There is nothing in this show that a caring, informed parent would not want to discuss with their child. This is not a public service announcement. But who knows, it may spark a conversation that the parents should be having. Maybe they won’t want to have the conversation. There isn’t anything in any episode that I would say to the parents of teenagers, cover your eyes.
In retrospect, I didn’t really want to be a slut. What I wanted and needed was a therapist who would consent to fucking me, but I doubted my parents’ insurance would have covered that. I had a lot to figure out for myself and I did that by making poor decisions that summer. If some wise, authoritative adult could simply have explained why I wanted to do these things and then done some with me, I think I would have refrained from most of my sexual misadventures...
I often ask, "What do you want to work at? If you have the chance. When you get out of school, college, the service, etc." Some answer right off and tell their definite plans and projects, highly approved by Papa. I'm pleased for them* but it's a bit boring, because they are such squares. Quite a few will, with prompting, come out with astounding stereotyped, conceited fantasies, such as becoming a movie actor when they are "discovered" "like Marlon Brando, but in my own way." Very rarely somebody will, maybe defiantly and defensively, maybe diffidently but proudly, make you know that he knows very well what he is going to do; it is something great; and he is indeed already doing it, which is the real test. The usual answer, perhaps the normal answer, is "I don't know," meaning, "I'm looking; I haven't found the right thing; it's discouraging but not hopeless." But the terrible answer is, "Nothing." The young man doesn't want to do anything. I remember talking to half a dozen young fellows at Van Wagner's Beach outside of Hamilton, Ontario; and all of them had this one thing to say: "Nothing." They didn't believe that what to work at was the kind of thing one wanted. They rather expected that two or three of them would work for the electric company in town, but they couldn't care less, I turned away from the conversation abruptly because of the uncontrollable burning tears in my eyes and constriction in my chest. Not feeling sorry for them, but tears of frank dismay for the waste of our humanity (they were nice kids). And it is out of that incident that many years later I am writing this book.
But nothing in my previous work had prepared me for the experience of reinvestigating Cleveland. It is worth — given the passage of time — recalling the basic architecture of the Crisis: 121 children from many different and largely unrelated families had been taken into the care of Cleveland County Council in the three short months of the summer of 1987. (p18)The key to resolving the puzzle of Cleveland was the children. What had actually happened to them? Had they been abused - or had the paediatricians and social workers (as public opinion held) been over-zealous and plain wrong? Curiously — particularly given its high profile, year-long sittings and £5 million cost — this was the one central issue never addressed by the Butler-Sloss judicial testimony and sifting of internal evidence, the inquiry's remit did not require it to answer the main question. Ten years after the crisis, my colleagues and I set about reconstructing the records of the 121 children at its heart to determine exactly what had happened to them... (p19)Eventually, though, we did assemble the data given to the Butler-Sloss Inquiry. This divided into two categories: the confidential material, presented in camera, and the transcripts of public sessions of the hearings. Putting the two together we assembled our own database on the children each identified only by the code-letters assigned to them by Butler-Sloss. When it was finished, this database told a startlingly different story from the public myth. In every case there was some prima fade evidence to suggest the possibility of abuse. Far from the media fiction of parents taking their children to Middlesbrough General Hospital for a tummy ache or a sore thumb and suddenly being presented with a diagnosis of child sexual abuse, the true story was of families known to social services for months or years, histories of physical and sexual abuse of siblings and of prior discussions with parents about these concerns. In several of the cases the children themselves had made detailed disclosures of abuse; many of the pre-verbal children displayed severe emotional or behavioural symptoms consistent with sexual abuse. There were even some families in which a convicted sex offender had moved in with mother and children. (p20)
