Sunday, March 8, 2015

One Three Four: Cocktails

If you have time, you might go to a blog at Blogspot called The French Exit and look at an essay called "Some Notes Toward A Theory of Male Jealousy" posted on 6. March 2015.  It's an interesting piece by a thoughtful writer, although I disagree with her conclusions.

She does, by the way, quote me in her article. I'd sent her a message once upon a time during a discussion of male jealousy: Jealousy is the gin; envy is the vermouth. She said that she loved the line but didn't know what it meant: I love that, but what could it mean? Wanting what others have makes their wanting what you have more delicious? No--- not that. My line there is incomplete: Jealousy is the gin; envy is the vermouth. But there's more to it. The complete line is Jealousy is the gin, envy is the vermouth, and depression is the olive in the Cocktail of Bitterness. I believe that holds true for both shaken and stirred.

I used to write about the atmosphere of what gets called Forever Alone. JED, I called it: Jealousy Envy Depression.

The writer at The French Exit was clear that women could tell the difference between jealousy and envy, but let's make it clear. Jealousy means Why is she with him instead of me? Envy is Why can't I have what he has? Different things. Jealousy, in the end, is directed at her--- or at her choices. Envy is directed at him--- at his fortune.  Depression, of course, flavors either---- depression usually contains something like I'll never have anyone ever again.  The three things go perfectly together. And of course I love the cocktail metaphor, if only because I see the bartender's pale, slender hands and a very Art Deco cocktail shaker in motion. I have no idea what the Cocktail of Bitterness looks like when poured through a strainer into a chilled glass.

I haven't seen very much written on jealousy in the age of the gender wars. I'll take as a given that if it is written about at all, it's tied to male evil and oppression rather than be taken as part of the human condition. It's one of the oldest of human questions: Why not me? Why wasn't I the chosen one? What's wrong with me? Why did she choose him? Jealousy comes down both to rage at oneself and at the person who didn't choose you. Always both--- always. You fear that you're not good enough, and you hate yourself for that. You hate her for seeing it and for making you see it. You're angry at her for not choosing you, but even more for making you see yourself as not good enough.

Envy of course is the most singular of the Deadly Sins--- the one Deadly Sin that gives no pleasure at all to the sinner. Envy eats away at the self, at any sense of being in the right place in the world. Maybe that's why I call it the vermouth--- just the hint of it to flavour the drink.

Depression of course is the garnish, the olive that you toy with while you sit at the bar, the olive you draw off the toothpick, the olive you crunch on while the drink sits there, perfectly chilled.

Males aren't allowed to feel jealousy in the age of the gender wars. Take that as a given. We're not allowed to even admit to jealousy. But it won't go away. It hasn't gone away in the last few thousand years, and it's there in every human life, waiting. So's envy, but for some reason we're not told that envy is a moral and political failing in the way jealousy is.

JED--- Jealousy Envy Depression. Those things blend so well together, mixed in the proper proportions. The Cocktail of Bitterness, yes. It'll be on the bar menu for a very, very long time.

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