Our eponymous correspondent in need of care and protection
Ingenious it may be but, if you look at it dispassionately, the human body resembles a hastily evolved lash-up. After all, what can you expect in six days! Our upright stance still causes endless problems, from back pains to varicose veins; our eyes, ears and teeth fail us sooner or later. Doesn’t that word look odd with two e’s? I must get this typewriter fixed, or is it my eight fingers and two thumbs giving out?
Our poorly constructed bodies, prone to damp and disease, abound in dangerously, useless relics like the appendix. When it comes to clothing and protecting them from the elements, they are badly formed. Most clothes have to be designed on the awkward shape of the tube and, such are the principles of diameter geometry, that entry is relatively easy, but exit isn’t without the assistance of fasteners, buttons and zips. Latex must owe a lot of its appeal to the fact that it stretches.
Personally, I favour the one piece garment – the jump suit which I first knew as the siren suit. Yes, I am that old. No, I don’t own one made in leather or SBR. Nearest to my design -ideal are my latex suits but they too are very difficult to get in and out of. I don’t really think that that sentence is very well constructed. Normally, I would go back and rewrite that bit but I am trying to save my ageing eyes and fingers when I can. Thanks.
Given that the human frame is a feeble thing and needs all the protection and care it can get, it continues to surprise me why my sex especially wear such inadequate, unsuitable, unshapely garments. The sudden shower – and what a lot of those we have had this summer – reduces, in seconds, any exposed section of the female population to looking like a bowl of trifle that never properly set. Very little material sold these days is even showerproof. Very little is even sufficiently closely woven to keep out a sharp draught. As for the average skirt – it is just a leaky umbrella worn from the waist.
This summer has proved to me that most of the population refuse absolutely to recognise the unsuitability of our climate and our physical limitations for coping with it. We allow ourselves to get wet and cold; rheumatism is the third most popular ailment in the United Kingdom. Until recently we didn’t even build our homes to resist the elements or heat them properly. Until recently, women didn’t even try to protect their feet adequately. Even now, few of them seem to bother.
|In the city calf leather two piece suit with shiny patent boots is smart, durable, warm and very practical. Add a rubberised satin cape (from Reg Douglas) and you have an ensemble that will defeat all the wet weather surprises of our curious climate.|
The only section of the community who benefit from our absurd approach to upholstering the human body is the chemist and the doctor. I would like to include the rag trade but they don’t know any better and only consider clothing that can be made cheaply, easily and needs to be replaced within a year.
These musings of mine are inspired by a recent visit to a large London chain store with a friend who wanted, nay needed, to buy a raincoat. It was a typical English June day with a Force 4 gale driving the rain horizontally along the street. My friend’s umbrella turned out to be more of a summer parasol and her expensive hairdo resembled the thing I use to clean the saucepans.
We enquired, after looking at several rails of light fabric coats, if any were waterproof. We were indignantly directed to the riding clothes department.
Now I know that many readers, like B.T., yearn only to see the ladies protected in off-white riding macs, and protected they certainly are, but they are incredibly heavy and hot to wear. SBR is not very much better. The rubberised satin is excellent but suffers from the defect that it very often has a curious musty and unpleasant smell that permeates the wardrobe for months. It is amazing that our brilliant bio-chemists haven’t solved that one. I fancy a peppermint odour myself.
My friend has bought a coat made in one of the man-made wonder super materials – polypropylene – monosodium-glutamate – or some such. It billows a lot and the seams leak like a badly fitted gutter but it shines and gives an illusion of protection. But it isn’t a raincoat. It has no cowl and the cuffs are so wide that if you lift your hand to attract the attention of a bus driver, a pint of water will shoot straight up your arm.
|In the country: when it really gets wet you must look for all the protection you can get.|
The best material was the shiny jersey-backed vinyl. That went off the market because the makers were never able to promote the marvellous qualities that justified a higher cost compared with the other lightweight, good-looking, but useless plastics.
So what, I ask again, are you men going to do about it? Please may we ladies have something 1) smart, 2) not heavy, 3) waterproof, 4) comfortable. Is it too much to ask? For as I get older and more frail, the more I need careful covering for my antique frame.
Until you come up with something suitable I’ll go on wearing my lovely leather and for wet weather in the country put up with the dull, drab SBR; in town my satin rubber cloak and vinyl capes. My legs and feet are beautifully preserved by my boots, my typing fingers by leather gloves, but the area in between is not getting the right sort of covering. Please give the matter your immediate attention and I await the favour of your esteemed reply.
My personal appraisal of sexual techniques and ‘dressing for pleasure’ in the last issue was the direct result of what is laughingly known as Editorial Pressure, which means they were threatening to cut off supplies of essentials like money unless I complied with their request to present my unexpurgated viewpoint of the whole fascinating subject.
I am not making excuses. I am just stating the fact that I am not normally in the sex counselling/marriage guidance business. I am sufficiently old fashioned and out of date in my vies to believe that sex is, after all, a private arrangement between two people.
On the other hand I am a great believer in sex education and open and frank discussions.
On the other hand I cannot find myself self caring one jot or tittle whatever they might be) if sexual confusion, frustration and misunderstanding continues throughout the Western Hemisphere. I doubt very much if my views are going to make the slightest difference to anyone, male or female, and my considered conclusion is that my column is read not for its educational content – if it ever had any -, but for its value as sexual titillation (what a funny word that is!) or for readers to have a good laugh – the laughter being at me, rather than with me.
