"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Nov 17, 2010

A Gender Post (About Coffee)

My wife finishes the last cup of coffee and if the rest of us (yeah, my kids drink coffee) haven't had a share, she makes another pot. She'll make coffee in the morning, to take to work, and then make another pot for me when I get up.

She came into our marriage with this awareness of others. With a social awareness.

I mostly had to learn it, from watching her.

I wasn't raised to see the world this way. She was.

I get the distinct impression that this is common.


Randal Graves said...

Are you saying there's something wrong with permutations of the 'hands off my coffee, motherfucker' theory of social relations?

My kids dig noodles so much that if that's a side, we'll make extra just so my wife and I get some. Can't fight that pasta DNA, heh.

Anonymous said...

Jack - What's common? The way she was raised? Or the way you were? I was raised to always think of others... in fact, to the point of being a doormat, never rocking the boat, etc. Extraordinary selfishness doesn't even work in my outlook, I can't fathom it for myself, but I surely recognize it in others. On the other hand, there's Dexter Morgan, whose father had to teach him how to pretend at empathy so that he could adapt, socially. I sorta understand that, a whole lot better than I understand unbridled selfishness.

Randal - How many sides in a meal? Is it a hexagon? Octagon? Most of my meals have no sides, they are just linear.

AlanSmithee said...

Well, yeah, at least here in prolestan women are taught to defer to men - and men are taught to be in competition with every other man around him. Been that way since Hector was a pup.

Anonymous said...

What are you getting at Jack? That your wife was fufilling her role as mother/wife of the hoousehold?

This somehow confuses you?

alternatively if this is just a post in praise of your woman then thanks for not getting too effusive

Jack Crow said...


Adversarial tickling allowed?


I mean mostly what Alan was kind enough to summarize.

Thanks, Alan.


"My" wife does whatever she pleases. I mean this as respectfully as possible, but I don't give a flying fuck what she does, what role she takes, who she fucks, when she orgasms, how she loves, who she loves, when she loves or what she does with her time.

I love her. For her self. Full stop.

Any role she assumes, especially with regard to me and the chilluns, is a role she chooses.

If she chooses to ignore us for the next three months, that's also her business. We'll get along, and we'll get by. My sons adore their mother, but they have not been raised to cast her in a role.

I sincerely hope that's of some use to you.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I love making coffee, I love coffee paraphernalia (it's my one hint of crass materialism) having a drip coffee maker, an old-timey espresso pot, a French press, and a thirty-cup samovar. To me, putting on a pot of coffee is an integral part of the tradition of hospitality in which I was raised.

Once, I gave a couple of nice young Mormon missionaries a ribbing about it (You look thirsty-want a beer? some coffee? how 'bout tea?), before offering them some ice water and telling them to hit the road.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Of course, nice young Mormon missionaries are still against marriage equality, and are patriarchal authoritarian cobags.

They can go jump in a lake, now that I think about it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jack,

Before i start i just wanted to let you know that i have been reading your blog for a while and enjoy it. I respect your opinions on most matters a great deal. But here you have fucked up.

Let me get this straight. With all due respect, if your wife suddenly left the house, started fucking the cable guy, and disowned your children, and gained 50 pounds. You would love her for her "self." Jack, there is no thing as unconditional love. You would let yourself be treated like a piece of shit, let yourself be emasculated, just because you have a slavish devotion to this particular person...why? Dont pretend like you are not a man and you are not constrained by your own biology. Dont pretend that men and women dont have different roles, are not better are different things. You are smarted than that. Men are jealous, like thin girls, want to know that their kids are their own etc.

And again acknowledging differences between the sexes doesnt justify overt oppression. But Jack, if she's your wife as you say, why wouldnt you care who she fucks and if she cares about your children????

Also, whether or not you think your children have been raised to cast her in a "role." if she has been raising them since birth, im pretty sure they think of her as "mother" and expect things from her...

Since im talking about your family, ill say again that i dont want to insult you personally per se. I just want to talk about your views of gender relations.


Jack Crow said...

I don't necessarily associate orgasm with love, Anon.

I don't associate another person's self-possession with my own needs or desires.

I don't think my wife enjoying herself, on her own terms, equals "shitting on" me.

My wife's joy or pleasure doesn't emasculate me. It's got nothing to do with me, unless she is sharing it with me.

If she has a conversation with her best friend, savors a meal, erupts into language erasing laughter over an old joke they've tossed back and forth for the last thirty years, and finds herself in a moment of deep physical and emotional ecstasy - that has nothing to do with me. Nor ought it. Nor do I claim any right to it.

It's hers. If it were mine, I'd feel it. I don't, so it doesn't belong to me. And it never will.

I don't feel jealousy when she relishes some especially excellent dish when I'm not around. I don't feel any jealousy when the light through the trees at sunset on a midsummer night catches her eye in a way that triggers an oceanic feeling of bliss, and I'm not there to experience it with her. I don't feel any jealousy when she feels a pulse of attraction for a strange and unknown man I will never meet, or never know she encountered.

Jealousy is about possession, about the emotional conviction that another person's own experiences also belong to you - that if they have them without you, you are somehow lacking.

I don't think that's natural, or unnatural. I just know it doesn't apply to me. I don't feel it.

If my wife - whom I adore for reasons known and unknown, said and forever unspoken - must leave me, then my pain is my own in the exact same way that her liberty is her own. My pain at losing her has no bearing on her needs or desires, and I would never make my pain her burden to bear.

