by Rigby Taylor

Chapter 24

Chloe Bends Sebastian's Ear

'You're looking glum, Chloe. I thought you'd be more cheerful with Zeno and his friends arriving tomorrow.'

'Have you never heard of multitasking, Sebastian? Women can be simultaneously ecstatically happy and inconsolably sad. The thought of my grandson having to forge a future for himself in a world in which manhood is dead, breaks my heart.

'Goodness, I didn't realise my manhood has passed away.'

'That's because you're a man,' Chloe snapped. 'Those most involved never realise what's happening to them until its too late. I've been keeping clippings,' she said reaching for a bulging scrapbook.

'How organised.'

'Indeed. They're annotated, dated and indexed with links to relevant TV and radio broadcasts.'


'Contained in these pages is proof that masculinity is moribund, femininity is feral, and human hara-kiri is looming.'

'I'm impressed. I can't believe you worked that out simply by pasting stuff in a scrapbook.'

'Don't be patronising.'

'I wouldn't dare.'


'So, the human race is in the process of topping itself?'

'Figuratively, yes.'

'Climate change and all that?'

'Much worse. There's no need to look sceptical, Sebastian. I've plenty of examples.' Chloe opened the scrapbook at random and read; 'The Beach Volleyball Association decided to ban the wearing of Speedos by male players. Henceforth they must wear shorts. "We don't want to see men's bits jiggling around on the court," Amanda, the group's spokesperson said. "It's disgusting." She's president of the local chapter of Women's War International, whatever that is.'

'If she's anti male, why doesn't she change her name to Apersonda?'

'Good point. Here's a photo.'

Sebastian looked and laughed. 'Her bum's exposed in a thong and that bra scarcely covers her nipples. I'll bet those knockers jiggle around more than any guy's balls.'

'Especially as men now have no balls to jiggle. Have you seen how young women dress on the street? Bum cracks deeper than their breast cleavages. Navels exposed and skirts and shorts so abbreviated their cheeks hang out, while their boyfriends' baggy, all-concealing shorts reach from navel to knee.'

'That's young people. It's only a fashion.'

'A fashion that decrees the female body is so wonderful it must be displayed, and the male body so horrible it must be covered. There was a piano competition on TV last night. The young men all wore dark suits, white shirts and ties. The women were virtually naked from the nipples up, and all wore whatever colour and style they wished to cover the rest. Can you imagine the advantage they get from not overheating and the extra freedom of movement? One young woman's skirt was split to her thigh on the side facing the judges. Guess who won?'

'All's fair in the competitive world of love and music. But mostly it works to men's advantage.'


'Because females expose as much flesh as they dare, while men conceal every vestige of their virility and manhood, men get to see what's on offer before buying, whereas the poor randy woman is as likely to end up with a scrawny potbelly, as a fit young athlete. This is unfair to women. Men should be forced to wear similar clothing to women so they too can view the body and gauge the size of penis and testicles.'

Chloe's barking laugh could be heard at the boundary.

Sebastian smiled benignly. 'You see, Chloe, instead of proudly asserting their animal right to display their strength, beauty and prowess, men feel pity for the soft, weak little bodies and faces that need makeup to look human, and so we deliberately make ourselves look sexless. It's kindness, not timidity. We know we are superior merely by the fact that we are male – we don't have to flaunt it.'

'Your slippery tongue will get you into very hot water, Sebastian. And some developments should concern you, and are worrying me now Zeno is old enough to get trapped. Listen to this.' She turned to another article. 'Malcolm Z, an eighteen year old engineering student, has been convicted of rape and sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment.' She looked across at Sebastian. 'What do you reckon the young man did?'

'Grabbed the girl in the park, tied her up, bashed and rooted her then left her bleeding and torn?'

'Malcolm Z had been to a bar with his mates. A young woman he had never seen before came up to him and demanded he buy her a drink. Malcolm refused so she dropped her cigarette into his beer and left. Later, the young woman followed him home, apologised profusely, said she was homeless and only wanted to crash on his floor. She cried, well aware that men are rendered impotent by women's tears, so he reluctantly agreed and gave her a blanket on the sofa. Later that night she crept into his bed and sexually aroused him. He responded, but just as he was about to penetrate she changed her mind. Too late, Malcolm completed the act. The following day she reported him to the police for rape. She doesn't deny the facts, but insists he should have stopped when she told him to. The police and courts agree and an intelligent and kind young man's life is ruined.'

'Terrible, I agree, but women need protection.'

'And men don't need protection? Why are men supposed to take responsibility for their actions but women aren't?'

'They're the weaker sex.'

'Don't be ridiculous! Five times last year young women have forced their way into the motel rooms of football players, partied with up to seven of them, gone to their rooms, allowed themselves to be petted while playing with the genitals of these fit young men, but when someone puts his finger up her twat, she screams digital rape and the men are prosecuted.'

'They shouldn't have allowed her into their rooms.'

'Of course—it's their fault again. How about this one—Two o'clock in the morning in Fortitude Valley. Two girls wearing only halter brassieres and mini skirts with no underwear, approached five young men crossing the Robbie Burns park, said they were seventeen and wanted a bit of fun. The young men gave it to them. The following morning all five were charged with sexual molestation of minors. The girls were fifteen years old and, according to our laws, they have the right to wear next to nothing in the early hours of the morning and accost drunken young men without the risk of anything bad happening to them. This isn't sane! If they take the risk they must take the consequences. Humans are animals. Civilization has softened the edges, but the basic instincts survive and to ignore them is to court disaster.'

