I've always loathed the myth about women and how they compete with each other, how bitchy they are, and how they can't trust each other. I've always been wary of women who have no female friends or women who say their best friends are men.
I've always stepped sideways from the merest hint of competition with other women. I imagine I sensed, from an early age, that my hide wasn't quite thick enough to survive the reprisals of success. I learned to savour failure instead because as Dylan says, there's no success like failure, and failure is really no success at all.
There's another myth. It’s the one about women being great communicators who relate via cooperative styles and means, the one about girls being made of sugar and spice and all things nice.
My first betrayal that I recall came at the hands of a woman - my mother. Emigrating half way across the globe from England to Australia, she delivered my two-year-old self and my six-year-old brother at the doorstep of my prodigal father. Six weeks later, she hightailed it back to the mother country. I quickly learned to please, but I have often wondered if, because my formative years were endured between my father and brother, I missed out on learning some of the other essential arts of female persuasion.
Pre and early pubescence should have finished me. These educative years were spent almost entirely in the company of women: Nuns and boarding school innocents, then more nuns, and many a good Catholic family's shame - their misused and abandoned daughters. Perhaps this feminine immersion came too late or grew too skewed, isolated from the community, learning only to cook, sew, and type at the school for bad bitches and misfit maids. All that seems womanish enough, yet we were of a sort.
We were of a sort that gathered in the classroom of that suburban-house-come-school with it's barred windows and 'purple room' (for purple mouthed girls who absconded) to learn Monique's technique: Jamming the wooden handle of a bread knife against her cunt and vigorously strumming its serrations with a spoon. I learned the taste of Monique too, and of Monica. Sexier than Satan on serapax, Monique dominated the Friday and Saturday night realm. Surely even a bitch licking crumbs from her mistress' lap learns the manners of her table?