Les mamelles de Tirésias

She thought my notion that women were the initiators was my refusal to admit agency, a seducer’s (graceless) pose. I think she was beginning to feel I was not so simpatico after all. I concede she may have been right. Quizás, quizás, quizás.

Do men have as much agency as women think we do? We have privilege, yes. But have you observed men in the middle of their privilege and don’t they (we) look ridiculous, like kids in daddy’s clothes? When men act in privilege, reveling in agency, they are, to my eyes and ears, cretins.

I’m sure I’ve played at privileged agency. I’ve also played with cap guns. Maybe the men who play with real guns feel they’re not playing, maybe they are full of confidence and free of self-doubt. Don’t know. Never been there. I’ve heard women, feminists even, admit they find it terribly erotic.

Do gay men know men better than straight men? In Women in Love, D.H. Lawrence had his men get naked and wrestle so they could experience the sweaty intimacy they had with women but without sex. The men, or at least one of them, was reaching for the knowledge of another man at the same level of perfection as the greatest sexual love with a woman.

Yes, yes, Lawrence was an asshole, but he was asking haunting questions that would echo through his century. And yes, he came up with fucked-up answers sometimes (The Plumed Serpent), but he thought things through — and was probably a bore for it.

What do men want? The ones I see in the news wanting, wanting, wanting, and usually grabbing, don’t look real. They don’t seem to have changed since the days of Spiro Agnew. Made in some factory. Stepford Husbands. Expensive clothes but no finesse. A big V8 but shitty suspension, and brakes, what brakes?

I don’t recognize them as my species, never mind my gender.

But that woman who no longer found me simpatico probably thought I was more of a pain in the ass than the Stepford Husbands, what with my constant self-doubt spoken without a censor. And my impossible neediness. You want every woman to fall in love with you, an unhappy girlfriend told me once in accusation — and in front of my wife! I felt guilty as charged.

Can a man know a woman? A transgender question. A Tiresias question. Does a man need to know?

(When I started hormone therapy I knew it could bring man-tits, but it brought no prophetic sight from Apollo, nor a greater understanding of women, same old, same old, same old me.)