A father doesn't give up : The story of a used man
by Karin Jäckel
(German, 2001, Rowohlt, 318 pp., pb., ISBN 3 499 60692 5; DM 19.90; German title: Ein Vater gibt nicht auf : Die Geschichte eines gebrauchten Mannes)
It was one of those mild October days that mark the Fall-weather in the Swabian area. Fall had painted the chestnut trees with gold and ocher. Just like
highly-polished chocolate kisses the fruits jumped out of their peels, into the gutters or into the pockets of the children that beat them with cries of joy out of their prickly hedgehog coverings.
The wine, too, was ripe. In all inns the twig brooms that announced that the "new-one" was being served were on display.
"Feather-white" Uschi called it and raved about the young wines from the Rhine, the Moselle and the Nahe, with whom she was more familiar and that, it went without saying, tasted incomparably better than the red Trollinger that the Wuertembergians loved so much.
Nevertheless, she and George loved to sit in one of those street cafés or at Anton's and "slurped" a pint, or a little more, too, of the "new-one."
On this evening, too, they had enjoyed the golden Fall in its loveliest splendor. Up under the roof of the old Art-Nouveau-style house the wind brought the last sounds of the dying day into the windows. While Uschi was in the bathroom, getting ready for bed, George put on some music.
When she came, he kept his eyes closed. He breathed in her scent, stretched out his arms for her. "Come!"
"If you want to have sex with me," she said in a tone that would have scared a starved vampire away from delivering his deathly kiss, "then I would like to ask you that in future you announce it a little ahead of time."
It took George several minutes to find his voice. "You can't possibly be serious?"
"Oh yes, I have to be able to plan!"
The thoughts in George's head were dancing the Polka and the Tango-Brazil. "That can't be real! That woman needs a Psychiatrist. She is a few bricks short of a full load! Now I'm supposed to hand in a formal request with seven carbon copies:
Eight days from tomorrow at 21:30 hrs I would like to put in a round of sex with you. That's not how any love can thrive."
"You only want to punish me because I've done something again that doesn't
suit you!", he yelled. "If from now on I may only go to bed with you according to plan, or perhaps have to because the plan calls for it, that sure kills my mood for it all."
"That's not how that is meant," she said and sat herself on one of the lower rungs of the ladder to the bed. "I only want that you know that after 9:30 I'm not capable anymore to take anything in. And now I don't want to talk about it anymore. It is late and I'm tired."
George tried in vain to moderate his galled tone. "Are you aware at all of what you are saying?"
"Yes," she nodded, with a facial expression that was between a smile and arrogance. "That's simply how it is with me. You have to accept that."
"You sure put on a nice act for the last few months," he growled bitterly. "Those spontaneous sex attacks must have been fairly stressful for you."
"Oh, leave me alone already with your offended-macho routine!", she bit back. "I want to sleep now."
When he thought about it later, he never could figure out how he had managed to lay himself peacefully down beside her, to hold a book in front of his face and to actually do some reading; to simply ignore his bride who just laid there, rolled into herself like an embryo.
At least exactly for three minutes. After that she rose furiously and yelled at him: "You are only doing that to keep me from sleeping. Must you provoke me constantly?"
George could barely help not to make a face. She appeared to him as being unbelievably childish. Here he went peacefully into his bed at 9:30 in the evening already, so that she could go to work early, well-rested,
so she could do her idiotic ground-consistency tests at the graveyard, and now she even forbade him to read?
"My dear Uschi," he said quietly but with emphasis. "I would recommend to you, not once, ever, to speak like that to me. And, by the way, thank God you still have your own apartment. There you can forbid me to read, whenever you want. But not here. Is that clear?"
Crying hysterically, with her face contorted, slamming the doors, she left his studio a few moments later.
George could breathe easier, as if hundreds of pounds of weight had been taken from his chest. The pages of his book trembled a little between his fingers, as he laid back in his bed, enjoying the whole width of it, which belonged entirely to himself. And nothing else was as clear to him on that evening than the resolve that he had to bring things to an end with that woman. He had no intentions to be married to one that had lost her marbles and to ruin his life.
"Faire l'amour according to plan, sleeping according to plan, reading according to plan, eating according to plan, dressing and undressing according to plan, the whole life according to plan, non, non, chérie, not with me. You'll have to find yourself someone else dumb enough."
It is a shame that Karin Jaeckel has not yet found an English-language publisher. We miss out on so much, on so many insights that few English-speaking writers seem to be able to get around expressing because they labour too hard under the oppressive burden of
political correctness not that Karin Jaeckel escaped with impunity the wrath of
radical feminist ideologues. Karin Jaeckel experienced harassing and terrifying phone calls at all hours of the night, hate mail and worse, and, amongst other things, a two-year publishing boycott that came to an end a couple or so years ago.
If you wish to see excerpts from other books by Karin Jaeckel, there are some that are most certainly of concern to any
Fathers Rights- or pro-family activist at
For German-language excerpts from the book see
Sieh auch Karin Jäckel's Nachwort zum Buch (auch in deutsch, aber nicht im Buch enthalten):
You may be able to get a few related insights from the reference shown in the footnote.
Care, Values and the Future of Welfare
Strands 1 and 2 - Workshop Papers
Note: Although Carol Smart's summary of the history of the past 50 years of marriage and divorce legislation in her paper is a fairly comprehensive, accurate reflection of the changing opinions of social engineers over time, the conclusions reached by the author are wide off the mark. She would have benefited greatly from having read the
testimonies by children of divorce before she cast off marriage so lightly.
Contrary to what feminists would have us believe, a random collection of people who happen to eat out of the same fridge does not make a family. WHS
ESRC RESEARCH GROUP ON CARE, VALUES AND THE FUTURE OF WELFARE
University of Leeds
Workshop Paper No 2
Prepared for Workshop One
Frameworks for Understanding Policy Change and Culture
Friday 29 October 1999
DIVORCE IN ENGLAND 1950 - 2000:
A MORAL TALE?
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