I’ve just finished the first draft of BABIES, the latest chapter in Badger’s Waddle. It’s the tale of two spinsters who decide to have a baby each and discover that they are, in fact, gay. Or at least are prepared to have a close, physical relationship with each other. One of them has definitely had male partners in the past, though I’m not sure about the other. (Incidentally, I assume ‘gay’ is a suitable term for women who enjoy the company of other women in the same way some men enjoy the company of other men?) However, don’t think that this is a pornographic story of sex; it certainly isn’t. Their relationship at the end of the tale is merely a natural result of circumstances that have allowed this particular predilection to surface.
But what I find interesting, as a man, is that Molly and Miss Bender (the characters) don’t seem swayed by appearance. This is most evidenced by the initial description of Miss Bender as seen through Molly’s eyes:
‘Tall, long of limb, scrawny to most people, certainly wiry, Miss Bender seemed to be built from joints. Elbows, knees, ankles, it was all too easy to imagine she had at least twice as many as regular folk.’
And a little later:
‘Indeed, the woman seemed invariably surrounded by a haze of carbolic, un parfum de l’eau savonneuse.’
Essentially Miss Bender doesn’t conform to a stereotypical male ideal of a woman. We (men) are largely governed by our visual sense, and that sense frequently seems directly connected to our genitals. This results in us being seen as shallow, single-tracked, chauvinistic oglers. We come out with expressions such as “Whoa! Nice boosters, babe!” and phrases such as ‘eye candy’, all of which indict us for what we are – which isn’t to say that what we are is wrong. We’re as much the result of evolution as women. The human race is like a pair of trousers; bifurcated, with males going down one leg and females down the other. Neither consciously chooses which fork to travel, we simply follow an instinctive course. (I’m not going to get into a discussion of how we could/should strive to overcome our animal, basal tendencies – that’s a lot of philosophy and I’m not in the mood for that just now.)
A man, particularly a young man, will (almost always) find himself attracted to a woman merely because she has a face and/or figure that is alluring in some fashion. But women are subtly different. Most women will admit, I think, that they also can be initially attracted by what they see in a man, be that an athletic frame, a tight bottom, or a kindly smile. But while men will often continue to focus on the face/figure/whatever of the woman they’ve chosen, women move beyond the simply physical and seem to find other things to hook onto. Generosity perhaps, kindness, maybe good conversation, or DIY skills. Since I’m not a woman I don’t actually know.
The point is that the purely physical appearance of prospective partners isn’t, as a rule, what drives women. They appear to need and indeed find something other than good looks to make them want to stay with a man. This can make it look as if women are deeper, more discerning, even more decent than men. It’s a truism that women need meaningful relationships whereas men require a more immediate response. This is displayed in sexual relations: a man must have sex to feel happy; a woman must feel happy to have sex.
All the above is very general conjecture, of course. Even if its correct I don’t know if any of it applies to same-sex relationships, though I suspect it might. Additionally, the way society develops also impacts gender behaviour, at least on the surface. But the important thing is that men and women are different, and the sooner we get used to and accept the idea the simpler life will be.