I've been reflecting on male/female dynamics quite a bit, because there was 'an incident' in my local pub recently. The usual mish-mash of drunkeness (not mine), vulnerability and city shenanigans.
I'll leave out the tawdry details but essentially, someone who is usually quiet-spoken and engaging, went nuclear and yelled dreadful obscenities at a 20-something woman who 'said the wrong thing' to him. I was genuinely shocked. Stunned, in fact.
The poor lass looked absolutely freaking terrified, and verbal abuse is only a short step away from physical violence in my book.
Because I happened to be there, and had things to say about it during and afterwards, some people have tried to cast me as the villain of the piece. Funny how peoples' minds work. Or - more to the point - don't!!
Most of the men I know seem fine, but interestingly, a lot of them were suddenly revealed as sexist, small-minded and utterly appalling. Selfish is a word which springs to mind. Deluded, another. And where was their empathy, emotional depth and courage? Ah. There wasn't much on display.
Women are very far from perfect, but the girl I mean was only guilty of immaturity and saying something a bit throw-away to an overweight, red-faced middle-aged drunk with, I'm told, 'Issues. He's got issues, John.' There are a few people I'm not talking to anymore after that.
I'm not Mr Perfect myself, but I bloody well draw the line at verbal and (potentially) physical abuse. And I WILL speak out against it ... and act against it if pushed far enough.
Having said, 'Women are far from perfect', what would I do without them? I know dozens, and they brighten up my life. Men are okay, but I get sick of wall-to-wall blokes and need the other side of the coin.
I suddenly realised that I may not have children, but I DO have paternalistic feelings and protective instincts. I thought every man did, but perhaps I was being naive.
It is when you are using what you have learned from books that you wish you had read more.