Posts Tagged Union Chapel

Crushed velvet

My time at the Union Chapel was fruitful for this blog, as I not only speculated about the kind of man on stage, but was also reminded of the power of a certain type of woman in the audience. I like to call her the Crushed Velvet.

You know this woman. She dresses like Stevie Nicks in skirts made of scarves. Or she might have macramé pants. She’s usually skinny and pretty tall (and because of that, tends to slump a bit). Her hair is long but slightly unkempt. She has a pretty voice and she probably plays acoustic guitar. At night, she lights candles, burns incense and writes songs or poetry. The lyrics are prone to be a bit shit.

This may not be the prettiest of pictures (nor is it the ugliest) but hear me now, ladies. This woman — the Crushed Velvet — is cleaning up out there. No one can bag a man like she can.

I’ve always gathered that it’s her vulnerability, or that men get a sniff of her emotional instability and assume she’ll be a wildcat in the sack. Whatever the reason, this woman is pined after by the sensitive singer/songwriter type described in my previous post (if not invited on stage to duet with him).

Since I was at the Union Chapel with a thoughtful man, I asked him about the siren song of the Crushed Velvet. He explained something to me in simple terms that frankly frightened and enlightened me in equal measure. Using an analogy from nature, he said that men are typical predators. When they see an alpha female in a pack, they assume she is either already spoken for or will require too much effort to take down. So they look for the weak ones on the perimeter. The ones caught up in their own long limbs.

Despite the analogy, it occurred to me that it’s not easy to be a man. As women, we take for granted that it must be hard to muster the courage — and the basic energy — to approach the object of your desire. You can understand them going for easy wins.

That said, I’d rather we wore a welcoming smile and had an open — but straight — posture that attracted men with confidence and charisma rather than questionable frocks and fragility.

I also like to go against nature. If we charm them into our circle and surround them with our strength, who’s the predator now?

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Sensitive types

The Union Chapel is a gorgeous venue for music. As its name implies, it’s a dimly lit converted chapel, making it the perfect trap for acoustics… and singer/songwriters.

The other week, I was privileged to watch one such singer/songwriter at work. He was sensitive; his lyrics were brilliant. This is a man who has felt love. And pain. And love again.

Listening to him for a moment I thought: I hope a man has felt this way about me. And then I wised up. It’s men like this, I thought, ‘the sensitive ones’, that are doing the most damage to us, individually and to us as a group.

Why?

  1. They make women sound really, REALLY difficult. Heartbreakers. Cheats. Just. Plain. Hard. Work. We’re not, usually. If you’re straightforward, most of us — the best of us — respond in kind.
  2. These sensitive types play a sneaky game. They act like they desire a true equal, nay – a superior. They put us on a pedestal while other men snigger, ‘under the thumb.’ ‘Pussy whipped.’ ‘Henpecked.’ But don’t kid yourself. Men are men, and men want respect. Should the glow fade and the bloom fall off the rose, they will hold you accountable for their subjugation — even if was they who put the pattern in place.
  3. And when that happens, they will eviscerate you lyrically and publicly.

Okay — so not everyone has a stage and an audience. And I cannot deny that there is a world of female warblers out there playing the same (ahem) tune. You heard me, Taylor Swift.

Am I saying that men are incapable of feeling deeply or falling hard? Nope. Generally, I think men are more complex then we give them credit for. But we women fall victim to a number of fantasies and fictions. We know where to file a simpy romantic comedy, but the poetry and the intricacy of lyrics can suck us in differently. We tag these songs as our anthems; we devote them to past loves, and when we hear them, they often keep us down versus lifting us up. We wallow. We pine. We get stuck.

It’s time to get unstuck. When it comes to men — when it comes to anything for that matter — let’s seek to be elevated rather than sunk.

Longing, wanting, fighting: it’s that tension that makes it all seem worthwhile. But it’s deceptive, too, isn’t it? If the best music collections comprise quality and cheese, don’t the best matches of people also balance passion, levity… and release?

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