Charles Bukowski. Poet, dirty old man, and probably my one and true Patron Saint of Male Honesty.
It kind of drives me crazy when knee-jerk, conveniently feminist, selectively scandalized women publicly decry him as being a misogynist. The reality is that he loved women -- all differently messy, ugly, honest, raw, plastic and whorish -- and his writing should serve to inspire hope and confidence in any female of clear intelligence.
What I think a lot of women struggle with is looking for hidden meaning. It's obvious that the male and female brains work differently, and I think we can all agree as well that women are far more over-thinking and obsessive than men. I've always envied that men can be so straightforward. Even in their cowardice and insecurity, they are usually still rather demonstrative regarding their true feelings. It's women who never want to see it. Never want to believe that actions speak louder than words.
Bukowski, as mythic and poet, encapsulates true male mindfulness. He was disgusting and crude and viciously indifferent at times, but it was straightforward and always honest. I appreciate the pulling no punches and I exalt in it. For me, that kind of honesty is a rare gift. Being that confident -- confident enough to tell someone to their face that you think they're ugly but that you'll still fuck them -- must feel so freeing. Every day, feeling like you will be 100% yourself and people with either like it or not. Unsurprisingly, people loved Bukowski, the man -- women in particular -- and I would wager that the main reason why is that he didn't bullshit them.
For my own part, I'm doing a lot of work lately to not bullshit others, or myself. I'm trying to be more deliberate, say more what's on my mind, and walk that fine line between not being outright hurtful, but not hide behind double-speak either. So far, just the increase in awareness, the paying attention to the tone I'm using and the communication goal I'm trying to reach, has been cathartic enough.
My favorite Bukowski line of all time follows. There is so much meaning here; so much about the poison of unspoken desires, unsatisfied power, and unquenched rage.
"I think that when a woman has kept her legs closed / for 35 years / it's too late / either for love / or for / poetry."