It is worth — given the passage of time — recalling the basic architecture of the Crisis: 121 children from many different and largely unrelated families had been taken into the care of Cleveland County Council in the three short months of the summer of 1987. Behind these headline statistics were decades of neglect and/or misunderstanding of the issue of child sexual abuse, a long-running dispute between police and paediatricians over who should have primacy in the investigation of such cases and the presence of two dedicated paediatricians at Middlesbrough General Hospital. Dr Marietta Higgs and Dr Geoffrey Wyatt had both understanding of, and training in, recognising the physical signs that a child’s body had been abused. One of these signs was — and still is reflex anal dilatation (RAD): a simple clue which is suggestive of anal penetration from outside. It had been recognised as a valuable weapon in the armoury of doctors examining children for many decades and was endorsed by both the British Medical Association and the Association of Police Surgeons. Yet by July 1987, the paediatricians were at the centre of a national storm of outrage — denounced by politicians, press, television and public opinion. The parents of the 121 children taken into care were lionised for their courage or portrayed as the victims of a monstrous witch-hunt. Their voices — sometimes their faces — dominated newsstands and television bulletins. When the courts seemed to be returning all their children to them, the nation seemed to breathe a sigh of relief, while simultaneously demanding the scalps of the paediatricians and social workers. (p18)In every case there was some prima fade evidence to suggest the possibility of abuse. Far from the media fiction of parents taking their children to Middlesbrough General Hospital for a tummy ache or a sore thumb and suddenly being presented with a diagnosis of child sexual abuse, the true story was of families known to social services for months or years, histories of physical and sexual abuse of siblings and of prior discussions with parents about these concerns. In several of the cases the children themselves had made detailed disclosures of abuse; many of the pre-verbal children displayed severe emotional or behavioural symptoms consistent with sexual abuse. There were even some families in which a convicted sex offender had moved in with mother and children. All of this information had been presented to the Butler-Sloss Inquiry. Virtually none of it had emerged from that inquiry into the public arena and certainly not into the vitriolic media coverage of Cleveland. To my colleagues and me this seemed initially impossible to comprehend: how could this have happened? How could truth have been turned on its head so completely? And why, given the apparent strength of the evidence, did the courts come to close their minds to these children's cases? (p20)
He knew very well that the great majority of human conversation is meaningless. A man can get through most of his days on stock answers to stock questions, he thought. Once he catches onto the game, he can manage with an assortment of grunts. This would not be so if people listened to each other, but they don't. They know that no one is going to say anything moving and important to them at that very moment. Anything important will be announced in the newspapers and reprinted for those who missed it. No one really wants to know how his neighbor is feeling, but he asks him anyway, because it is polite, and because he knows that his neighbor certainly will not tell him how he feels. What this woman and I say to each other is not important. It is the simple making of sounds that pleases us.
Slowly, even though I thought it would never happen, New York lost its charm for me. I remember arriving in the city for the first time, passing with my parents through the First World's Club bouncers at Immigration, getting into a massive cab that didn't have a moment to waste, and falling in love as soon as we shot onto the bridge and I saw Manhattan rise up through the looks of parental terror reflected in the window. I lost my virginity in New York, twice (the second one wanted to believe he was the first so badly). I had my mind blown open by the combination of a liberal arts education and a drug-popping international crowd. I became tough. I had fun. I learned so much.But now New York was starting to feel empty, a great party that had gone on too long and was showing no sign of ending soon. I had a headache, and I was tired. I'd danced enough. I wanted a quiet conversation with someone who knew what load-shedding was.
I am here because I worked too hard and too long not to be here. But although I told the university that I would walk across the stage to take my diploma, I won’t. At age fifty-seven, I’m too damned old, and I’d look ridiculous in this crowd. From where I’m standing in the back of the hall, I can see that I am at least two decades older than most of the parents of these kids in their black caps and gowns. So I’ll graduate with this class, but I won’t walk across the stage and collect my diploma with them; I’ll have the school send it to my house. I only want to hear my name called. I’ll imagine what the rest would have been like. When you’ve had a life like mine, you learn to do that, to imagine the good things. The ceremony is about to begin. It’s a warm June day and a hallway of glass doors leading to the parking lot are open, the dignitaries march onto the stage, a janitor slams the doors shut, one after the other. That banging sound. It’s Christmas Day 1961 and three Waterbury cops are throwing their bulk against our sorely overmatched front door. They are wearing their long woolen blue coats and white gloves and they swear at the cold. They’ve finally come for us, in the dead of night, to take us away, just as our mother said they would.
