Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The mere males Archillies heal

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It seems the CERA boss may have skillfully trivialized the complaint made by one of his female staff. In a carefully staged press conference he shed tears and admitted that perhaps sometimes his jokes were a shade bawdy, that he should refrain from calling his colleagues “sweetie” and “honey” and maybe even pull back from hugging people, despite this being something he has always done.

It has subsequently been revealed that there was more to the accusation, but the real story might not ever surface due to a confidentiality clause that only one side appears to have kept.

The male of the species was in all sorts of hot water last week and perhaps David Cunliffe’s apology for being a man has some validity. In the northern hemisphere the once much-loved African-American comedian Bill Cosby is facing serious allegations which could well mean he will die in disgrace like once-equally-loved Rolf Harris.

Perhaps both of them while incarcerated.

Obviously Harris’s proven criminality and Cosby’s alleged misbehavior and to a lesser extent Roger Suttons actions were beyond the pale, but recently a New York feminist videoed men admiring the upper middle regions of her torso and then accused them, on camera, of sexual harassment. I started to feel a bit unsettled. Was admiring a women’s figure really sexual harassment?

I may be headed for a long prison sentence.

I decided to take a household survey; only two members were at home at the time, wife and daughter. Daughter agreed with the feminist. I didn’t actually seek any more information, but she offered it anyway. She said she had watched me for years observing women in an inappropriate manner. She even said that as I got older the gap between the ‘ogler’ and the ‘oglee’ was widening and was not a pretty sight.

It’s amazing how we men go through the pain of childbirth, in my case on four separate occasions, only to have our offspring needlessly exposing previously unidentified shortcomings.

My wife was more kind; that’s why I married her. She agreed I spent an inordinate amount of time, when in the company of females, observing their curvatures, but she thought I did so with a degree of sensitivity. ‘Furtive’ she thought, as opposed to ogle.

I heaved a sigh of relief. A lonely death is a cold cell was not something I was contemplating as a retiree.

I will get this next one off my chest while I’m still conscious. To the heterosexual man quietly admiring the upper half of the female torso is surely one of life’s great pleasures. It’s not as though I hadn’t checked all this out before I began my lifelong study.

I vividly remember during my mid-teens sitting on the beach at Riversdale with a group of friends, male and female, discussing this very subject. Did the girls, we asked, mind us admiring their figures? 

With only one exception, they all admitted they enjoyed the attention. The exception had rather large breasts, and said she was embarrassed by them. We men - boys actually, acne and all - gallantly told her that these were not a disadvantage, and her self-consciousness was misplaced. She said we wouldn’t say that if we saw them in the flesh.

I’ll resile from further comment here and avoid the risk of appearing prurient.

Famous American publisher Bennett Cerf, in his book “Try and Stop Me” told an amusing anecdote about a prank The New York Times, a conservative newspaper, played on its readers back in the 1940’s. They published a picture of a pair of breasts on their front page. This was way before the ‘page three girl’ regularly appeared in the racier tabloids. The photo was uncaptioned, but a flood of letters came into the paper, complaining about the picture, mostly from conservative, matronly women - Cerf called them “dowagers”- who were furious that The Times had stooped to such depths.

The next day the newspaper, which had set its readers up, apologised for the lack of captioning, and said that the breasts belonged to Johnny Weissmuller, at the time America’s greatest swimmer/turned movie actor who played the lead role in the Tarzan series.

Game, set, and match to The New York Times.

I read recently of a man who had grown breasts, apparently from eating hormone-induced chickens. His doctor told him to take poultry off his diet. He did so and the breasts disappeared. A message here surely for those contemplating expensive silicone surgery.

But isn’t that the irony of it all? Millions of women worldwide have had breast implants, presumably to attract admiring glances, the majority of these from males, one would assume. How is a bloke to know what to do?

Roger Sutton is now on “garden leave” while his wife Jo Malcolm and her sister, well-known actress Robyn Malcolm, stand stoically behind him.

I’m not entirely sure that my wife and daughter would do the same for me.

“My wife had plastic surgery. I cut up all her credit cards.” - Henry Youngman.


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