Unloving you

I know there is no emoji for Unlove. Maybe one is supposed to click repeatedly on Love till it goes sour & blue like Roquefort cheese? In any case, Unlove would be an emoji that women would use more often than men, since women seem to fall out of love faster’n men fall in love.

I’m waiting for the trolling.

And still I shall dare to claim that men are sensitive creatures.

May I continue? Have you stopped laughing? As I know you will, because this is a serious matter. Back in 1968 Tom Jones sang a song by the title of Delilah and the world went gaga. The song was about a crime passionnel, a crime of passion. A man kills a woman in a fit of jealousy – how that is any less deplorable than honour killing, I shall never know. As regards the song, I find the text too chilling for me to quote from it at any length, just google it and you’ll get the case history. She is spending the night with a lover while he watches the ‘flickering shadow of love’ on her blind from the street outside. The lover leaves at dawn and our Samson agonistes – which has nothing to do with agony, by the way, but simply means “a contestant in the public games” – well, this particular contestant goes and puts an end to the whole shindig with his knife.

Well, that’s how ‘sensitive’ men can/could be, since the stone age, to be exact, or from the stone age till today, or till last Tuesday, to be even more exact, when a 27 year old man went into a haircutting saloon in Düren, Germany, and shot his wife in the head before putting the nozzle to his own temple and blowing his brains out. The wife survived, thank God.

Had the wife pressed the Unlove button? Had she simply told him, “I don’t love you any more”? No, apparently the Samson in the song didn’t have a clue until he was walking past Delilah’s window – just out for a stroll and not stalking, mind you – when he saw the infernal light. So Delilah was being unfaithful and had been caught in flagrante delicto, as they say. But I very much doubt this version of the events – as related by Samson – because Kasia, who is a psychotherapist, once told me that women usually start looking for a new partner after they’ve left the old one, whereas men leave their old partner because they’ve found a new one. And the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ take on a very different hue in the case of men when we consider the male predilection for women half their age.

Kasia doubts, in short, the whole ‘happening to walk past her window’ business and maintains that Delilah had already jilted Samson, which is why he was stalking Delilah, as simple as that. That is when I tried to tell Kasia about male sensitivity, making her laugh till the tears came, as the Germans say. The Germans – the men – also drink till the doctor comes, but that is neither here nor there. Whereas it is not often that I can make Kasia laugh, or cry, let alone both at the same time, so we’ll let it stand at that – but the point is that we men do not have an Unlove button, as I was trying to tell Kasia, God or Mark Zuckerberg having forgotten to give us one. We do not have too many emojis either. Like dogs, we have to express all our sentiments by growling, or barking, or whining, or snarling, or wagging our tail – have I left out anything? Oh, and we cannot sweat, that is why we pant, which women often mistake for passion.

Kasia, like all women, has around a thousand emojis to talk to her husband (that’s me!) without saying one word. The ultimate emoji is the woman’s face, I declare. It’s like a logogram, as with chinese or japanese characters – and about as readable to us men. It’s not just that women make faces about as numerous as Han characters, what they say – the audible emojis – may have a completely different meaning depending on the tone. It’s like Kasia saying, “Yes, yes, you are right”, which means that I am wrong.

Otherwise ask any zoo keeper. Are lions sensitive? Are tigers sensitive? All large and dangerous animals, animals who can hurt you if rubbed the wrong way – are they sensitive? They are short-tempered – apart from being short-sighted – and irascible and unpredictable. But are they sensitive? I claim that they are and the best proof of it is the missing Unlove button – or even the double click on the Love button? Must try that one out.

All in all, women remember their old loves, men never forget them. Men cannot unlove. They carry their old flames in the dark dungeons of their heart till their dying day: the girl who used to walk barefoot from room to room with the grace of a kathak dancer (which she was learning); the girl who used to walk up to the crowded bus stop like Cleopatra looking for Mark Antony among the camel drivers at the Cheops pyramid while Caesar lay cold and lifeless in his Temple at the Forum in Rome – otherwise there might have been another crime passionnel! And then the girl ogled steadfastly from afar for a whole undergraduate year who carries the blush, together with the ogler, to this day; lastly, the girl who used to wait for the worst kind of verbiage – I’m talking about the love letters of an ongoing novelist or what my mother used to call my ‘epistolary literature’ – in any case, ‘she’ used to wait for them as if for rain. It’s that waiting emoji that has survived. The letters have gone where they should.

And does Kasia mind? Not in the least. She is not jealous of all those ‘foreign’ princesses and queens who held sway before her reign. It’s hardly a kingdom, more of a duchy, I’d say – but nothing is grander for a woman than to hold sway over a man’s heart, which is like the Vatican filled with not just two popes but any number of popes and all of them women.

There is no Unsex button for the man either, it seems, otherwise why should W. Somerset Maugham write in his autobiography “The Summing Up” (1938) that sex was about the best thing he had experienced in his earthly existence (not his exact words)? He was 64. Gabriel García Márquez wrote his “Memories of My Melancholy Whores” (2004) when he was 77. The story? A 90 year old journalist seeks sex from a young prostitute who’s selling her virginity to help her family. In any case, the nonegenarian finds not sex but love. Sensitive, eh? Sensible, too. See, men don’t think of anything but –

Love, what else? Even when they are ninety.

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