‘The Sacred Prostitute’ by Mina Loy
From Triple Canopy:
… passion?—It’s merely neurosis.
SOME OTHER MAN
It’s just the same with the higher qualities we hear so much about—in the comrade we hear so much about. I looked for modesty and found only fear; character and I found pigheadedness; intellect! It was short-hand lectures.
But why bother about all that when they laugh so delightfully?
Woman for me is the maze of abortive experience deflecting me from the consummate nucleus—the unique affinity of whose existence no disappointments will ever be able to dissuade me. I went out to meet life open-handed with such good-will, without prejudice, without criticism—I scoured the streets—plunged into society—“touched pitch”—dissolved myself in amorous mysticism—yet, I have never been able to solve the problem of love. Woman!?! … Woman must exist—is it possible she belongs to somebody else?
You bet she does—to some bully who beats her—the ethereal type always gets beaten—every pore of her skin cries out for it—no healthy man could resist—if only for that dumb reproachful eye—it’s like hunting!
If women are bad, you are worse—perhaps if there were more men like me, the women would improve.
(disdainfully) Improve on you?
I am said to be supremely cruel to women, but no man has ever loved them as I have—my intuitive solicitude avoided restricting them by over-valuation. I have not insulted femininity by singularising with biased selectivism—the individual for my favour—picking my way, with alert precaution, through the rose-garden of Love—I enticed those sleeping-beauties from their nests of illusion—and showed them themselves. It is no fault of mine if they gave those selves to me and if, with my passing, very little was left. I played with their prejudices—I never found a prejudice that took more than twenty minutes to overcome. I squandered hours chasing their silly souls into the corners of their propitious mouths. I was gentle with them—and they fought me with the deceptive weapons of premeditated surrender. I maltreated them and they begged for more—no brutality I could invent was ever drastic enough to make them leave me of their own accord.
The only cruelty that woman refuses to submit to through man is any cruelty she may deserve.
The man who is unkind to women is the man of calculable possibilities—women feed on anticipation, race with the intractable—and are totally extinguished by the—attainable!