Lies, so often misleading and which form the substance of all conversations, are less effective in covering up a feeling of dislike or of self-interest, or a visit one would rather people did not know about, or a one-day fling one wants to conceal from one's wife - than a good reputation is in utterly overshadowing disreputable habits.
When it comes to generating writing material, teenagers are gold. Their world is a narcissistic, anarchic, paranoid hell of anxieties and stresses about how they look; how popular they are or aren’t; and how fast or slowly, big or small their private parts are growing. As an observer, it’s fantastic. Hilarious, at times. Poignant and heartbreaking. It is all the stuff of great human drama because, before your eyes, you get to witness character transformation. Boy grows into man. Girl grows into woman. Writers strain to make this shit up.But – and here’s the catch – we dare not discuss any of this if we want our kids to trust us or ever talk to us again. And that’s because, lifts and pocket money aside, teenagers crave privacy – the need for which hatches both swiftly and silently while we’re sorting out the laundry. It’s as if they suddenly wake up one day creeped out by the thought of all those years we wiped their butts and helped them put on their undies and they go into lock- down. They smoke us out, put up walls, close their doors, shut down their stories, and waft, earphoned, through our homes in a shroud of hormones and appetite. Their lives – in which, until recently, we participated with Too Much Information and gross oversharing – suddenly become ‘none of our business.
I could tell he wanted the best for me. Of course, he assumed that would be getting out. Everyone always thought that, not of what we had to go back to, at home. Maybe our parents had thrown away our mattresses. Maybe they'd told our siblings we'd been run over by trains, to make our absence fonder.Not everyone had a parent. It could be that nothing was waiting for us. Our keys would no longer fit the locks. We'd resort to ringing the bell, saying we've come home, can't we come in?The eye in the peephole would show itself, and that eye could belong to a stranger, as our family had moved halfway across the country and never informed us. Or that eye could belong to the woman who carried us for nine months, who labored for fourteen hours, who was sliced open with a C-section to give us life, and now wished she never did.The juvenile correctional system could let us out into the world, but it could not control who would be out there, willing to claim us.
Had I catalogued the downsides of parenthood, "son might turn out to be a killer" would never have turned up on the list. Rather, it might have looked something like this:1. Hassle.2. Less time just the two of us. (Try no time just the two of us.)3. Other people. (PTA meetings. Ballet teachers. The kid's insufferable friends and their insufferable parents.)4. Turing into a cow. (I was slight, and preferred to stay that way. My sister-in-law had developed bulging varicose veins in her legs during pregnancy that never retreated, and the prospect of calves branched in blue tree roots mortified me more than I could say. So I didn't say. I am vain, or once was, and one of my vanities was to feign that I was not.)5. Unnatural altruism: being forced to make decisions in accordance with what was best for someone else. (I'm a pig.)6. Curtailment of my traveling. (Note curtailment. Not conclusion.)7. Dementing boredom. (I found small children brutally dull. I did, even at the outset, admit this to myself.)8. Worthless social life. (I had never had a decent conversation with a friend's five-year-old in the room.)9. Social demotion. (I was a respected entrepreneur. Once I had a toddler in tow, every man I knew--every woman, too, which is depressing--would take me less seriously.)10. Paying the piper. (Parenthood repays a debt. But who wants to pay a debt she can escape? Apparently, the childless get away with something sneaky. Besides, what good is repaying a debt to the wrong party? Only the most warped mother would feel rewarded for her trouble by the fact that at last her daughter's life is hideous, too.)
When you're young, no one cares who your parents are, although Mum would arrive to pick me up in her full hair and make-up and fur, and I used to say, 'Can't you just dress normally, like all the other mums?' I wanted her to blend in more, but I've always been really proud of Mum - as proud as she is of me.
