“Men are the enemy in much the same way that some crazed boy in uniform was the enemy of another like him in most respects except the uniform. One possible tactic is to try to get the uniforms off.”
― Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch
In October of 1970, I was a freshman at Loyola University ( Lewis Towers) in Chicago. I had had a great summer due to a great paying job as a second year janitor ( $ 2.75 per + T and 1/2 for OT) and the brief but spicy company of Marge. That month a book came out that rocked our world - Germain Greer's The Female Eunuch/ Feminism. You can't beat it. You can nod to it, grant that it is there, see it for what it should be and what it is most certainly not and live your life.
Though not a woman, I can deeply appreciate the feelings of being objectified, patronized and fitted into clothing and undergarments that might be alluring, not never comfortable. I was forced to wear a turtle-neck sweater once, because the girl who purchased it for me thought I'd look like one of The Monkees - just a pathetic male adolescent wearing something he hated.
The girl's name was Marge. She lived at 77th & Wolcott in Little Flower Parish. Her Dad was a lockesmith with shop between Hermitage and Wood streets.
Marge was a girl who blossomed early and adopted the dress and attitude of the greaser chicks who latched onto the 69th Street Loafers north of the tracks from us. The Loafers were mostly Italian kids and we were largely Micks. We got along, unless we were complete assholes. The Loafer guys wore cabrettas, rat-stabbers ( Stacy Adams shoes) and greased their back like Elvis. The greaser girls wore tight black slacks jeans, or skirts, tighter sweaters and their hair all cotton-candied up and large and supported by Alberto Culver hairspray.
We Micks tended to sport more of a Joe College Karol's Red Hanger look and buzz-cuts. The girls wore attire straight out of Trouble With Angels Haley Mills/Mary Tyler Moore modest allure. The Greasers called us Doopers, or Wood Street.
We Doopers imagined Greaser girls to be a little bit slutty - they'd put out a little bit anyway. Not so.Some of our Meghan Mickleberry Haley Mills babes were positively Russ Meyers in attitude and deportment, while Shirley and Flo, though bedecked in Faster Pussy Cat, Kill,Kill, fashion and accessories were as virginal as St. Agnes. Never assume.
I flirted with my afore mentioned Marge, the locksmith's daughter, because I assumed that I might have my wicked way . . .within reason . . .with her. She looked the part and by the 6th Commandment filled the part.
I was stunned! You asked for it Bub and you got it. Marge accompanied yours truly on several trips to Rainbow Beach and we smooched - à la manière de la sale français - up a storm.
Marge was positively black Irish gorgeous and built like a muscle car at Santa Fe Speedway. Every impulse to explore the horizon of human copulation was aroused, only to be quieted by ethics and Catholic moral instruction. As St. Thomas Aquinas once said, " You knock-her up and you marry her."
I was bullied by better angels, while Errol Flynn whispered in my ear . . .not forgetting Marge was the whole package. She was nice. I was and remain . . . complicated.
I determined that discretion was the better part of satisfaction and that bookish me was destined for Loyola University in few months time and the burdens of parenting were complimentary to four years of the Jesuits. I did what any male 17 year old goof equipped with a robust and operational set of nuts could do - I avoided Marge. You know. Disappear in plain sight. Never call. Never acknowledge. Guy stuff. Birth control on the cheap.
I dreamed of Marge and went on my way. So did Marge.
Years later, I ran into Marge at a party near DePaul University. Marge had moved up to the north side and was taking classes while working at Earl Pionke's Earl of Old Town. Marge still looked great, but had adopted the more exotic looks of a flamenco dancer and not a Hot Rod Mama. This suited the radical cool guys and faux Hippies who lived in the hipper quarters of Chicago, or frequented its environs. I still dressed and groomed like Dooper -close-cropped hair, crew neck sweaters and penny loafers. Dweeb chic. Marge remarked that I had not changed and that was not a compliment.
The verbal punch out was taken it in cowardly good humor, because I had acted the cad. No, Marge said it was not my Catholic school boy creepiness about love and passion but my insular and puritanical cowardice. I was not liberated. Marge said that she was liberated. She had been given The Female Eunuch, by one of her older sisters and that book became her bible.
Marge explained that men hated women and treated them horribly and women went along with it pretending that love and family really meant something. Woman was better. Kids raise themselves. Mother is Man Word. Sex is liberating only if one is liberated.
I still wanted to see if maybe Marge . . . not a chance. Marge was dating a guy from Canada named Guy - Geeeeeee -no kidding. I mean she was shacking up with Guy, while she further evolved.
We parted ways. Decades of life vanished like ice cubes in a dog's mouth.
At one of the Little Flower summer reunions out at a south Cook County Forrest Preserve, I asked one of my balding compeers if he had any word about Marge. " Yeah!!!!!!!! You tried to crack her britches; didn't you?"
Actually no . . .up to and including that possibility to be sure, but no.
The former football star and Mayor of Palos Hills said, " Marge. She was all over the place. Married a bunch. Screwed everyone and anyone. Nutty. Billy Fleming called her Million Man Marge."
Well, what happened to her?
" She's a feminist. Writes a blog or something."