I love men.
Okay, to be frank, this has never really been a problem for me. It only really became a problem for me when my seven year-old daughter found out recently. We were sitting at the kitchen table and she had just drawn a few circles on the back of some old Christmas paper with her pink marker and roll of celluloid tape, and I was busy filling them in. We were mapping out my future, using mind maps.
"You can't say that," she said, espying the first of my two entries in my life convictions' circle.
"Can't say what?" I asked, shocked. I mean, it's not exactly how I wanted to bring her up.
Her arched eyebrow had the look of 'come on, daddy, you don't really expect me to have to say it out loud, do you?' So, being the good daddy that I am, I decided to help her out.
"You mean, like, I love men?"
She gave me a fervent nod full of gratitude for having spared her from having to say it herself.
"But why?" I asked.
To her seven-year-old credit, she waded straight in up to her knees.
"The s-thing." (My mother would have clattered me had I come out with that aged seven.)
"The s-thing? You mean, like, the sex thing?" I said.
Don't tell me I have to explain it to you, daddy? You do know about the birds and the bees, don't you? her wry smile said.
"And you can't say that either," she said, spotting my second life conviction. "What?" says I. I was beginning to regret ever having taught her to read at all.
"You can't say, 'I love women'".
"Oh, you can't, can you not?"
She knitted her brows together disapprovingly, like her father.
"And why not?" says I.
"Because you love mummy."
"Oh, right, so I can't love other women then?"
You see the problem, don't you? Oh, you don't? Well, let me explain. The real problem with contemporary Britain today in the realm of relationships isn't the gay marriage issue, or gay relationships, or sex, but consensual sexual relationships between adults in general, and who has control over them.
When I told my friends that I was going to write in the The Huffington Post about how I love men and women, they counselled caution. 'Can you not just say you love people?' they suggested. 'Or at least give some context, otherwise people are going to misinterpret you?'
See what I mean by control?
Society likes to control sexual relationships between consenting adults in general. It has been at this practice for centuries - with the Christian churches at the helm.
Will things ever change? Yes. My seven year-old is. Maybe the Conservative Party should talk to her.
Oh, and for the record: I love men for the way in which they struggle to do justice to their inner world of feelings against the backdrop of their outer world of relationships and I love women for the way in which they struggle to do justice to relationships in a male-dominated world that doesn't particularly value intimacy.
Now, where is my seven year-old till I give her a hug? She deserves it after all the shocks I've given her!
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