We are all poor; but there is a difference between what Mrs. Spark intends by speaking of 'slender means', and what Stevens called our poverty or Sartre our need, besoin. The poet finds his brief, fortuitous concords, it is true: not merely 'what will suffice,' but 'the freshness of transformation,' the 'reality of decreation,' the 'gaiety of language.' The novelist accepts need, the difficulty of relating one's fictions to what one knows about the nature of reality, as his donnée.It is because no one has said more about this situation, or given such an idea of its complexity, that I want to devote most of this talk to Sartre and the most relevant of his novels, La Nausée. As things go now it isn't of course very modern; Robbe-Grillet treats it with amused reverence as a valuable antique. But it will still serve for my purposes. This book is doubtless very well known to you; I can't undertake to tell you much about it, especially as it has often been regarded as standing in an unusually close relation to a body of philosophy which I am incompetent to expound. Perhaps you will be charitable if I explain that I shall be using it and other works of Sartre merely as examples. What I have to do is simply to show that La Nausée represents, in the work of one extremely important and representative figure, a kind of crisis in the relation between fiction and reality, the tension or dissonance between paradigmatic form and contingent reality. That the mood of Sartre has sometimes been appropriate to the modern demythologized apocalypse is something I shall take for granted; his is a philosophy of crisis, but his world has no beginning and no end. The absurd dishonesty of all prefabricated patterns is cardinal to his beliefs; to cover reality over with eidetic images--illusions persisting from past acts of perception, as some abnormal children 'see' the page or object that is no longer before them --to do this is to sink into mauvaise foi. This expression covers all comfortable denials of the undeniable--freedom --by myths of necessity, nature, or things as they are. Are all the paradigms of fiction eidetic? Is the unavoidable, insidious, comfortable enemy of all novelists mauvaise foi?Sartre has recently, in his first instalment of autobiography, talked with extraordinary vivacity about the roleplaying of his youth, of the falsities imposed upon him by the fictive power of words. At the beginning of the Great War he began a novel about a French private who captured the Kaiser, defeated him in single combat, and so ended the war and recovered Alsace. But everything went wrong. The Kaiser, hissed by the poilus, no match for the superbly fit Private Perrin, spat upon and insulted, became 'somehow heroic.' Worse still, the peace, which should instantly have followed in the real world if this fiction had a genuine correspondence with reality, failed to occur. 'I very nearly renounced literature,' says Sartre. Roquentin, in a subtler but basically similar situation, has the same reaction. Later Sartre would find again that the hero, however assiduously you use the pitchfork, will recur, and that gaps, less gross perhaps, between fiction and reality will open in the most close-knit pattern of words. Again, the young Sartre would sometimes, when most identified with his friends at the lycée, feel himself to be 'freed at last from the sin of existing'--this is also an expression of Roquentin's, but Roquentin says it feels like being a character in a novel.How can novels, by telling lies, convert existence into being? We see Roquentin waver between the horror of contingency and the fiction of aventures. In Les Mots Sartre very engagingly tells us that he was Roquentin, certainly, but that he was Sartre also, 'the elect, the chronicler of hells' to whom the whole novel of which he now speaks so derisively was a sort of aventure, though what was represented within it was 'the unjustified, brackish existence of my fellow-creatures.
Treating Abuse Today 3(4) pp. 26-33TAT: I see the agenda. But let's go back: one of the contentions the therapeutic community has about the Foundation's professed scientific credibility is your use of the term "syndrome." It seems to us that what's happening here is that based solely on anecdotal, unverified reports, the Foundation has started a public relations campaign rather than a bonafide research effort and simply announced to the world that an epidemic of this syndrome exists. The established scientific and clinical organizations are taking you on about this and it's that kind of thing that makes us feel like this effort is not really based on science. Do you have a response to that?Freyd: The response I would make regarding the name of the Foundation is that it will certainly be one of the issues brought up during our scientific meeting this weekend. But let me add that the term, "syndrome," in terms of it being a psychological syndrome, parallels, say, the rape trauma syndrome. Given that and the fact that there are seldom complaints over the use of the term "syndrome" for that, I think that it isn't "syndrome" that's bothering people as much as the term "false."TAT: No. Frankly it's not. It is the term "syndrome." The term false memory is almost 100 years old. It's nothing new, but false memory syndrome is newly coined. Here's our issue with your use of the word "syndrome." The rape trauma syndrome is a good example because it has a very well defined list of signs and symptoms. Having read your literature, we are still at a loss to know what the signs and symptoms of "false memory syndrome" are. Can you tell us succinctly?Freyd: The person with whom I would like to have you discuss that to quote is Dr. Paul McHugh on our advisory board, because he is a clinician.TAT: I would be happy to do that. But if I may, let me take you on a little bit further about this.Freyd: Sure, sure that's fair.TAT: You're the Executive Director of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation - a foundation that says it wants to disseminate scientific information to the community regarding this syndrome but you can't, or won't, give me its signs and symptoms. That is confusing to me. I don't understand why there isn't a list.
