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What's Wrong with Nice Guys?

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A brief summary of ancient history (1974-1980)

Browsing the net and reading American periodicals can be a deeply nostalgic experience to old hands on the bitch farm. Especially us Scandinavians....

A recent article in the New York Times cast my mind back to finishing high school and my university years, back through the seventies - just after the last dinosaur died.

The article was about music and fashion revivals, but that's really beside the point. It made me think of the years that turned me into a Heartless Bitch with a wry chuckle.

They were trying formative years, but they were good for your sense of humour if you had some strength and mental staying power.

Imagine this, if you can: Women were guaranteed equal pay for equal jobs in 1972, which was the year we joined the EEC. Big deal. I was more occupied with surviving junior high. Then "The Movement" really got off the ground, good and very necessary.


Self-help groups. Great. Every woman went to one, if you liked the others, you came back, and when the initial whining phase was over, we were supportive of one another.

So far, so good.

Then feminists were linked to the budding environmental movement, and things started getting complex. By then I'd moved to university and into a dorm where everyone cooked and ate together. Suddenly, preparing an evening meal became a major problem!

  • If you ate meat, you were a murderer.
  • Fish wasn't quite the same, but the sea was so polluted you shouldn't really eat them.
  • Vegetables had to be biodynamic (organic), and only what was in season. Good idea, but Northern winters are depressing veggie-wise. You're limited to cabbage, carrots, leeks and kale.
  • Coffee - now here was the true imperialist at work! It had to be from alternative communes in Nicaragua at three times the price of good Mocca, and on a student grant that meant coffee once a week (rather overdo it than bore someone).
In the end everyone ate lentils, leeks, carrots and potatoes 7 days a week. Very healthy, but if you think eating should not just be good for you, it should also be enjoyable, it gets a bit boring (excuse me, "patience-challenging"). The bitch slowly woke up, but she stayed in her corner, observing and giggling.

The next step was the further development of the groups. I still think the debate was bred by the boring diet...

The topic in almost every group, not to mention literature, was mother-daughter and sexual frustration. My bitch came out of her corner the memorable night when I let drop that I had no trouble coming, by myself or with men.

I got the lecture of my life!

The fact that I had no major sexual problem (apart from being hetero) was male-imperialist-unsisterly. I was just a pawn and should feel extremely guilty that I enjoyed my bodily functions when almost nobody else did! I should denounce my mother because she had taught me to be an object. I should develop a nice problem to share with the group instead of......etc.

There and then I became a Heartless Bitch. I realized that what I ate, whom I slept with, what music I enjoyed, where I lived, and what I had gleaned from my upbringing (i.e. common sense and a sense of humour), was all I'd ever need.

Since then I have lived a good, bitchy life, teaching my sons to wash clothes and cook, and my daughter to stand up for herself. Enjoyed carpentry, bike repairs, and rigging ships - but also knitting, good food, and other housewifely pursuits - although my husband is a far better gardener than I.

The rant then comes to the present-day budding bitches. Please be the fly in the ointment! Intolerance gets you/us/them two inches down the road and no further. Don't whine, laugh! A good laugh is the best way of reducing intolerant self-established authorities to human size - always was.

Bear in mind that the Pilgrim Fathers forbade public laughter as the Devil's own music and act accordingly!

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