My song today is, ‘Maybe Baby’. This rock and roll song was written by Buddy Holly and producer Norman Petty. It was recorded by the ‘Crickets’ in 1957. The single, credited to the Crickets, was a Top 40 hit in the U.S., the UK, and Canada.
I prefix what I write in my post today about behaviour that was commonly practised by young men ‘out on the pull’, and practised by some courting couples, and even by many married men without their wives consent, by saying that ‘THE BEHAVIOUR THAT I REFER TO IN TODAY’S POST REPRESENTS BEHAVIOUR, ATTITUDES, AND VALUES WHICH I NEVER CONDONED, ENDORSED, JUSTIFIED, ENGAGED IN, OR EVER CONSIDERED OTHER THAN BEING WRONG, IMMORAL AND CRIMINAL’
The late 50s and early 60s in Great Britain was a much different world than we live in today. It was a time that many people of much younger age than my 77 years would find repugnant to even comprehend. However much equality females enjoy today in relation to the males in society (and I am not arguing that full equality between the sexes currently exists or ever did), apart from having the vote, the only other things women had between the 17th and 21st century in Great Britain is what men were prepared to give or allow them.
Throughout these centuries, English citizens still lived in a man-made world. To put it bluntly, it was a world where males often treated women, their needs, their views, and their wants as being a ‘second consideration’ to whatever the male wanted. Women were second-class citizens in every regard that mattered; a position they held in the home, the community, their church congregation, parliament and the law, society at large, and throughout the country. This second-class citizenship was reinforced by the laws of the land; man-made laws made for the benefit of men.
Ever since the 1700s, the man had been legally able to dominate his wife in all things. When they married, her property and estate automatically became his. Indeed, she also became his property; to do with as he willed. He might have many extra-marital affairs which were considered ‘the norm’ by upper and middle-class society, but if she strayed from the marriage, her husband could have her locked away in some mental institution upon the say of a doctor friend. Whenever couples from upper and middle-class society separated or divorced, the father got automatic custody of the children. Should a working-class man leave his wife, he usually left their children in his wife’s care and custody, but when he did so, it was usually ‘through his choice’.
In the 1700s, England passed a law that allowed a man to ‘chastise his wife with a whip or rattan that was no thicker than his thumb, in order to enforce domestic discipline in the home.
Even when we advanced to the Victorian era, there was little change in male attitudes towards their women. It mattered not which class we look at, because in all three defined classes, the men treated their women as inferior. At dinner in upper-class circles, it was considered wholly inappropriate and unladylike for any female diner (even the hostess) to express a personal view upon any serious discussion which was taking place at the table between the men, such as politics etc. After dinner, the women would retire to the Drawing Room to engage in small talk and to do other things that it was considered dignified for women to do, while the men smoked their cigars and talked about ‘men matters’.
When we fast forward to the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s, the man went out to work and the little woman stayed at home, had children, and cooked her husband’s tea to serve him at the end of his working day. As soon as the man of the house arrived home from work, his wife would have his evening meal ready to eat. Those of you who were born around the time of the ‘Second World War’ years will have grown up with hearing your mum tell all her children eating at the table(whether they were young or married adults, as well as including her husband in her comment), “No talking politics or religion at the table please!” This was a quiet kind of rebellion that the working-class wife and mother’s engaged in, as she surreptitiously stamped her authority and reminded everybody at the family table that she was sexually equal as a wife and parent within the household, thereby giving her the right to decide what kind of topics she considered suitable for discussion at the dining table.
People are horrified today at the unnatural behaviour that the Jimmy Saville’s of this world committed with impunity for three and four decades against young girls, between the rise of the pop celebrity during the 1960s and the New Millennium. While I abhor what Saville and other sexually abusive ‘celebrities’ did, and were allowed to get away with for so long before being called to account, it does not surprise me in the least that it happened at the time it did!
The 1960s seemed to usher in a new and more promiscuous era in England. Films and books of the day became more sexualised in their content, and what would have once been depicted by the ‘shutting of a bedroom door and the dimming of the lights’ now required more visually sexually provocative scenes, dirty language and sexual grunts and groans to satisfy the viewing patron. The advent of the mini skirt appeared to promote fashion contests between who could show off more of the female’s undercarriage while still being considered as respectable in the world of designer clothes. Hippies hugged and kissed strangers on the open street and handed them a rose, and all manner of communes started to mushroom where having multiple sex partners and engaging in ‘free love’ seemed to be the ‘in thing’ with many young people who lived there.
Then, the coming of ‘The Pill’ seemed to revolutionised one of the biggest inequalities between the sexes at a stroke, and for the first time, women from all classes of society need not continue to be baby machines if they chose not to be. The birth control pill, however, was a double-edged sword. While women could now control whether they conceived a child or not as a consequence of copulation with a man, they were still expected to do the man’s bidding. A few wives may have persuaded their ‘enlightened’ husbands to get ‘the snip’, and thereby obviate the need of them having to take the birth control pill with its possible long-term health risks, but in the main, the man preferred to keep all aspects of his manhood intact! Having birth control manageable by the tripartite male methods of coitus withdrawal, French letters, or having a vasectomy, it was of no surprise that it would remain left to the female to pop the pill in her mouth to ‘take care of things’. And, if by any chance, the female happened to have ‘unwanted sex’ (clearly defined as rape today), she could always take ‘the morning after pill’ to remove the human consequences of the night before!
Unfortunately, both sexually-active males and females used the introduction of the contraceptive pill as having been given permission to engage in ‘promiscuous’ behaviour which invariably tipped over into ‘unacceptable’ behaviour, and often ended in ‘criminal’ behaviour having been committed.
Throughout every young man’s road to manhood, he will invariably come across a popular saying or a much-held belief which appears ‘to make a statement of fact’ when it is, in fact, expressing ‘an echo of male desire’. A common saying by many males in my late teenage years and a common belief held by other males was, “If she says ‘no’, she means ‘maybe baby’, and if she says ‘maybe baby’, she means yes!”
Three decades as a Probation Officer in West Yorkshire brought me in contact with so many women who had been sexually abused in childhood, their teenage years, and even in their marriage by a family member, a boyfriend, a stranger, or their male partner. Such incidents varied enormously in degree but nevertheless were viewed by the female concerned as ‘having been sexually molested and violated’. Often, the sexual abuse that had occurred in a matter of moments took a lifetime to come to terms with! I have heard women describe what was a sexual assault having occurred in their teenage years and lasting for less than a minute, sour the relationships of that abused female for a lifetime. Occasionally I have heard even male colleagues who were supposed to be ‘professional’ say inappropriate things like, ’Why she couldn’t just get over it, I will never understand. Good God, she was only touched up and fingered by a boyfriend. Anyone would think she’d been gang-raped and left for dead!”
The bottom line in all manner of emotional experience is that no other person in the world can ever truly know what any experience means for me, or me them! When somebody sexually abuses another person, they effectively open up an emotional wound that never heals completely and forever affects the thoughts, feelings, and actions of the abused person.
Given the ‘Me Too’ revelations of the past decades, throughout many quarters of society in England, America and Europe, nothing much seems to have changed in the way some men regard and treat women. It matters not whether it is a randy prince or a promiscuous pauper; when some men hear a woman say ‘no’, they will still take her reply to signify consent!
The only saying that requires mandatory learning by both sexes from infancy to old age in 2020 is that ‘NO MEANS NO!’
Love and peace Bill xxx