A 21st century tale
By Eve’s Rib
“In the beginning,” said the lady on TV, “there was no God. There was the Goddess. She peered into the great void and created the Heaven and the Earth, and in this new domain women ruled. The world was peaceful and both sexes worshipped Her.
“But then, about 3,000 B.C., men decided they had a better idea. They installed male deities — among them the sun god Marduk, who killed Tiamat, the mother of all gods, by smashing her with his club. Things, sadly, haven’t been the same since. Now a growing number of revisionists believe it’s time to restore the ancient truth: it was a woman who moulded Earth, and it is men — and their male gods — who messed it up.”
The camera zoomed in closer to her. “The dominant force in the cosmos,” she said, “is female. Was it not Eve who gave knowledge to Adam? Every human starts out female: the male, created by an added Y-chromosome, is a variation on the female norm. Men must be put in their place and the natural female order restored.”
“Yeah, yeah,” said Leo. He turned the TV off and gazed apprehensively through the window.
He wasn’t only depressed about the Men Matter raid. He was depressed about his whole life. He couldn’t get a job, he couldn’t stand up to his wife, he couldn’t assert himself with his lover, he couldn’t defend the rights of himself and his fellow males without looking like a gormless little boy. He had hoped that Rock’s organisation would provide some of the leadership he craved — but he’d felt such a fool in his costume, and the prank had been a disaster. By the time the police had sent Trigger and Sean on their way, there was nothing for the local press to report, if indeed there ever would have been. Was this all the men’s movement had to offer? Was this the best that his once victorious sex could muster in the face of imminent defeat? Women seemed simply unstoppable: it was as if the mighty tide of history left them victorious at every turn no matter what anyone did.
He had been wise to keep Gina from hearing of his involvement in Men Matter. And he had other secrets to keep, too. He was thinking about his liaison with Kelly and how keen he was that Gina would never find out. It wasn’t only that he was afraid of Gina, although he was. It was also that he was showing his wife, who after all paid his way in life, a tremendous disrespect. His behaviour was shameful, and the way Kelly treated him was shameful, and as usual he was stuck wondering what to do while the women determined his fate.
The fact was, he was meant to be at Kelly’s right now. She had sent him another SMS, demanding his presence. Agonising over what to do, he stayed put, and sweated as the clock ticked past the time she had appointed. He knew her well enough to know that she would not be amused at being stood up. He put on his favourite cookery show and watched the screen without seeing anything.
Fifteen minutes after he was meant to have gone next door, he heard the front door open and he craned round to see Kelly striding into his front room. She was wearing her business suit, but without her tie or blazer, and a pair of spectacles was perched on her nose.
“What the fuck happened to you?” she demanded. “I’m meant to be gyrating on your fucking prick, Leo Powers.”
“I’m, uh, sorry, Kelly, it’s just that... I can’t, you know, I’m cheating on Gina and —”
“Applause for the male intellect!” she sneered. “How many days has it taken to figure that one out?”
“It’s all very well being sarky, only I don’t think I can do this any more.”
“You loved every minute of it.”
“Yeah, maybe, but you’re cheating on Brian too. That wasn’t in your wedding vows, you know.”
“It’s different for women!” cried Kelly. “We have a greater appetite for sex. One man can’t meet a woman’s needs. We need to sow our seed widely.”
“I’m sorry, Kelly, it’s just I’ve been thinking, and I can’t go behind Ginny’s back any more. She’s my wife, and I, well —”
“Don’t tell me,” she scorned. “You love her. Well, I don’t let some man tell me when he is or isn’t ready to leave. I’m the one who decides when it’s over, and how.”
“Hey, Kelly, men matter too.”
She paused, and a sneer crossed her face. “I know what this is all about. This is about that macho tosser Clyde Rock, isn’t it? Hero of the men’s movement? Spreading his miserable little fantasies about male domination around Britain on his glorious speaking tour? Yeah, I saw him on the telly, him and his sad band of worshippers, stuck in the last century. Well let me tell you something you may not have seen on the news. Where there’s a Men Matter, there’s a new group, a women’s group, full of brave women dedicated to asserting the female principle: The Daughters of Lilith. And wherever Rock’s comical little acolytes turn up in their baggy Superman outfits, the Daughters of Lilith will soon follow, and smack those ballbags of yours so hard they’ll pop out of your throats! We’ll see how long you lot last when a real woman’s got her hand round your nuts. You’ll be too scared to set foot out the door.” She leaned closer to him. “You can never compete with a woman.”
“Get over it, Kelly. Our thing’s got to stop, OK?”
“It can stop. If you do one thing. Gina’s told me about her dinner party with ClareCo. And about the dress she’s got you.”
“What? You know about that?” Leo knew he shouldn’t be surprised. Kelly and Gina shared a lot of things.
“Yes, I do know, little man. And you’re going to do as she says and wear that dress and play the good little husband,” she spat.
“I’ll do whatever I decide —” Leo began.
Coming rapidly in front of him, she grabbed him round the neck with one hand and suddenly, her knee in his back, Leo found himself crumpling to the ground. He felt the weight of her body on top of him and realised to his alarm that he was in some kind of judo hold. He struggled to get free but it just hurt his arm. Christ, she was strong! She pressed her free hand through his thighs towards his groin, where she probed his trouser gusset for his testicles.
“No, Kelly, no!” Leo shrieked in terror, his legs squirming to get away.
“Be still!” Her voice was right next to his ear. “There’re no Queensberry rules in the real world, darling. If you can’t take us on, then move aside.”
She grabbed his nuts and squeezed.
“Nooo!” he screamed.
“Ungrateful bastard,” she said, her teeth clenched.
“Kelly, PLEASE! STOP! PLEASE!” He writhed in agony, desperate to break her grip, but she had him pinned.
“I’m sorry, love, but you will learn to obey your wife. Do you understand? Do you?” She seized his hair with her right hand, gripping his balls ever tighter with her left.
“Yes, Kelly. I’m sorry, I’m sorry...” and he started crying. “Please, don’t hurt my balls!”
She let go and stepped back, letting him cradle his throbbing balls in his hands.
“That’s agreed, then. And you’d better believe me, Leo — if I hear you didn’t go through with it, then I’ll be back to bust them properly.”
Leo lay where he was, blinking tears from his eyes. He heard the door close gently and he didn’t move for some time, nursing his privates. That was that. He had no strength left. Sorry, Clyde. Sorry, Trigger. Sorry, Dad, and Grandad, and all the proud generations of fathers before them. I quit. I can’t win this fight, don’t you see?