Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #188

Dr. Machismo, addressing his Psychology 101 class: “Students, in this classic snapshot, the photographer has managed to capture the full range of male sexuality. A lovely maiden is simply trying to transport a freshly-picked butternut squash to the Rome apartment of her beloved grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Catherine Marie Adele di Vesuvius, so they can make a nice casserole for the upcoming Festival of Gourds. Despite her possible lesbianism (note the sandals, which are clear forerunners of the eventual Birkenstocks), our unfortunate maiden is subjected to the passive-aggressive nature of men in large groups.

The two men on the far left, who appear to be related due to their matching outfits, are in the preliminary stages of determining the best chauvinistic response. The grandson, new to the world of objectifying women, is a bit at a loss and is patiently waiting for Grandpa to provide guidance. Sadly, Grandpa did not take his meds this morning and is having some clarity issues concerning the perceived gender of the approaching maiden, and therefore Grandson is not really going to learn anything today.

The man seated at the miniature table is clearly lit from too much chianti-imbibing, so he needs to be thrown out of the statistical analysis, especially since he appears to be gazing lustily upon the ass of one of the other chauvinists.

The next two men , who we’ll call Neander and Thal, are obviously operating under the misconception that vigorously groping their genitals is completely acceptable and will somehow brighten the maiden’s day. It will not. Both of these men are pigs, end of story. Severe counseling would normally be advised for these two, but really, there’s probably no hope for a return to decency.

Directly behind the maiden, in front of the surprisingly-large door, we have three members of the gospel choir from St. Marie-Claire’s Church of Tithing, practicing a cantata for the Festival of Tax-Free Giving. Only one of the trio is even aware that a woman has walked by, so their input in this study is negligible. Still, there’s a measurable aura of disdain for the strolling gourd-carrier, as the one guy is presumably jealous about the fashionable shawl that the maiden is sporting.

To the right of the choir, we have another trio, this one involving Archie Bunker, an additional Groper, and a man who may or may not be using a walking stick as overcompensation for a visually insignificant manhood. They are all openly staring at the maiden, not necessarily being aggressive but still unaware that their ogling is offensive. These men are the baseline of this study, as they represent the typical male: essentially tame but baffled by women who don’t instantly worship them as owners of a penis.

Travelling further to the right, we now have that odd tableau concerning the Vespa-like motorbike. At first glance, and even at second glance, it seems that we are being presented with the imagery of Neil Patrick Harris and Kevin Spacey on some sort of motorized, impromptu outing. What this has to do with anything is not immediately evident, but they both seem to be happy.

Directly behind the Vespa tryst, we have a cast member from “The Sopranos” and a dapper Joe Biden, both of them confused about exactly what the hell is going on in this scene. Which is precisely how most non-psychotic men feel when encountering the opposite sex…”


(Originally published in “Crusty Pie” on 05/03/15 and “Bonnywood Manor” on 07/08/15. In that second post, the very thoughtful Chris at “Pears Not Parsnips” pointed out that this photo can be uncomfortable for some folks who have been objectified. This is a very valid observation, and here is the link I shared with Chris which details the story of the women behind the creation of this photo. It’s an interesting read, should you care to pursue.)


32 replies »

  1. I read the article giving the background of the picture that you linked in your italicized comment. Really – what a fantastic and leveling story. It is so easy to forget how different life was just a few heartbeats before. I take my hat off to two tremendous women who surely were a huge part of the real equality movement, not the one that is simply discussed ad tedium over canapés on a comfortable canapé and which thereby forgets the real issues. I am ever hopeful that a world without so many openly predatory men is possible. That a conversation can take place between two minds and not a penis and pair of tits and that in this world we can still recognise that there are fundamental differences between the sexes. Even for those of us that wear Birkenstocks … And a huge thank you to you, of course for giving me a snortingly good start to the day. Particularly when I looked closely at the casually clasped men on the (rather tinier than is normal) Vespa and those playing pocket billiards … By the way, i think The Festival of Gourdes is imminent – must start to stockpile those squash 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • I wondered if the Birkenstocks might be a ding that I would regret, so perhaps I should let that archaic bit of cultural subtext drift peacefully into retirement waters. Coded footwear aside, I equally yearn for the Taming of the Crude and an eventual stasis where equality for all is a given. Until then, the decent must continue to leave their comfortable canapés and take action. And now I’m hoping on my tiny Vespa and heading to Lake Como and a rendezvous with Neil and Kevin…


