In reply to my friends posting of this website on FaceBook
I’m going to say someting personal here, sorry but it needs saying.

I remember a conversation with one of my more ardent feminist friends, (Not my friend Judi, though I have repeated it to her…) a gentle person, but very ardent. While my divorce was happening, she used this phrase to me, that
“Boys will be boys”. nevermind that I have been fighting for an equality, wherein I am not accused of being a rapist of a potential paedophile simply because I am a man. Never mind that I have sensitiveity and feelings that have evenutally led me to conclude that I am a “Girl Inside” and increasingly outside too, because that is how I want to live , while still liking women as a sexual preference.

No, for my friend, my behaviour towards my then wife, (a noble and strong woman whom I respect and love still), my disrespect, in my friend’s eyes, towards my wife, was a function of the idea that “Boys will be boys”.

The hardest thing in the world was to talk her out of this. It meant that I had to own my behaviour about what I did and how I come to be where I am now, and what my feelings are about people. It meant that I had to explain carefully that I had not been drunk, or fallen over something, or had any other excuse for my behaviour; there are a lot of reasons for what I did, but let us just say that life is complex and I grew determined that I would not leave my single achillies heel, my beloved girlfriend, behind again. (And you, the reader must give total credit to my ex-wife for understanding this, and for behaving as nobly and patiently as anyone could ever expect. Obviously there are more complexities than this, but they are not for you dear reader).

I was appalled that someone could take away my responsibility and my power, a thing which I see being done to women practically daily, (and is equally appalling). I was appalled someone who had stood up for the rights of women, for equal rights and respect, for respect for the JOB of wiving, (I have claimed often that in the past I have been a housewife, because I have wanted people to see it as something that deserves respect and support. I stayed at home with my boys for the first five years, I have been a mother as well as a father), and take it away in the name of EXCUSING me. I need no excusing. If I am excused, then I am no better than that little boy. If I need excusing by women, other women as I increasingly think of it now, if as a man I need excusing, and I can be let off because I can’t help it, then yes, ladies, you really do treat men as children, and they are not in the end responsible for their own behaviour, we can’t be blamed if a fancy bit of skirt comes along, and we husbands are really another child as you so often minimise us as being.

Get this. Understand it. My most ardent feminist, strong minded friends have in the past categorised me as my wife’s “third child”. What a derogation of all my experinces! My parenting! My life as an adult, reduced in sentence to “How are your three boys?”

No wonder then that in my struggle to be grown up, I am rejecting the male within, and I shall probably continue to do so.

I will say this though, I have taught my boys to be Men. For us, Men talk about emotions, like babies, can talk about sex with respect and sensitivity, can embrace the feminine, have the highest respect for women and themselves as men. We enjoy the voluptuary and visual without wishing to coerce or diminish. We are flippant and caring, we are strong and sensitive.

But most of all, a man, like a woman, takes responsibility for his actions, and faces up to them, accepting reasons but not excuses, acquiring if possible understanding through talk and action. And we are not children, we are Men, and Women. Don’t diminish us by classing us as children.

It is my fault I’m divorced, not because “boys will be boys”, but because I foillowed a part of my heart. I did not ask permission, i did not consult, but I was determined and bloody-minded.  Eventually my patient and noble and strong wife decided that I was not at home and asked me to leave. That is my doing, I need no excuse. Don’t diminish me by making me a child, don’t diminish her suffering, and she has suffered, because she loved me devoutly and completely, by saying “Boys will be boys”.

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