Having got all that off my chest I will now attempt to deal with all those readers who thought it worthwhile to boost the post office revenues with a postage stamp to put forward their point of view. My regular critic, D.D., who started the whole thing with his request that I should write ‘frankly about the pleasure part for a change’ was vexed that I did not try to persuade his wife that wearing rubber was completely and solely sexually pleasurable. He even went so far as to accuse me of being a founder member of Womens Lib. Quite the opposite view was taken by Mrs. W.T. Her view was that what I had to say in my column was a major obstruction on the road to women’s freedom. I was, she wrote ‘catering for selfish, dominant male demands’.
I haven’t space to quote Mrs. W.T’s interesting letter in full so perhaps she will forgive my paraphrasing.
Although Mrs. W.T’s husband is a regular reader of Atomage, and interested in both rubber and bondage, Mrs. W.T. claims that they both thought I was completely wrong in assuming that the object of ‘dressing for pleasure’, like that of real sex, is ‘penetration followed by penile thrusting with the final objective of orgasm’.
Until she met her present husband, Mrs. W.T. said all the men she had met considered intercourse as the sexual activity. She explained, ‘I objected to the way men related to parts of my body – seeing everything as a ‘lead-up’ to love-making and intercourse’. She fell in love with Mr. W.T. because his approach was different and his confessed interest in rubber and bondage she found ‘refreshingly different and intriguing’.
Mrs. W.T. went onto say that she was brought up to believe that if a woman expressed an interest in sex, she conveyed her willingness to engage in sexual intercourse, following the dictates of the male. In her view, most women nowadays reject this ‘stupid male attitude’. She may simply desire physical closeness; she may want an open ended exploration; she may wish to express herself sexually but yet have no desires for sexual intercourse.
|With our climate dressing both for pleasure and practical protection is commonsensical if He plans to have you practice His country pursuits.|
I would agree that, generally speaking, men are encouraged by what they see and what they read about sex to embark upon a series of predetermined steps to get the woman ready and eager for penetration. Soft lights, sweet music; the covers turned down. Whether or not this is really satisfying every time – or even just once – is never really discussed and I do agree there is much more to sex than sexual intercourse.
Yet, you have only to look at the pages of Atomage to see that the nature of sexual satisfaction is very complex. It is not just women who can get more pleasure out of actual sexual activities that do not involve penetration. Yet these are the very activities that are frowned upon in polite society.
There is this awful phrase ‘conjugal rights’ with its implication that the husband is entitled to penetration at any time regardless of the wife’s wishes. The headache plea has become a standard male joke. If a woman takes a stand and refuses to relate sexually on the basis of male assumptions this can cause a crisis in a relationship. Such are the social pressures if a man thinks he is not ‘performing’ regularly he becomes tense and there is really very little practical encouragement to discover more about the marriage partnership and our needs, physical and spiritual.
‘Dressing for Pleasure’ should be a means of helping couples to relate to each other sexually, yet more often than not it becomes an obstacle. Being able to dress the man up in a way that excites and stimulates him should be a source of satisfaction for the woman because it gives her greater control over the situation. She finds herself balancing the good relationship, often able to dictate the outcome and there is a joint contribution to the sexually satisfying side of marriage. I would agree that penetration is not necessary every time and both parties can discover mutual satisfaction of a high level if they are able to find out about each other’s needs and each set out to satisfy them at the right time and place.
I don’t think I would want to go as far as Mrs. W.T. who admits that she enjoys the role of a dominatrix, and only accepts penetration at certain times. Mr. W.T. it seems, is ideally happy with this arrangement. He seeks to be dominated and likes to perform exactly to her strict rules, so here each has found and met their private needs. What a marvelous basis for a marriage. Just like Mr. And Mrs. Spratt in the nursery rhyme.
The story of the Spratts and Mr. and Mrs. W.T. shows that the nature and form of every relationship is totally different. When I concluded my article in the last issue by saying that women should respond honestly and lovingly with their body, I was not suggesting that they should take the submissive role in the relationship, but rather that they should find a common ground to allow them to cater for each other’s needs in a way that is satisfying to them both. I would just like to emphasise that point. Indeed, if I had the talent, I would set it to music.
|Super-suitable for town wear is the shiny cape matched with shiny boots.|
I recently talked with another couple who have just such a relationship. This couple discovered after some six years what they described as a rather ‘up and down marriage’ that they related best to each other and achieved complete satisfaction by role playing.
It apparently began with their long interest in amateur dramatics. They discovered that if they carried on at home playing the roles they adopted for the amateur stage, they were able to enjoy an extraordinarily exciting sex life.
Now, when they want to relax, they adopt various characters that they both like. His favourite, it seems, is for her to play the demure nursemaid whilst he plays a lecherous Victorian out to seduce her. One of her favourite characters is from Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre. They are constantly finding new parts and writing dialogue for their ‘seductions’. They tell me they are currently working on a new private play where he plays the part of a building inspector and she is to be herself. ‘We are not sure whether I am to seduce him or he is to seduce me’.
Well, there it is. Marriages are not, after all, made in heaven – or in hell. They are made by two people starting with a curious chemistry that matches them together and they build on that using humour, respect, tolerance and lots of other personality-building bricks.
But I am sure you know that, ladies without my telling you.