Friday, July 01, 2005

From 'My Women: Learning How to Love Them' by Edmund White, in New Yorker

Unhappy women! How many of them I've known. Sniffling or drinking with big reproachful eyes, silent or complaining, violent or depressed--a whole tribe of unhappy women have always surrounded me. An anorexic fashion model I met while I was still in college would sob in the hallway outside my apartment door all night long. An Italian woman my age fell in love with me in 1970, the year I lived in Rome, and she suffered so much that she tried to run me down with her car. For most of my life I've been a shoulder to cry on, and all of that time I've wished I could do more to ease the pain of the women in my life. If I were straight, I could have married one of them....

For years and years I dated women, trying to go straight. My various shrinks would monitor my "progress" in becoming "intimate" or "mature" or fully "genital" (as opposed to "oral aggressive," where my development had, as I recall, been "arrested"). Oddly enough, most of the women I was drawn to weren't middle-class Midwestern sufferers like my mother. My women were foreigners or bohemians or artists--and even back then, in the fifties and sixties, they were strong and independent.


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