When you break something, is your first impulse to throw it away? Or do you repair it but feel a sadness because it is no longer "perfect"? Whatever the case, you might want to consider the way the Japanese treated the items used in their tea ceremony. Even though they were made from the simplest materials... these teacups and bowls were revered for their plain lines and spiritual qualities. There were treated with the utmost care, integrity and respect.For this reason, a cup from the tea ceremony was almost never broken. When an accident did occur and a cup was broken, there were certain instances in which the cup was repaired with gold. Rather than trying to restore it in a what they would cover the gace that it ahad been broken, the cracks were celebrated in a bold and spirited way. The thin paths of shining gold completely encircled the ceramic cup, announcing to the world that the cup was broken and repaired and vulnerable to change.And in this way, its value was even further enhanced.
I see things in windows and I say to myself that I want them. I want them because I want to belong. I want to be liked by more people, I want to be held in higher regard than others. I want to feel valued, so I say to myself to watch certain shows. I watch certain shows on the television so I can participate in dialogues and conversations and debates with people who want the same things I want. I want to dress a certain way so certain groups of people are forced to be attracted to me. I want to do my hair a certain way with certain styling products and particular combs and methods so that I can fit in with the In-Crowd. I want to spend hours upon hours at the gym, stuffing my body with what scientists are calling 'superfoods', so that I can be loved and envied by everyone around me. I want to become an icon on someone's mantle. I want to work meaningless jobs so that I can fill my wallet and parentally-advised bank accounts with monetary potential. I want to believe what's on the news so that I can feel normal along with the rest of forever. I want to listen to the Top Ten on Q102, and roll my windows down so others can hear it and see that I am listening to it, and enjoying it. I want to go to church every Sunday, and pray every other day. I want to believe that what I do is for the promise of a peaceful afterlife. I want rewards for my 'good' deeds. I want acknowledgment and praise. And I want people to know that I put out that fire. I want people to know that I support the war effort. I want people to know that I volunteer to save lives. I want to be seen and heard and pointed at with love. I want to read my name in the history books during a future full of clones exactly like me. The mirror, I've noticed, is almost always positioned above the sink. Though the sink offers more depth than a mirror, and mirror is only able to reflect, the sink is held in lower regard. Lower still is the toilet, and thought it offers even more depth than the sink, we piss and shit in it. I want these kind of architectural details to be paralleled in my every day life. I want to care more about my reflection, and less about my cleanliness. I want to be seen as someone who lives externally, and never internally, unless I am able to lock the door behind me. I want these things, because if I didn't, I would be dead in the mirrors of those around me. I would be nothing. I would be an example. Sunken, and easily washed away.
What does it mean to care? Let me start by saying that the word care has become a very ambivalent word. When someone says: 'I will take care of him!' it is more likely an announcement of an impending attack than of a tender compassion. And besides this ambivalence, the word is most often used in a negative way. 'Do you want coffee or tea?' 'I don't care.' 'Do you want to stay home or go to a movie?' 'I don't care.' 'Do you want to walk or go by car?' 'I don't care.' This expression of indifference toward choices in life has become commonplace. And often it seems that not to care has become more acceptable than to care, and a carefree life-style more attractive than a careful one.
