Sometimes, old people have strange ideas


A novelist I’d never heard of has things to say.

Modern men are turning to gay affairs because they are “terrified” of women, Jilly Cooper has suggested.

That makes no sense. I’m afraid of X so I do Y? I have a fear of heights so I’ve decided to take up cave diving. Right.

I think gay men are gay because they are attracted to men, not because they’re necessarily repelled by women.

And hey, by this logic, shouldn’t all women be lesbians?

In a somewhat scathing verdict, the famously racy novelist said that men also cry “all the time”.

Men have as much capacity for emotion as women. This one is at least true in the spirit of the answer. I don’t understand what is “scathing” about the comment.

She added that women wear short skirts but have “do not touch tattooed across their knees” – and said she was “worried” about the effect the Me Too campaign may have on views of courtship.

She is an erotic romance novelist, I guess. I’m getting the impression I wouldn’t like her books very much, since her romantic heroes must be bold men who see a skirt as an invitation to get under it, and the heroine better not complain about it.

Back in my courtin’ days, in the long long ago, #MeToo wouldn’t have affected me, and I would not have been afraid of women, because I never intimidated anyone into forced sex, nor did I harass anyone or take inappropriate liberties with women. I think that’s the case with most men.

It’s only the assholes who should be afraid.

Comments

  1. Tulle Christensen says

    As a gay man I can tell you we not repelled by women, we actually spend much of our time helping women pick out just the right outfit

  2. zenlike says

    The other quote about the tattoo is even more worrisome:

    Cooper said: “One lovely man said ‘I can’t flirt any more’. You have a mini skirt up to here, then ‘do not touch’ tattooed across your knees.”

    How is that impeding this “lovely mans” flirting in any way?

    Me thinks this “lovely man”, and Cooper, are not talking about flirting, but about sexual harassment.

  3. auraboy says

    Cooper is a sort of English reactionary stereotype made flesh. She is one of those people that supports the Tory party, fox hunting, wars on brown people, getting married young and writing guides for young women on how to navigate the dating scene despite the fact that she never dabbled in it. Her fears for ‘courtship’ seem to be the typical horror that it’s not the 1940s any more and that such might be a good thing (although clearly there’s just as many shitty experiences today, though it’s in the very early stages of being exposed to the bleach of fresh air).

  4. jazzlet says

    Cooper isn’t anything as interesting as an erotic novelist nor even a romance novelist, she writes ‘racy’ novels set in the horsey section of the Britsih upper-middle classes, early ‘bonkbusters’ if you will. Her views on pretty much everything are, as auraboy says, reactionary and she has no real idea of what is going with most of the British population, let alone youngsters looking for love.

  5. says

    Re: “Back in my courtin’ days, in the long long ago, #MeToo wouldn’t have affected me, and I would not have been afraid of women, because I never intimidated anyone into forced sex, nor did I harass anyone or take inappropriate liberties with women. I think that’s the case with most men.

    It’s only the assholes who should be afraid.”

    Do you think you might have missed opportunities to speak up and speak out against known abusers?
    Like the “thin blue” line, there is a conspiratorial silence that supports the behavior of “asshole” men.
    That is one facet the #metoo movement is fighting against.
    A neighbor explained to me in o so “patient” terms that, “boys will be boys”.
    I asked, “Is that really how you want me to think of you? Is that really how you want me to view your father and grandfather?”
    Now, I ask you, are you actually one of those that fought against the repulsive behavior, or did you let it slide as is and was the S.O.P..
    (Rhetorical question, I am not asking you to bare your soul on something so intimate.)
    We all have to check and examine our behavior, not men alone and certainly not you alone.

  6. Onamission5 says

    Cooper has strange ideas about courtship– that is, formally, the period of time prior to engagement when a couple platonically spends time together in order to decide whether they wish to marry– if she thinks not jacking off into potted plants in front of potential employees, not trapping coworkers in your office via secret electronic lock mechanism, not demanding naked massages as part of the employment interview process, and not waving your genitals at fans who came to you for career advice is going to put an end to it. Yeah, no. Some people will still follow that model regardless simply because it’s what they prefer, no wanton sexual harassment or assault required.

    I can assure her that none of those unwanted behaviors are a necessary part of the pre-engagement dating ritual, no matter how old fashioned one’s idea of dating may be or what label one attaches to it.

    Since Cooper is concerned with outdated notions like courtship I assume she is also concerned with notions of chivalry, the form of benevolent sexism supposedly based on respecting and protecting women. If this is the case I wonder if she could explain to the rest of us how men treating a woman’s wardrobe as invitation to put one’s hands on her body against her will follows the behavioral model of respect and protection?

