As she is now.
Since I last used this forum to spew some bile I’ve left University in Northern England and my home in the red light district, and returned to London. This is an unburdening of a particularly bad day which has fermented in my mind, and it will involve some terrible sweeping statements and associated sexist comments. I’m pissed off, and you’re going to know it. If you don’t want to know, go. I won’t be offended.London is the city of my birth, and I love it in a scary way. It’s been a long time since London and I were together properly, so I’ve been spending a lot of time with it to make up. Art galleries, museums, film festivals, job interviews, concerts - I’ve been seeing the city at least once a week since I got back, usually more. I don’t think I can get any more offended than I was last week. So last week, to celebrate a job offer, I decided to visit an exhibition of modern art. Off I skip to the station to catch the train into the centre of town. Thirty percent of the words they used were a variant on "fuck". And they talked about "birds". Not women, not even girls - birds. From what they were saying about past conquests and encounters, I guessed that these men had exacting standards. Probably they need a bird with the body of Carmen Electra and the brains of Eva Braun.Cheerily, I get onto the train and take out my novel to while away the fifteen-minute journey. Except, except... There are these two men seated on the other side of the aisle to me. They’re having a very loud conversation. I started to realise that I was the only woman in the carriage. Obviously, I didn’t register on their radar as human. Too old or fat or ugly or bespectacled to merit attention or consideration. I tried to console myself with the thought that these men would probably give up after half a page of the Peter Ackroyd I was reading. Attempting to read, anyway. Their conversation was inescapably loud and improbably vile. I started to feel ill.Now, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy a good bit of earwigging, because I do, but this conversation was one I could have lived without hearing. They talked about cars, they talked about making money, they talked about snorting coke in clubs, they used a couple of choice racial terms which you’d hope no-one would use in private, let alone in public. It was the phrase "You’d ride it, but you wouldn’t show its face to your mates" which clinched it for me. That was the point at which I decided that if I was going to throw up, I’d lunge across the aisle and attempt to vomit equally over the pair of them. Unfortunately, my stomach didn’t turn that much. Every other person in that train carriage. That’s what gnawed at the back of my mind. What were they thinking? I looked at the guy opposite me, and he was absolutely impassive behind his newspaper. That didn’t mean much. I was stony faced behind my book and hair-curtain. I began to wish them a slow and painful car crash death. I may go to hell for it, they may leave weeping mothers and sisters behind them, but I got the uncomfortable feeling that I and every other person in that train carriage learnt more about these men than their mothers ever will. Or would want to.God knows, I wasn’t expecting any of my fellow travelers to spring to his feet, booming something along the lines of "Do you mind, there are ladies present?" I can defend myself if I want to, right? Anyway, you can’t provoke an Englishman into a fight without alcohol, money or invading another country. But in my heart of hearts, I know that it would have been great. I wanted it to happen slightly less than I wanted to spring to my feet myself in the full knowledge that everyone else in that carriage would back me up. But I didn’t know that and just sat there hoping that vomit would become my ally.The thing is that I was starting to suspect that all men think like those two on the train; they objectify women to the point where they don’t even use the word. It could well be that all hetero men, no matter how considerately they behave, no matter how PC they are and even how much they love the women in their lives, will secretly, in the very depths of their minds, look at a woman and think - "You’d ride it, but you wouldn’t want to show its face to your mates". Any men reading this can deny it all they want, but how do we know that you’re telling us the truth?This is a bad thing to have said. I’m sorry to put this out in the open. It’s uncomfortable for everybody, and leaves me open to all sorts of recrimination: Don't women think like that? I don’t know. I never have, I don’t know any other woman who has, but I’m not going to be stupid enough to say that I can speak for every woman on the planet. Aren’t I just bitter because I’m so much of a dog that no one would even think of me in "riding" terms? Shit, maybe. There were some, a long time ago. They even introduced me to their friends. Journey’s end came eventually. I changed to the tube and went to the art exhibition. Naked couple. They each posture a bit for the viewer, she hits him about without any resistance, more posturing, he beats her up without resistance.Thing is - I like men. I enjoy their company. My best friend is a man. I’m going to be best man at his wedding next year. I rang him to tell him about my day, and asked whether he thought like that. He said no. Do I trust him? Yes. It hurts too much to think that he might be lying.There was a forty-minute queue to get into the Mariko Mori Dream Temple, but it was worth the wait, and cheered me up quite a lot. Then I went into the Chris Cunningham video installation, and there we go again. They fuck. Well, everyone’s experience of a work of art is different; interpretations are objective and quite often far from the artist’s intentions. The exhibition catalogue puts another interpretation to the piece. I saw a male artist making a statement about sex and violence being synonymous. They were bodies as objects, bodies without any subtle emotion invested in them. It was disturbing - doubtless the reaction which the artist had hoped for.Time changes you, though; I freely admit to living in a state of self-loathing nowadays.
First off, I apologise.