When we began researching the film on behalf of Channel 4, which had commissioned and paid for it, the response from individual child protection workers inside and outside Cleveland was universally positive. Everyone we met wanted what they saw as the true (and hidden) story of Cleveland to be told at last: the story of how very young children - many of them pre-verbal - had been abused, first sexually by an adult, then systemically by courts and lawyers who returned them to abusive families. Each of these workers had knowledge of individual children from the crisis. Some were still working in the Middlesbrough area. Yet none had any contact with the families, none had been allowed to retain documentation and none knew of any official child protection agency that had tracked what happened to the children after the three fraught summer months of 1987.The key to resolving the puzzle of Cleveland was the children. What had actually happened to them? Had they been abused - or had the paediatricians and social workers (as public opinion held) been over-zealous and plain wrong? Curiously — particularly given its high profile, year-long sittings and £5 million cost — this was the one central issue never addressed by the Butler-Sloss judicial testimony and sifting of internal evidence, the inquiry's remit did not require it to answer the main question. Ten years after the crisis, my colleagues and I set about reconstructing the records of the 121 children at its heart to determine exactly what had happened to them.(p19)In the film we dealt with several of these cases. One case concerned one of the first families to be ‘reunited’ — the word, the very loaded word, used by all newspapers and television covering the case — with their children. Yet the social services file not apparently considered by the courts — makes very uncomfortable reading. It shows that the family — mother, father and three children — had been known to social services for some time prior to the 1987 crisis. • All three children were said to have behavioural problems - including an incident in which they dug up the floorboards and set fire to the family home. • They were listed as having an alarming number of bruises and scars on their young bodies. • All were seriously underweight. • They had contact with a close family relation who was recorded as having abused other children as an adolescent. • One of the children had drawn a picture for a National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) officer working with him — a picture of an adult man apparently buggering a boy. • At least one of the three children had expressed extreme reluctance to return home. This information and the risk to those children it implies was never properly tested in court. Faced with the juggernaut of press reporting and public opinion, the protection of children took a back seat. (p21)
What are you so angry about?" my mother had asked me the last time I had gone home to visit.Why aren't you more angry, I had wanted to ask her. But I couldn't talk to my mother that way. She understood that I did not want to live her life, to work as a waitress, until my toes curled in and my feet hurt all the time, to marry a man who would beat my children and treat me as if I had no right to object to object to anything he chose to do. She didn't want that life for me either. She wanted me happy and successful, to live unafraid among people who loved me, and to do things she had never been able to do and tell her all about them.So I told her, about the shelter, the magazine, readings and discussion groups. I told her about trying to write stories, though I hesitated to send send her all that I wrote. And there were far too many times when I would sit down to write my mama and stare at the paper unable to puzzle out how to explain how urgent and unimportant it was to change how women's lives were shaped. Not only that we should be paid equal money for equally difficult work, but that we should genuinely begin to think about what word we might choose to undertake, how we might live our daily lives. Why should I have to marry at all? Or explain myself if I chose to love a woman? Why could I not spend my hours writing stories instead of raising children or keeping house or working some deadly boring job just to cover the rent of an apartments where I was not safe anyway.
What parents said they valued most were discussions with teachers and heads, and what they wanted was more descriptive information in their children's school reports. This is particularly true for primary schools. Parents wanted to know much more than just how their children were doing academically.
