Even after all these years, I’m still at times floored by the scale of the place. And it’s always the old reliables that stand out: the silvery arcs of the Chrysler Building, the wide avenues, the filigree of Central Park, that limestone monument to power, the Rockefeller Center. Curiously, the recent trend for tall, slender and glassy housing among money-laundering Russians and Chinese does not mix with the city’s motto of ever bigger and grander. It’s as if the transparency of the glass structure is teasing the authorities about the origins of the owners’ wealth. Come in and take a look, we have nothing to hide.
Last week I sat in Central Park reading the newspapers at a comfortable 70 degrees. The cherry blossoms were out, the sun was shining, and I was enjoying a moment of quiet lyricism when I heard a voice that crackled like a BBC programme being jammed by the Nazis circa 1944. The voice belonged to one half of a couple of Napoleonic stature: two tiny people dressed in 1950s style — fedora for him, a veil for her, and so on. The effect was more shabby than elegant, but it was their voices that singled them out. They were pure Brooklynese circa when Brooklyn still had the Dodgers and youngsters played stickball on every corner. This was the Hebraic working class in retirement, he probably a tailor or a small jewellery shop owner, she definitely a ball-breaker.
I am not an eavesdropper by nature, but this was the best ever. It seems that the gentleman in question had three apartments to his name, but had installed her — obviously his mistress — in a fourth one, whose owner could evict her at a moment’s notice. He was either a widower or had a wife who didn’t want to know. She was up in arms having recently discovered his treachery. Perhaps Damon Runyon or E.B. White could do them justice, but I won’t try to.
Mind you, it was all one-way. All the poor man said was, ‘This is not necessarily so’, while on and on she went in her shrill, ornery but old-fashioned Brooklynese. My only thought was what I’d give to have her abuse and his one-line response on tape. It also brought back memories of times when half of my father’s office employees spoke in that manner.
Yes, folks, the battle of the sexes lives on, especially in Noo Yawk and toirty-toird street. In a way, I’m glad fedora stuck it to the veil, but I also feel sorry for her. She’s probably buried a couple of husbands, hooked up with fedora well into his retirement, was lied to at first about his marital status, only to discover that where he installed her would not be coming to her in the event of his demise — as he had hinted it would. Oy, vey! It was priceless and I could have listened to them for ever, but it wasn’t long before they stalked away, she giving him an earful while he looked out for oncoming traffic. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
Old Joe was what America was like back in the good old days, the strong silent type who rarely talked to women. That was for sissies. Now sissies are at the head of the class. And they’re even changing the language. ‘They’ is now the correct way of addressing someone whose sexuality is not stamped on their forehead, the way mine is, and ‘they’ is the pronoun to use when meeting a person who has rejected the traditional gender binary of ‘he’ or ‘she’.
Yep, gender-neutral construction is what it’s all about nowadays, at least among the very few readers of the NY Times, which is trying to remain relevant by embracing transgenders and pronouncing them mainstream. Otherwise, everything is hunky dory. American women have discovered that men want casual sex more than women. Gee, now they tell us. But in committed relationships, women report wanting sex as often as men do. Gott im Himmel! There are also reports that for some women sex remains much less enjoyable than it is for men. Hold the presses!
More earth-shattering discoveries by American women who look into such things: the acts American girls are engaging in, from oral sex to sexting, tend to be staged for boys’ enjoyment. (I sure like to think so, although I don’t sext.) Many American girls say that after they’ve had sex or administered oral sex to boys, they’ve had little satisfaction and sense that the boys have been in charge. Duhhhhh! American women who research such matters now write that ‘it’s hard for me to consider a penis in my mouth as impersonal’. I imagine so, although I’ve never had one in my mouth. These same women also write that ‘it’s pornography which teaches boys to expect constantly willing, fully waxed girls to imitate all those arched backs and movie-perfect moans’. Well, I don’t watch porn a lot — in fact, almost never — but I do expect an arched back once in a while.
The trouble with modern feminists is that they believe they’ve invented the wheel. Girls have always felt guilty after giving a blowjob, but grateful they didn’t have to go all the way. Alcohol has always played a big part in seduction. Boys have always been more judgmental after sex than girls. That’s because they had an orgasm and the girls didn’t. Next time, just ask Taki.