I have to address this because even my wife is not happy about this chapter of my writing life. Which makes it serious. So I need to explain.
Back in 1993 I was in the process of getting divorced. I experienced an unexpected loss of interest in the sexual attractiveness of women. It was so extreme that I suspected its cause to be physical, hormonal. Which, since I was a writer, gave me an idea for a book.
The idea for The Naked Woman manuscript grew instantly, like wildfire. I worked on it full time for weeks, almost 24 hours a day. The animating spirit was the realization that sociology is conducted by people who have already arrived at their conclusions and are looking to ratify them by the appearance of scientific disinterest.
Normally, sociologists are able to conceal the hidden agendas that drive their “research,” but in the case of men who have just lost their women, the agenda cannot remain hidden. It’s comedy writ large.
I ventured onto a dual track. I was pissed off about women and I recognized exactly how this would affect me if I were doing sex difference research. I invented an underground academic movement that took place in sites called The Dog Pound, The Lodge, and The Locker Room. Lots of drinking involved. Named characters who careened through the pages espousing their wild theories on virtually no evidence.
The result of their research was an a priori condemnation of female intelligence, talent, and consciousness clothed in sociology jargon such as we see from feminists regarding men.
Heard of the new term micro-aggression? I invented micro-hormones. Lephtallalone, Pistopherone, Nestostosterone, etc. I invented a pseudo-physiological syndrome I called the Insect Brain. I made chocolate a key component of female consciousness or the lack of it.
The narrative was evidently idiotic. Men carousing and conducting “anti-experiments” to confirm their most outrageous biases about the opposite sex. Along the way the work spun out truly interesting ideas about the definition of IQ, consciousness, and the basis of sexual attraction. I was having fun with my own obviously skewed state of mind and the “Big Lie” that women are somehow entitled to share equal status with men in perpetuity given that there has never been a female Shakespeare, Einstein, Socrates, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Jesus Christ, Newton, Poe, or even Swinburne.
Where I went so disastrously wrong. I thought feminism had reached a point of success that would allow them to take ordinary Locker Room chaff without getting upset. I thought they might take it as a sign they had arrived in the old boy network. Nudge nudge. you know? Laugh, laugh, dig in ribs.
I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong. As door after door slammed in my face, fatally and forever, I learned that feminism had not arrived. More than we men take into account — with all our connivance in the fallacy that women exceed us in verbal ability, for example — women know damn well they have never produced a Shakespeare, Einstein, Socrates, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Jesus Christ, Newton, Poe, or even Swinburne.
That’s the real source of their hostility, defensiveness, and rage. The Mets can never forgive the Yankees.
And to a greater degree than even most men would believe possible, women lack a sense of humor. Not all women. Just the ones who have wriggled themselves into a place of power. There are women who know the score and are very much like us. My wife admitted, under duress, that in general, with multiple exceptions, her best friends are men. Because we’re so much more fun and don’t talk quite so much, and (gasp) when we do, we have more to say that’s worth listening to. We’re more interesting despite our easy submission to the cliche that we never think about anything.
I thought I’d written a hilarious joke. The verdict of woman dominated publishing companies was that I had written an outrageously offensive act of male chauvinist piggery.
It’s our wedding anniversary today. Nine years. I’m still in love. The book was just a book. Life is way more important. And more fun to boot.