'Even so…'

'The result is a generation of young men denied the expression of their masculinity and despised as weaklings by women. Men have become pathetic creatures at the mercy of the slightest whims of any passing female—a situation exemplified in almost every contemporary film in which women call the tune and men act like well-trained lap dogs. It's sickening. Having lost all self respect as well as the respect of the law and females, depression and suicide are soaring. How many young women suicide? Virtually none. How many young men? Hundreds! If not thousands! Most are never reported and there are no investigations into the reasons. The silliest thing is it's entirely the men's fault.'

'How do you make that out?'

'They invented all those labour saving devices that freed women from housework, giving them an unwarranted sense of importance. Women then began to imagine they were too good for mere housework, and idiotic males infected with Victorian pseudo medieval crap about the sensitivity, nobility, and mystery of women have allowed them to act like spoiled princesses, demanding their husbands provide more and more luxuries; insisting that a real man would give his wife her every desire. Shopping malls are teeming with underdressed and poorly educated women whose sole aim in life is to shop till they drop, spending their overweight and over worked husband's money on worthless junk; never satisfied, never content, muttering the matron's mantra "When I have such and such, then I'll be happy". They have tits enlarged by one doctor, brains shrunk by another. The more they have the more they want in a never ending race to be more spendthrift, more banal, more wasteful, more artificial and less useful than any other woman in history.'

Sebastian sat back and gazed in delight at this energetic neighbour who at sixty-five still did all maintenance and repairs on her three hectare bush block that bordered his own large holding. A better neighbour he couldn't imagine. Tall and lean, grey hair dragged back in an untidy chignon, hooked nose, deep-set eyes and prominent cheekbones. A handsome face as devoid of artificiality as it was of conventional beauty.

'Are you laughing at me, Sebastian?'

'Didn't you once tell me that forty years ago you burned your bra and marched in the streets for women's rights and liberation, demanding equality with men?'

'Equality! Not superiority. I have never asked for favours, only for equal treatment; in the same way as gays don't want any special treatment, they don't want gay-specific laws, they want all laws to apply to them. Gender and sexuality should not be mentioned in an egalitarian society. If it's good enough for women to have adequate health care, its good enough for men—but they haven't! Women are far better accommodated than men in both prevention and cure of ailments. All laws should apply to all citizens equally, and that's that.'

'Very interesting, Chloe. I'm reminded of Noosa Spit. Remember when it was crowded with nudists all year? Couples, singles, kids, straights, gays, we all hung out together, sunbathing, swimming, playing ball games. Tits and cocks bouncing as we ran—innocent, guiltless fun. Then the moral brigade set the cops on us, cleared the scrub, put footpaths in, banned nudity in case children should see a bloke's cock and suffer trauma. Then they patrolled Alexandria Bay and slapped fines and convictions on nude males—not females of course; and that was the end of innocence.'

'Ah yes,' Chloe sighed. 'Those were fun times. I feel so sorry for young people now; such mixed messages they're receiving. Graphic sexuality on the internet; Puritanism in real life. I'm afraid for the future if women aren't reigned in. Apart from emasculating men, women are the driving force behind more, bigger, better, faster—the attitudes that are destroying the planet. Bachelors are usually happy with enough. It's husband hunters who go for the richest male; it's wives who nag and bitch and force their husbands to work themselves into the grave so they can impress other women. If you define success as having the biggest and best, then the saying, "Behind every successful man there's a woman" rings true. Without that wife he'd be contented with a simple life and house and car, valuing things for their beauty, efficiency, engineering excellence… not for how jealous his wife's friends will be.'

'Sounds sensible, but where's this going, Chloe? What's driving you?'

'Like I said, I'm concerned about Zeno. He's a bright lad who needs to get into an environment where he will meet intelligent, decent young men and learn to be proud of his mind and body. I want him to learn to stand up to women. To only accept the sort of behaviour from them that he demands from himself. To realise he doesn't need them any more than he needs a wheelchair. If he decides to share his life with one then it must be as equals, not as a cringing, snivelling constantly appeasing, apologising, doormat—a pathetic hen-picked male eventually paying maintenance to a brutal tart who has never given a toss about him, I want…'

Sebastian placed a calming hand on her shoulder. 'Commendable aims, Chloe. How do you intend to achieve them?'

Chloe shrugged. 'I don't know, Sebastian. As you know he's bringing a couple of friends and his school principal who's just retired. I insisted they stay as I want to know what influence they've had on him. Grandmothers have a duty of care, you see. Parents are too young and inexperienced to be of much use except as providers. I know he admires you, so I hoped you would talk with him? See if he's on the right track. Even if he isn't, insist he goes to Rex's establishment, not the local high school. OK?'

'No problem.'

'Thanks. They're arriving tomorrow afternoon. Come to dinner the following evening.'

'I look forward to it.'

'It's late, stay to dinner?'

'Sorry, I've a job. A woman's fiftieth birthday, large family gathering, ages five to ninety. I penned a bit of amusing doggerel to read just before the finale. Husband wants a traffic cop, make her feel special - naked but no erections.'

Why do you do it?'

'Raises my self-esteem. Stops me thinking. Fills the gap for a while…' Sebastian shrugged and looked away.

'It's been a year, Sebastian. The sadness will lift eventually. I felt something similar when Des died.'

'You'd been with him for forty years. I can't stop myself thinking about what we missed.' He stared at Chloe. 'It was too soon. I know millions of people have much worse experiences – I think of all the innocents our bombs are murdering, maiming and causing such heartache to all parents and children who survive, and my heart aches… but it doesn't make my own ache go away.'

'One day you'll meet someone to fill the hole.'

'I think I'll be filling a hole before that.'

'And leave me without the best friend I've ever had? Can't you wait till I've filled my hole?'

'Okay, just for you. But now I must rush; still have to change - can't let my audience wait.'

Sebastian picked up his leather holdall, pecked Chloe on the cheek and disappeared into the deepening dusk.

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