      • Oh don’t regret the Birkenstocks and don’t banish them …. I did a reasonably ladylike snortlet at the aside and then recalled how much of a dismal failure I am in terms of footwear here Chez les chic – I yearn to be able to pull off those eensy beaded string sandals but the bunion would be revealed and make the innocents roll their eyes in quite the wrong kind of wonder. Now. I know it’s a teeny tiny one and I am 6′ tall …. but might there possibly be room for a pillion on the Vespa? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve admired this photo since I first spied it as a poster on a friend’s wall in the 70s. It wasn’t until years later, when I was first tinkering with this little ditty, that I dug into the background of the photo, which gave the image a different and richer context than I had first perceived. One picture can tell so many stories….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The unconsciously provocative hip swaying of Concheeta the Pure is the real culprit here. Men are merely victims of their own biologic urges and too much testosterone. A woman shaking her fanny ‘in the day’ (prior to good hygiene, political correctness, and rules of excellent conduct guaranteed to get a guy laid) was a signal that she had entered that prime age for mating. The tail wagging (as it were) was a sign that the female would welcome advances, even of the porcine variety. Men (as I understand things being a woman and not understanding men at all) don’t get subtle clues from women like the vague wink or the shy smile. Direct is the best way to get a guy’s attention..because men don’t understand women either and I doubt they ever will. God, the Universe or evolution had some weird sense of humor throwing two such vastly different beings together and saying “Go forth now and populate the Earth and be fertile and randy.” Too bad there wasn’t an instruction booklet thrown in the mix… (and yes any guy grabbing his goods and shaking them at me gets a solicitous remark about whether his tighty whiteys are too tight and are pinching his boys or if he has crotch crickets or crabs. Any of the above are enough to make me flee in the other direction. )

    Liked by 2 people

    • Concheeta the Pure? I simply must steal that as a character name for one of my stories. I have no idea what the story might be, but I trust that I can come up with something based on the name alone. “The Amazing Adventures of Concheeta the Pure as She Attempts to Obtain Sound Medical Advice Concerning the Affliction She Acquired During Her Recent Journey to Belize.” Okay, that sounds way too detailed and specific. Perhaps I’ll just have her discover a rare purple-shelled turtle in the Galapagos Islands and dedicates her life to the preservation of such, instead of doing a diatribe about the sorry state of healthcare in America. (I can only get on the soapbox so many times at my age. Perhaps I need to review my vitamin intake.)

      As for goods-grabbing guys? My mind reels with the intricate details of the punishment that should be doled in their direction…

      Liked by 1 person

    • It was the Gourd Festival that got you, right? Or maybe it was the ass-gazing. Wait, that doesn’t sound like you. Perhaps the tiny Vespa and the slap-and-tickle occupants? The tax-free tithing? Now I will lie awake tonight, wondering, because I’m prone to such meaninglessness, when in reality it wasn’t one particular thing that provoked you to comment. I really need to stop over-sharing with my co-dependencies… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the link, that was fascinating. I see their point, and I can understand the idea of a woman enjoying the attention. But of course, there’s attention and then there’s ATTENTION. At first glance, the expression on her face seems to be fear, not pride. Or at least annoyance.
    All that being said, I loved your psychological musings on the photo. I don’t suppose I need mention that my heart always went out to the confused non-psychotic men?

    Liked by 2 people

    • My heart also went out to the non-psychotic men. It also went out to the psychotic men, because I was desperate for attention and truly believed that I could fix those with a clearly-wonky CPU. Such are the travails of young obsession and idiocy. Eventually I got it right, but not before racking up an alarming number of people that I had to block on social media. (I still have to use an alias in certain parts of the country.) And I think I’m rambling now, because I’m tired and loopy and I should just go to bed. Oh wait, another email just came in and I simply must respond. Because, desperate… 😉

      Liked by 4 people

      • I knew there was more to this bondedness I feel with you … *eventually I got it right bit not before racking up an alarming number of people that I had to block on social media* – you speak my life 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ok, so everyone else has made comments I wish I could have made, so I’ll just say, bloody good post, funny as, loved the back story, what a pair of women they were. Glorious, riotous, snortious reading.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The maiden is fortunate that the dark circle in the sidewalk behind her (with the apparent opening in the middle) didn’t conceal one of those air blowers that blow milady’s skirt above see level, like in old amusement park funhouses. I leave the aftermath of that scenario to your further imagination. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You may have just inspired me to give birth to a Part II, with that concept in mind. Part III will probably involve the glaring possibility that Neil Patrick Harris may have been Photoshopped onto the tiny Vespa… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Every time i read another one of your posts, i love it more than the post i just read. I like that one best.. no wait.. THAT one! But then comes THIS one. Vespa tryst indeed! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What’s up,I read your blog named “Past Imperfect – #188 – Bonnywood Manor” regularly.Your story-telling style is witty, keep doing what you’re doing! And you can look our website about daily proxy.


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