Sunday, January 23, 2011

"As long as you're up, bring me a sunset"

As a single man, I have spent a good deal of my time in noting down the infirmities of Married People, to console myself for those sup-erior pleasures, which they tell me I have lost by remaining as I am.
                                         Charles Lamb

I don't know that their conjugal liber-ation is going to be remembered as the worst thing about co-tenancies in the emerging era of equal protection. Such an anti-climactic concession works a mere fillip of unfairness, when the guilty perks of combination, per se, already oppress the single man in more intimate ways - the loss of soci-ety of not one but two amatory pros-pects; the overweening inflationary effects of the two-income garçonnier; the preferential absorption of every-thing requiring reservations; the wage-free availability of a sympathetic servant; the motivated drawer, indeed, of one's bath; the keeper of a spare wardrobe; the pourer of one's Sherry.

Only in blogging does the direst reach of conjugal inequality make itself known. You may thrash about in your moleskine, for any legible notation of your walk through the rain in Rome, only to suffer the eradicating effect of humidity -
unless, be it said, you have a side-Celt with a camera, to cover your embarrassment. 

Again, however, without even having to dwell on that handicap of bach-elorhood, which exposes an honest blog to disdain for its pictures, the discrepancy becomes even more invidious when the subject of the household trash is taken up, in blithe exemption from protest. At what point does one's gender so shear itself of fellow feeling, as to flout Mother Nature's own Anti-trust Division, on the fair competition of guyblogs? Mind you, one's own Context list is awash with Brahmins of the fair sex, but it's more than needling, for the unfair to pile on in this way. Even Nixon got credit for his spaniel.

And do you hear them, allowing more than a footnote of confession? It would be one thing, if there were so much as an ampersand in their titles, to warn of collective blogging; a cluster of avatars and a full-blown Almanach of profiles would scarcely go too far. Not even washing their hands of their exploitations, these blogs will regale us with their exploits with only the most radiant and rare of all imagery, thanks to their unsung photographers. It's hard enough, that there's an Ivan, a Claude, a Valéry out there to take a picture, fair and square. That there's a Celt, and a Boy Fenwick, would call for fury, if they were not so generous to our reading. They could move here!

by kind permission of ~

Boy Fenwick, i, iv, v
The Celt, ii, iii, vi

Charles Lamb
A Bachelor's Complaint
  of the Behaviour of Married People
Elia & The Last Essays of Elia
Jonathan Bate, editor
Oxford University Press, 1987©


  1. I had several Great Uncles who were quite confirmed in their bachelorhood! As one said to me once " I don't need a woman looking over my shoulder when I am reading Lawrence!"

  2. Sublime taste in uncles, David ~ needless to say! After the 19th C, stirpes in one's family were very sparsely populated, but of the uncles with whom one has been blessed, all would agree. Above all, certainly, Sterne's "great" Uncle Toby would tend to set the standard for that opinion, and indeed to prefigure the appearance of T.E., himself. :)

    I had a blast with this posting, whose vanishing grain of irksome truth lay less in the prohibitive manpower at other blogs than in a childhood's burden of thinking Charles Lamb to be "just too incredibly neat." I still haven't disposed of that load of admiration, but here I supposed were two targets of likely tolerance. And, for public powers, we'll always have Hazlitt. :)

  3. Yes, Laurent, you've got to remember, RFK had one of your breed. It's OK to be silky, if you know how to wear it.