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Cocksure Women and Hensure Men

        It seems to me there are two aspects to women. Their is the demure and the dauntless. Men have loved to dwell, in fiction at least, on the demure maiden whose inevitable reply is: Oh, yes, if you please, killd sir! The demure maiden, the demure spouse, the demure mother this is is still the ideal. A few maidens, mistresses and mothers are demure. A few pretend to be. But the vast majority are not. And they don't pretend to be. We don't expect a girl skilfuly driving her car to be demure, we expect her to be daultless. What good would demure and maidenly Members of Parliament be, inevitably responding: Oh, yes, if you please, kind sir! - Though of course there are masculine members of that kidney. - And a demure telephone girl? Or even a demure stenographer? Demureness, to be sure, is outwardly becoming, it is an outward mark of femininity, like bobbed hair. But it goes with inward dauntlessness. The girl who has got to make her way in life has got to be dauntless, and if she llas a pretty , demure manner with it, the luck girl. She kills two birds with two stones.

 man and woman

         With the two kinds of femininity go two kinds of confidence: There are the women who are cocksure, and the women who are hensure. A really up-to-date woman is a cocksl1re woman. She doesn't have a doubt nor a qualm. She is the modern type. Whereas the old-fashioned demure woman was sure as a hen is sure, that is, without knowing anything about it. She went quietly and busily clucking around, laying the eggs and rnothering the chickens in a kind of anxious dream that still was full of sureness. But not mental sureness. Her sureness was a physical condition, very soothing, but a condition out of which she could easily be startled or frightened.        

 

        It is quite amusing to see the two kinds of sureness in chickens. The cockel"el is, naturally, cocksure. He crows because he is certain it is day. Then the hen peeps out from under her wing. He marches to the door of the henhouse and pokes out his head assertively: Ah ha! daylight, of course,Just as I saId! - and he majestically steps down the chicken ladder towards terra firma, knowing that the hens will step cautiously after him, drawn by his confidence. So after him, cautiously, step the hens. He crows again: .Ha-ha! here we are!-It is indisputable, and the hens accept it entirely. He marches towards the house. From the house a person ought to appear, scattering corn. Why does the person' not appear? The cock will see to it. He is cocksure. He gives a loud crow in the doorway, and the person appears. The hens are suitably impressed but immediately devote all their henny consciousness to the scattered corn, pecking absorbedly, while the cock runs and fusses, cocksure that he is responsible for it all.

        So the day goes on. The cock finds a tit-bit, and loudly calls the hens. They scuffle up in henny surety , and gobble the tit-bit. But when they find a juicy morsel for themselves, they devour it in silence, hensure. Unless, of course, there are little chicks, when they most anxiously call the brood. But in her own dim surety, the hen is really much surer than the cock, in a different way. She marches off to lay her egg, she secures obstinately the nest she wants, she lays her egg at las~t, then steps forth again with prancing confidence, and gives that most assured of all sounds, the hensure cackle of a bird who has laid her egg. The cock, who is never so sure about anything as the hen is about the egg she has laid, immediately starts to cackle like the female of his species. He is pining to be hensure, for hensure is so much surer than cocksure.Nevertheless, cocksure is boss. When the chicken-hawk appears in the sky, loud are the cockerel's calls of alarm. Then the hens scuffle under the verandah, the cock ruffles his feathers on guard. The hens are numb with fear, they say: Alas, there is no health in us! How wonderful to be a cock so bold! - And they huddle, numbed.But ,their very numbness is hensurety.

        Just as the cock can cackle, however, as if he had laid the egg, so can the hen bird crow. She can more or less assum his cocksureness. And yet she is never so easy, cocksure, as she, used to be when she was hensure. Cocksure, she Is cocksure, but uneasy. Hensure, she trembles, but is easy.

        It seems to me just the same in the vast human farmyard. Only nowadays all the cocks are cackling and pretending to lay eggs, and all the hens are crowiqg and pretending to call the sun out of bed. If women today are cocksure, men are hensure. Men are timid, tremulous, rather soft and submissive, easy in their very henlike tremulousness. They only want to ,be spoken to gently. So the women step forth with a good loud cock-a-doodle-do!

        

woman and man

 

         The targedy about cocksure women is that they are more cocky, in their assurance,than the cock himself.They never realize that when the cock gives his loud crow in the morning,he listens acutely afterwards,to hear if some other wretch of a cock dare crow defiance, challenge.To the cock,there is always defiance,challenge,danger and death on the clear air;or the possibility thereof.

        But alas, when the hen crows, she listens for no defiance or challenge. When she says cock-a-doodle-do! then it is unanswerable. The cock listens for an answer, alert. But the hen knows she is unanswerable. Cock-a-doodle-do! and there it is, take it or leave it!

        And it is this that makes the cocksureness of women so dangerous, so devastating. It is really out of scheme, it is not in relation to the rest of things. So we have the tragedy of cocksure women.They find, so often, that instead of having laid an egg, they have laid a vote,or an empty ink-bottle, or some other absolutely unhatchable object, which means nothing to them.

        It is the tragedy of the modern woman. She becomes cocksure, she puts all her passion and energy and years of her life into some effort or assertion, without ever listening for the denial which she ought to take into count. She is cocksure, but she is a hen all the time. Frightened of her own benny self, she rushes to mad lengths about votes, or welfare, or sports, or business: she is marvellous, out-manning the man. But alas, it is all fundamentally disconnected. It is all an attitude, and one day the attitude will become a weird cramp, a pain,' and then it will collapse. And when it has corapseda. and she looks at the eggs she has laid, votes,or miles of typewriting, years of business efficiency suddenly, because she is a hen and not a cock, all she has done will turn into pure nothingness to her . Suddenly it all falls out of relation to her basic henny self, and she realizes she has lost her life. The lovely henny surety, the hensureness which is the real bliss of every female, has been denied her: she had never had it. Having lived her life with such utmost strenuousness and cocksureness, she has missed her life altogether. Nothingness! .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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