Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A man who gets women

So I'm reading In Praise of Older Women (why was I attracted to this book, I wonder?)

I found it in the WH Smith's in Stratford, which has suddenly started stocking Penguin reissues of books that are desirable and interesting that you might actually want to read, not just the Dan Browns, the chick lits and the celebrity chefs. I don't know whose idea this was, it's very good but also ruinous.

This was written by Stephen Vizinczey in the sixties, he's one of those sickening foreigners (Hungarian) who picked up English in his 30s and then started writing prose better than any of us natives will ever master.

Some found it scandalous when it came out;
"I have thrown my copy into the wastebasket and I hope Mr Vinzinczey will be murdered before he has a chance to write another book..." said one reviewer. Don't mince your words, tell us what you really think. But I find this baffling, because it's not rude, it's not graphic, it's not porn, it's barely even erotica.

He writes about sex but so openly, and in the context of relationships. Though he starts off a typical desperate young boy, wanting to shag anything that moves, he still learns something from every encounter with a woman. (His central argument is that people nowadays worship youth, but that girls are cruel to boys, and their youth and inexperience make them hard to love, whereas older women are more easy-going and confident in themselves and so make better lovers.) He seems to really, genuinely like women. He gets them. It's one of those books that you keep wanting to quote from, but I'll confine myself to this one - it may not sound so revolutionary now, but he was writing this in the mid sixties...

"... this enthusiasm had a great deal to do with my later luck with women. And although I hope this memoir will be instructive, I have to confess that it won't make women more attracted to you than you are to them. If deep down you hate them, if you dream of humiliating them, if you enjoy ordering them around, then you are likely to be paid back in kind. They will want and love you just as much as you want and love them - and praise be to their generosity."

1 comment:

  1. He has a blog too! Right here on Blogger. Aw, it makes me like him even more