Mothers set together. That's all I can say from this side of the Great Divide. And they sit together, and have tea together, and talk about their sons and their brothers and their fathers.
I don't flatter myself that they spend the most of their time thinking about men, but, having been told that this one is being mistreated by her son, and this one is having difficulty getting everyone to believe what she thinks about her brother, and these ones having difficulty getting everyone to believe what they think about their father, I do speak with a measure of experience.
Having this experience about mothers I have had to give myself some distance from my own. Some people were in the habit of reading Dickens with their eyes closed, and preferred to read modern authors who tell us in no uncertain terms what Vegans do in Vegas. That a society existed without a certain Institution we have proof. That I preferred to read Dickens with my eyes closed to the fact that that in which he lived was not it, I hereby submit my admission of guilt; but I paid my dues with labour for the fact that I read sloppy modern authors.
It's very sloppy of a modern author to use the word coquette. You won't find an adequate definition of the word until you've read lots of dusty old English books. That at some period in my life I found myself at a loss as to what to call that which was in front of me, is not something I believe to be a unique experience.
It would be heartless of me to leave the reader to wonder whether that which was in front of me was a coquette or not. But I doubt anyone will believe me if I tell them that I was encouraged to believe that it was the Devil, so that we find ourselves choosing the safer route of giving the proof of our heartlessness.
As I find myself wanting to rewrite my own history based on knowledge gained by experience, it is worth mentioning that, while I don't recall specific discussions, I do believe that we held that only lunatics get married without first going to watch a sequel to Toy Story or a Travesty of English History, and eating at a place which caters for vegetarians and those who only eat chicken which is given the free range of a square yard, and repeating these activities month after month while the one who is a natural in the kitchen cajoles the one who prefers to scare cockroaches away with a mess about the fact that they aren't looking after themselves properly.
Which is called, 'getting him to propose.'
I speak from inexperience. I stopped enjoying movies before the time I might have met someone capable of knocking me senseless (most people will recall that I vociferated against losing self control, which I am told is part of being knocked senseless), when I found myself carrying a grain of truth. It was admitted by intelligent people that the most popular movies were only there to give us a sense of superiority about our knowledge (by making deliberate errors).
There was a time when I was amongst vegetarians, as well as people who said they would be one except for their love of steak (or other meat unspecified). There was a time that I thought that farmers had all become avaricious to the degree that no animal was given anything but the meanest of existences. But to have excluded meat from my diet would have been to eat vegetarian pizzas for dinner and nothing else.
To have asked a vegetarian to dinner would have been awkward to say the least. Having it on the best authority that vegetarians were all happy to contemplate the carcase of a bull after it had been picked clean by vultures, and that they often had exactly what they needed at home, it would have presented itself to a logical mind to ask them out to their place (if we were there already, for instance as a friend, we had cooked our own goose).
'Would you go out with me, right here? I'll nip home and fetch a bone that someone left me with?'
I eventually had to concur that a prime cut of steak, ungarnished, is something which can get our mouth watering, years later (I stopped buying steaks for consumption at home because it reminds me of when I could enjoy the treat with my dogs).
Asking someone out to their place reminds me of something that was said some time ago (by someone who didn't copyright their work): in the old days a man would pick a flower and pull the petals of it off one by one saying to himself, 'she loves me', 'she loves me not', for he is working up the courage to ask her to marry him. These days men seldom if ever pick flowers with women on their minds. But they rotate these things in their heads, 'she likes me', 'she digs me', 'maybe she's got the hots for me', 'maybe she thinks I'm cute', 'I'm sure she thinks of me when she's with someone else'. His goal, such as it is, is to ask her out: 'I hereby grant you the power to take us to the outside. Do be careful, my dear: make sure we get there whole. And make sure that we never have to come back!'
I don't speak for all: I speak of those of us who did not have the right pheremones, were sure we would not have fooled anyone if we tried a substitute from off the shelf, and did not know how to say things which pleased if they made no sense to us (and I only ever met the kind of woman who thought of me when she was with someone else).
I have never flinched at the prospect of living forever alone. I flinch at the thought of having to be subjected to others telling me about progress, endlessly, when that progress amounts to the sending of postcards without a message attached.
I flinch at the thought of operating systems that must contain in memory a million meaningless pictures, because people never give themselves time to think about when a picture is worth a thousand words, and when a picture merely serves to say, 'expressing myself in plain English, my friend, will take me time, so please accept this picture which I find cute.'
Unless we intend to enter into an exchange of cute pictures, the person sending the picture closes the conversation. But when we decide we have something to say back to them, we still feel that we owe a response to their last unwritten message to us. 'Thanks for that picture: it turned me upside down!'
Naturally we must just accept that it is the done thing that people share their poses with the world. No-one likes to be called a poser, but have you ever tried to get someone to take a photo of you while you are not posing for it?
At least I can claim with all honesty that I didn't have a clue what the word pose meant, at that date.