Bukowski demolished my theory that the first sentence indicates preference for the rest of the book; although now that I look back, it’s not a bad first: “I was 50 years old and hadn’t been to bed with a woman for four years.” I turned my back on Bukowski due to limited exposure leading me to believe he was brutal to women; upon closer glance, women are also brutal to him, thus balanced brutality. And it was just damn good, in-your-face, real writing. Women describes the ebb & (mostly) flow of Chinaski’s sex life. Pages and pages of sex, drinking, hangovers, poetry readings where the audience and Henry snarl at each other and where he always gets the girl.
“Then we were out on the porch, wrestling. We tripped on the stairs and fell to the pavement. The bottle smashed and broke on the cement. She got up and ran off. I heard her car start. I lay there and looked at the broken bottle. It was a foot away. Lydia drove off. The moon was still up. In the bottom of what was left of the bottle I could see a swallow of scotch. Stretched out there on the pavement I reached for it and lifted it to my mouth. A long shard of glass almost poked into one of my eyes as I drank what remained. Then I got up and went inside. The thirst in me was terrible. I walked around picking up beer bottles and drinking the bit that remained in each one. Once I got a mouthful of ashes as I often used beer bottles for ashtrays. It was 4:14AM. I sat and watched the clock. It was like working in the post office again. Time was motionless while existence was a throbbing unbearable thing. I waited. I waited. I waited. I waited. Finally it was 6 AM. I walked to the corner to the liquor store. A clerk was opening up. He let me in. I purchased another pint of Cutty Sark. I walked backed home, locked the door and phoned Lydia.” (p41)
” I knew plenty of women. Why always more women? What was I trying to do? New affairs were exciting but they were also hard work. The first kiss, the first fuck had some drama. People were interesting at first. Then later, slowly but surely, all the flaws and madness would manifest themselves. I would become less and less to them; they would mean less and less to me.” (p 74)
“Where did all the women come from? The supply was endless. Each one of them was individual, different. Their pussies were different, their kisses were different, their breasts were different, but no man could drink them all, there were too many of them, crossing their legs, driving men mad. What a feast!” (p174)
“Every woman is different. Basically they seem to be a combination of the best and the worst– both magic and terrible. I’m glad that they exist, however.” (p188)
“Generally, I decided, it was better to wait, if you had any feeling for the individual. If you hated her right off, it was better to fuck her right off; if you didn’t, it was better to wait, then fuck her and hate her later on.” (p189)
“The car was parked in the lot in back of the antique store. The street to my left was backed up with traffic and I watched the people waiting patiently in the cars. There was almost always a man and a woman, staring straight ahead, not talking. It was, finally, for everyone, a matter of waiting. You waited and you waited– for the hospital, the doctor, the plumber, the madhouse, the jail, papa death himself. First the signal was red, then the signal was green. The citizens of the world ate food and watched TV and worried about their jobs or their lack of same, while they waited.” (p213)
“It was a Mexican place in a snide hippie district of Hermosa Beach. Bland, indifferent types. Death on the shore. Just phase out, breathe in, wear sandals and pretend it’s a fine world.” (p 226)
“There was something wrong with me: I did think of sex a great deal. Each woman I looked at I imagined being in bed with. It was an interesting way to pass airport waiting time. Women: I liked the colors of their clothing; the way they walked; the cruelty in some faces; now and then the almost pure beauty in another face, totally and enchantingly female. They had it over us: they planned much better and were better organized. While men were watching professional football or drinking beer or bowling, they, the women, were thinking about us, concentrating, studying, deciding– whether to accept us, discard us, exchange us, kill us or whether simply to leave us. In the end it hardly mattered; no matter what they did, we ended up lonely and insane.” (p241)
Recommended by my lifecoach, Dan TheHand.