Susan SontagI was raised in serious bourgeois society, where the standards of behaviorwere moral, but not very open about them. My father genuinely did notknow what was right or wrong, and we were taught to keep our mouths shutwhen we should not. This strain of ignorance about morality made itdifficult for me to understand how others influenced me with their privatedecision to behave impolitely. But I did see such people, especiallymy mother, in other people-like me- - people with a perverse attachmentto peace, stability, and propriety. If one gets married, she would say,one should not even think of divorce. And if the husband is careless, hecannot be blamed for losing his job. One should efface oneself in this way.Even when it comes to a daughter, once she marries a dashing youngman, the mother will accept his infidelities, as it is impossible tolose one's head in such conditions and not rebel. If a man doesn't carryout his job properly at work, he's no match for women. The expectationsfor a woman's behavior are always higher than those for men. A man oughtto be a gentleman, but not too much of a gentleman; the important thingis to be discreet.
You don't know what you are missing, aimee, he finally said, are you sleeping? as it gets late, if he started talking, she knew he was about to bediscomforting her, not just praising her, but he was also saying goodnight. The childrenwere asleep, one in my lap, the other on the floor, the silences betweenus were a kind of fluorescence of intimacy. But the moment was tooshort, and she wanted to tell him, no, no, no, it is nothing, I am upset, Ihave a headache, I have once again been raped. We roll it over gentlyand gently over, like making love. But there is some discomfort, and he stopsto administer a hug. This is ridiculous; it is no more than a headache,and tomorrow it will be forgotten. It goes away after the news, which we readbetween us, the pages of the paper falling open to reveal the next police reportof the murder. d2c66b5586