In an episode of friends Luke Perry joins an enthusiastic analysis by his friends. He finds himself saying: If I was a man I’d… and he peters out, horrified by where his identification with the women around him has taken things…
Similarly, I once agreed with a woman who was vehemently declaring that all men were bastards. She looked at me funny.
Why did I remember this couplet of images? The other day, I visited my Job Network Provider in Marrickville, Wise Employment. I’d recommend them to anyone; they’re friendly, reasonable, but they certainly are getting out there, looking for jobs. Marrickville has the advantage over some other suburbs: it’s inner-west, filled with small businesses which, though modest-sized, are yet viable & thriving; also the suburb is on the rise generally. It’s what Newtown was a decade ago, before cashed-up North Shore widows arrived en masse, sneered down their noses at punks and goths and encouraged hard headed realtors to develop every available site into NAICE apartment blocks.
Well, I walked in the front door of Wise Employment, to find a young, veiled Islamic woman at the reception desk. She turned out to be Palestinian, with a truly lovely disposition. I told her I was the idiot who got to Jordan, spent a week in Amman the capitol, and forgot to visit Petra, which I’ve regretted ever since.
Meeting Ayeej reminded me why I’d had such a good time in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. Arabic people, by and large, are really nice people. Comfortable, unpretentiously hospitable. I got a bit too relaxed in Egypt and was nearly arrested by a policeman whom I called beautiful, jamil. Likewise the salafist Saudi guy who sneered at me. Never mind. The rest of the population lived and let live. Which made the recent Sydney demo so upsetting; likewise the SBS doco about the Islamic youth drop in centre where the receptionist opens a letter from the gay newspaper Sydney Star, she turns to face the camera with a sneer, as if she’s been made to pick up a dog turd. Fuck the bigots, fuck them all. My Israeli doctor blithely tells me Israel should be occupying all of Trans-Jordan. Unbelievable.
But why question my maleness? The news keeps showing the last moments of that lovely young woman in Brunswick. My mum was locked up in a migrant centre, whose commandant was a control freak and sexual predator, may he burn in hell, he was responsible for her years of mental instability. Men really are THUGS, insensitive life support systems for a penis. No emotions, no ethics. I have virtually been granted honorary female status, many hetero couples who take the most fleeting look at my relationship say I’m the wife. There you go! But like women, I’m a refugee in hiding from male violence; a 10 year of unenforceable Aggravated Violence Orders against the southern Yugo peasant next door. As the I Ching says: when criticised, evil takes to its weapons. There is no room available to debate differences.