  7. says

    That’s a good point.

    I didn’t have to be afraid, but did have responsibilities to speak out. Fortunately for me, most of my family and friends were not in abusive relationships and had healthy interactions with each other, so I wasn’t confronted with situations where I had to act.

    With one exception.

    My grandfather was an abusive asshole and alcoholic, and was particularly vicious towards my grandmother. That was the background of my entire childhood, and I didn’t know how to respond to it. What do you do when you’re 8 and your middle-aged grandfather snarls at your grandmother? Not to make excuses, but it was something we took for granted.

    And she stuck by him for his entire life! I think, though, that she was in many ways relieved when he finally died — she seemed to smile more often after that.

  8. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Modern men are turning to gay affairs because they are “terrified” of women, Jilly Cooper has suggested.

    I see this as a simple genderswap of the old stereotype cliché of how when a woman gets scared of men (by an abusive hetero relationship) can instantly flip to lesbianism.
    .
    Usefully abandons the “contagious gay” to which so many strate [sic] guys ascribe: stay away from gays or you might become one
    .
    re #metoo
    my personal history is somewhat ~inversed~.
    In the earliest stages of a few of my earliest relationships, I got so afraid of “pushing” (and it wasn’t cowardice, I was afraid of being offensive), that I retreated, turning introvert, and wonder if that lost a few possible deeper relationships. oh well que sera sera

  9. says

    re: “My grandfather was an abusive asshole and alcoholic, and was particularly vicious towards my grandmother. That was the background of my entire childhood, and I didn’t know how to respond to it. What do you do when you’re 8 and your middle-aged grandfather snarls at your grandmother? Not to make excuses, but it was something we took for granted.”

    I am sorry you went through that… no one should.

  10. cartomancer says

    Well I’m terrified of pretty much all other human beings, but funnily enough I still have sexual feelings towards some of them.

    Mind you, there was one surprising and informative thing I got out of this. I thought Jilly Cooper died years ago.

  11. Ed Seedhouse says

    “I have a fear of heights so I’ve decided to take up cave diving.”

    Well I had a fear of heights and I decided to take up rock climbing. What does that prove (other than that I was young and stupid)?

  12. says

    PZ:

    My grandfather was an abusive asshole and alcoholic, and was particularly vicious towards my grandmother. That was the background of my entire childhood, and I didn’t know how to respond to it. What do you do when you’re 8 and your middle-aged grandfather snarls at your grandmother?

    Stay out of the line of fire. It took me over 30 years to be able to talk about the abuse I dealt with growing up, and even when you aren’t the specific target of the abuser, the impact is the same, and you do suffer mental and emotional abuse. When you’re a child, you’re powerless. You learn to control yourself, you learn to survive, and you learn to be silent. It can extremely difficult to overcome that silence.

  13. says

    She added that women wear short skirts but have “do not touch tattooed across their knees”…

    Is this why men now wear shorts that are baggy and reach below the knees now?

  14. petesh says

    Ms Cooper’s nickname during her rise to local fame and minor fortune was “Jolly Super.” Perhaps you have to be a Brit to understand how perfect this was.

  15. JoeBuddha says

    I’m just pissed that I learned about human relationships through high school “peers” and ’70’s TV. It took most of my life to unlearn that shit.

  16. johnlee says

    Dragonessfredricksson has put a finger on something. In my early twenties (some thirty years ago) I knew of a man in our village who was notorious for beating his girlfriend. As far as I am aware, nobody, me included, did anything to try and stop this.
    I heard several years later, some years after I had moved abroad, that she had died in suspicious circumstances, and that many people believed he was directly or indirectly responsible for her death. I feel considerable guilt about this, and I wonder how on earth I could have considered that it was simply none of my business. I would like to think that today I would have more courage.
    My conscience is not clear about this. I know I should have done something to help, but didn’t.

  17. chrislawson says

    I’m sure tomorrow will bring some more scathing verdicts from Jilly Cooper:

    1. All those shopkeepers displaying their most appealing products in the window, but having the gall to put up “SHOPLIFTERS WILL BE PROSECUTED” signs

    2. All those museums brazenly displaying classic works of art to the public, but also having security staff to terrify those poor visitors who just want to take an original Monet home

    3….

  18. Susan Montgomery says

    “Back in my courtin’ days, in the long long ago…”

    Am I the only one who’s picturing a lime-green checkered leisure suit and Hai Karate?

    I wonder how this woman would explain a bi trans*woman?

  19. rietpluim says

    To be honest, I was one of the assholes once, and I was rightfully called out on it.
    Still I’d say there is no reason to be afraid. It made me a better man.
    So if #MeToo calls, welcome it.

Leave a Reply