Miss Mapp moved towards the screen."What a delicious big screen," she said."Yes, but don't go behind it, Mapp," said Irene, "or you'll see my model undressing."Miss Mapp retreated from it precipitately, as from a wasp's nest, and examined some of the studies on the wall, for it was more than probable from the unfinished picture on the easel that Adam lurked behind the delicious screen. Terrible though it all was, she was conscious of an unbridled curiosity to know who Adam was. It was dreadful to think that there could be any man in Tilling so depraved as to stand to be looked at with so little on...Irene strolled round the walls with her."Studies of Lucy," she said."I see, dear," said Miss Mapp. "How clever! Legs and things! But when you have your bridge-party, won't you perhaps cover some of them up, or turn them to the wall? We should all be looking at your pictures instead of attending to our cards. And if you were thinking of asking the Padre, you know..."They were approaching the corner of the room where the screen stood, when a movement there as if Adam had hit it with his elbow made Miss Mapp turn round. The screen fell flat on the ground and within a yard of her stood Mr. Hopkins, the proprietor of the fish-shop just up the street. Often and often had Miss Mapp had pleasant little conversations with him, with a view to bringing down the price of flounders. He had little bathing-drawers on..."Hullo, Hopkins, are you ready," said Irene. "You know Miss Mapp, don't you?"Miss Mapp had not imagined that Time and Eternity combined could hold so embarrassing a moment. She did not know where to look, but wherever she looked, it should not be at Hopkins. But (wherever she looked) she could not be unaware that Hopkins raised his large bare arm and touched the place where his cap would have been, if he had had one."Good morning, Hopkins," she said. "Well, Irene darling, I must be trotting, and leave you to your--" she hardly knew what to call it--"to your work."She tripped from the room, which seemed to be entirely full of unclothed limbs, and redder than one of Mr. Hopkins's boiled lobsters hurried down the street. She felt that she could never face him again, but would be obliged to go to the establishment in the High Street where Irene dealt, when it was fish she wanted from a fish-shop... Her head was in a whirl at the brazenness of mankind, especially womankind. How had Irene started the overtures that led to this? Had she just said to Hopkins one morning: "Will you come to my studio and take off all your clothes?" If Irene had not been such a wonderful mimic, she would certainly have felt it her duty to go straight to the Padre, and, pulling down her veil, confide to him the whole sad story. But as that was out of the question, she went into Twemlow's and ordered four pounds of dried apricots.
Father had stretched out his long legs and was tilting back in his chair. Mother sat with her knees crossed, in blue slacks, smoking a Chesterfield. The dessert dishes were still on the table. My sisters were nowhere in evidence. It was a warm evening; the big dining-room windows gave onto blooming rhododendrons. Mother regarded me warmly. She gave me to understand that she was glad I had found what I had been looking for, but that she and father were happy to sit with their coffee, and would not be coming down. She did not say, but I understood at once, that they had their pursuits (coffee?) and I had mine. She did not say, but I began to understand then, that you do what you do out of your private passion for the thing itself. I had essentially been handed my own life. In subsequent years my parents would praise my drawings and poems, and supply me with books, art supplies, and sports equipment, and listen to my troubles and enthusiasms, and supervise my hours, and discuss and inform, but they would not get involved with my detective work, nor hear about my reading, nor inquire about my homework or term papers or exams, nor visit the salamanders I caught, nor listen to me play the piano, nor attend my field hockey games, nor fuss over my insect collection with me, or my poetry collection or stamp collection or rock collection. My days and nights were my own to plan and fill.
But if you will not take this Counsel, and persist in thinking a Commerce with the Sex inevitable, then I repeat my former Advice, that in all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones. You call this a Paradox, and demand my Reasons. They are these:1. Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stor'd with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreable.2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do a 1000 Services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old Woman who is not a good Woman.3. Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produc'd may be attended with much Inconvenience.4. Because thro' more Experience, they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather inclin'd to excuse an old Woman who would kindly take care of a young Man, form his Manners by her good Counsels, and prevent his ruining his Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding2 only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.6. Because the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her for Life unhappy.7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy.8thly and Lastly They are so grateful!!Thus much for my Paradox. But still I advise you to marry directly; being sincerely Your affectionate Friend.
In all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones. You call this a Paradox, and demand my Reasons. They are these:1. Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stor’d with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreable.2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do a 1000 Services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old Woman who is not a good Woman.3. Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produc’d may be attended with much Inconvenience.4. Because thro’ more Experience, they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather inclin’d to excuse an old Woman who would kindly take care of a young Man, form his Manners by her good Counsels, and prevent his ruining his Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.6. Because the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her for Life unhappy.7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy.8thly and Lastly They are so grateful!!