Thursday, 6 September 2007

Women and Spiders and Martin Amis

From Martin Amis's The Information:
Gwyn said slowly, "I find I never think in terms of men. In terms of women. I find I always think in terms of... people."

There was an immediate burble of approbation: Gwyn, it seemed, had douched the entire company in common sense and plain humanity. Richard had to raise his voice, which meant that his cough kicked in -- but he went ahead with his passionate speech.

It was the little rapt pause before the word people: that was what did it.

"A very low-level remark, if I may say so. Hey, Gwyn. You know what you remind me of? A quiz in a colour magazine -- you know, Are You Cut Out To Be a Teacher? Final question: Would you rather teach a) history, or b) geography, or c) ... children. Well you don't get a choice about teaching children. But there is a choice, and a difference, between history and geography. It must make you feel nice and young to say that being a man means nothing and being a woman means nothing and what matters is being a... person. How about being a spider, Gwyn. Let's imagine you're a spider. You're a spider, and you've just had your first serious date. You're limping away from that now, and you're looking over your shoulder, and there's your girlfriend, eating one of your legs like it was a chicken drumstick. What would you say? I know. You'd say: I find I never think in terms of male spiders. Or in terms of female spiders. I find I always think in terms of... spiders."

Richard sank back, rhythmically sighing or whinnying with all that this had cost him. He didn't have the will to look up, to look up into that unanimity of downward revision. So he started at the tarnished tablecloth, and saw only the rising -- no, the plunging -- seahorses that lived behind his eyes.

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