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Preserving Romance

Howell Hurst People

FROM MY CORNER

Preserving “Romance”

The sex drive is what keeps human life moving on. In mammal species, it seems the male commonly exhibits a very aggressive behavior, while the female allegedly acts more passively.

Actually, the female frequently exhibits enticing behavior that captures males’ attention. One time married, but subsequently a lifelong bachelor, I don’t pretend to be an expert. However, I don’t pretend not to have some first hand experience with the subject.

Having as a young man lived four years in Europe, I admit to having experienced what one may call friendships with women from France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Great Britain, Austria, Switzerland, and, yes, the United States.

Therefore, I found intriguing the position paper recently signed by one hundred prominent French women on the subject of male sexual abuse of women. Their stance was that American women’s sustained counter attack on such abusive men may have tested optimal limits.

This is clearly a highly sensitive subject. As a man, I understand one needs to address the entire matter with serious regard for the selection of words and opinions one expresses. So, I shall proceed with caution.

The French women have been making the point that the historical art of seduction practiced by males requires a certain degree of ambition, and shall we say “enterprising” tactics.

And here, I believe, is where a distinct line has to be drawn. “Enterprising” is not what Harvey Weinstein and other men have been singled out as having been engaged in.

An enterprise is commonly a business project or undertaking. Seduction, on the other hand, usually indicates a strategic goal: romantic interest demonstrated through delicate and, ideally, artistic persuasion by a man of a woman for physical intimacy.

Seduction obviously has not been the ultimate objective of many men in positions of power over women. Theirs has been actual intimidation, dominance, and quite often it would appear, of humiliation.

The French women maintain all they wish to convey is that women in America should also draw a fine line between seduction and sexual attack. Women, the French women contend, need to clearly distinguish between the two.

Women do not, the French ladies clarify, want to block men from being able to express their attraction for women so that the charge of intimidation is reversed and originates from overly-protective women.

After all, over half of all romantic film comedies would then be banned, and not only in Boston. Instead, the human race would become endangered. We certainly don’t want the fascinating, but usually benign, dance of romance to be destroyed, do we?

It ‘s difficult, however, to judge how far liberated American women may wish to take this crusade. Once fervor becomes common fare in the media, such warmth of emotion can conceivably get out of control.

Relevant to this subject, French and Italian men are renowned for their artful talent of seduction. When they successfully ply their tradescraft, both they and their intimate mates, are – so goes the theory anyhow – mutually agreeable and satisfied with the arrangement.

American men, it may be argued, have never really learned the finer points of female seduction. But American women are not attempting to address these fine points, I believe. Theirs is a far more rational and overdue initiative.

Their passion to bring overbearing, insensitive men of power to task is entirely appropriate. As the lifelong bachelor I am, I am with them in their cause. I suggest, though, that they may wish to heed the French women’s call for caution.

This should not become a Warlock hunt. All the gross male insensitivity they decry, should not be transferred to themselves. It is, after all, largely their sensitivity and delicacy that attract us males to them.

Permit me to explain I make this observation not as a man striving to establish myself as an indisputably competent judge of the subject. Rather, as a male having reached what is regularly called old age – although I prefer the euphemism: a mature man.

I am mature perhaps. But, I am decidedly not yet dead. If you know what I mean.

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