogether stupid. I am a writer and that gives me certain advantages. But I want to discard the advantages here. I'd like to speak, if such a thing is possible, for Mr Normal, Mr Nothing Special. I want leave the gender wars out of this for now, as far as that is possible.
Beauty is something most people seek, and most men seek it, first and foremost, in women. There are many other qualities they seek but beauty is there somewhere at the core of it. And beauty is far from simple: it is not merely the ruddy glow of health or voluptuousness (what Eliot called 'pneumatic bliss'). It is not merely fleshly, though it is that too. Nor is it proportions drawn up according to a secret formula. What I said in my post was that it was "not to be owned by either the beholder or the object. And partly, because it cannot be owned like property, because it remains an elsewhere and, notionally, eternal, it is something that has always to be sought." It is in that way a spiritual yearning. We are not elsewhere and eternal. We are here and fugitive. That sense of life as something fugitive may go a little way to explaining why women's fashions change so frequently, why last year's fashion is ridiculous and no longer beautiful. Clothes are part of the beautiful, as are changes in clothes.
Next to the essential though, the momentary always looks a bit ridiculous, particularly when it is actually a product of labour. It takes considerable time. Humour is incongruity. And while, no doubt, the attitude Linda's blog refers to is part of the package, it is neither entirely a patriarchal plot nor gross stupidity. It is part of the tragic ludicrousness of life. Men and women often appear slightly ludicrous to each other. And women are far from reticent or decorous about what is ludicrous in men. In fact they are furiously critical – which is something I have never experienced among men regarding women. But we can be adult about this, can't we? Shall we, we thoughtful ones, try?