If she "runs off to fuck the cable guy," puts on whatever weight she wants to put on, and decides she no longer has the ability to mother our sons, **her** experience, **her** perspectives and **her** needs are not my business. They have an effect on me - but so does the light of the sun.

That doesn't mean it happens in a vacuum. I would have to obviously make do, and adjust my needs accordingly. But my love is not a bond upon her freedom.

The moment it is, it ceases to be love and my relation to her becomes one of hatred and possession.

I would rather drink poison than let my love become her prison.



Jack Crow said...


To explain what I meant, above: I was in and out of foster care, homelessness and group homes for the greater portion of my adolescence. I know a lot of boys who, while not having as extreme an experience as I (and not a few who had it worse) were socialized this way - as maneuverable automatons.

I was a boy - I was supposed to take my lumps and "man up" about it. Me, against the world. That's how we were raised, then.

My wife (who is older than me, so there's that) was raised with a different social morality. One that had her assuming that clean up, caregiving and household maintenance was her role. She, to clean the world.

It wasn't until I really got into a relationship with her that I was able to observe her social morality in action, and to learn how to absorb some of her assumed roles as a way of giving her room.

It ain't easy. I can spend all day wandering the city, doing nothing but nothing, and forget that the other stuff gets done because she just does it.



Randal Graves said...

And now to follow up serious chatter with its exact opposite, charles, as everyone knows, the rhombus is among the finest of polygons.

AlanSmithee said...

"I know a lot of boys who...were socialized this way - as maneuverable automatons."

That sums the situation up about as well as anything I've read. Back in dinosaur days they were called Paragraph 9 or Paragraph 11 homes but they were really just kiddie warehouses.

So, yeah, you learn pretty quick to take care of yourself.

Jack Crow said...

Thanks, Alan.

I was 16 when I was dumped in the State Hospital the first time, awaiting a foster care relicensing. Wards split up by gender, of course. I was in with a nine year old boy who had bullet wounds in his leg - but those weren't the injuries that scarred him (I imagine, for life) deeply. He shrugged those off.

It was the group home rape which turned him into a grey shade of a human person.

I had what should not have been an age appropriate and necessary conversation with D*, about how to best defend against older boys who didn't know any better themselves (having been forcefully inducted into the fraternity of violence at a younger age) but who still had to be beaten back, and if possible beaten down, anyway.



Anonymous said...

I hear you, Jack. I've endured childhood traumas that I'm not prepared to tell people about here in blogtopia. That's why I know about interpersonal power and why it's important. That's why I can see the evil behind "nice, competent, great resume" people while a lot of folks see only the niceness, the "competence", the great resume.

I was honestly just a bit confused as to what you meant on the split between your and your wife's views on coffee, but understanding the coffee as the vehicle and not the whole thing itself.

I'm even more confused by Anon telling you what you feel, however. I'd imagine you don't take kindly to someone telling you what you "actually" think or feel despite your words. 'Cuz I know how I feel one someone tries to dictate MY reality for me.

When other humans have treated you like their own meat-puppet for whatever things they wish to do in any given moment, you tend to be a bit more understanding of the subtleties of interpersonal power, eh?

Jack Crow said...


I'm okay with Anon's perspective. I don't share it, but I'm not particularly put upon by it.

I really just wanted to address the concept of "emasculation" as it relates to the idea that another person's joy and pleasure could or ought to be my moral and emotional property.

And yeah - when you come out of violence, and especially if you resist or mitigate its colonization of your own mind and conduct, I think you have a better chance of "understanding...the subtleties of interpersonal power."

Good call, on that.



AlanSmithee said...

"...you tend to be a bit more understanding of the subtleties of interpersonal power, eh?"

Yes and no. It makes you hyper-aware to the point that you can walk into a room full of strangers and just about instantly know what the pecking order is. Who the predators are and, if your a newfag, who you're going to have to put a hurt on to get the respect you need to survive.

At the same time it doesn't exactly prepare you to live out in world. You kind of have to tamp down the part of you that relates to other people. Do that long enough and from an early enough age and, well, it can make interpersonal relationships pretty difficult.

Like Jack wrote in his original post, you have to learn that part by watching other people. And even then it feels forced and artifical.

Jack Crow said...


You and I speak a very similar moral and historical language, on this subject.

I got chills reading your above post.

I was ten years into my marriage before I could sit with my back to a window or door.

I learned to do so because my wife asked me to. She was nudge more than a wee bit tired of always having to (a) face me and (b) sit with her back to the windows. She loves the sun, and the outside.

I didn't even know I was consciously doing it at first, either.

It's just a consequence of that sort of life.

I really first became aware of it the year before I met my wife, and then not in a way I could communicate it. A family of Bosnian refugees moved in the flat above mine, and we hit it off instantly. Despite the language/religion/culture barriers, we understood each other immediately.

We had the exact same abused victim suspicious of every one trust only your small circle and then still carry a knife or a willingness to punch a motherfucker even the guy who knows your worst secret and could destroy you in the throat and make your escape with your flight bag which is all you really own posture against the whole wide fucking world.



Bajah said...

Jack, I love thee. For the rest: I replenish because of this fact. Not because of any role. It felt good to be counted enough to be thought of. That's how I was raised, and it feels good to continue on this way. As long as I have repect, I can give it.