Alterosexual Love and Friendship:
Similisexual Love and Friendship.
Before we enter further upon analyses of the Uranian and Uraniad Intersexes, some consideration in this chapter and its successor will be of importance to readers who for the first time find themselves analyzing attentively sexual feelings.
Love, as distinguished from other human emotions, particularly as distinguished from friendship, is the attraction exerted on one human being over another through the quality of our aesthetic sensitiveness; the quality of our sentiment, more or less refined, for beauty. The feeling includes distinctively our wish to possess the object that we love by physical connection with ourselves. We desire to unite ourselves to the being that we love, as closely as possible by a physical nearness. At the same time, we seek often to give ourselves up, in an inevitable personal surrender. The two impulses, the wish to possess, and the impulse to surrender, are inextricably blent in real love, and as a rule cannot be parted. The seeking for possession, the impulse to give ourselves as we achieve it, must be both physical and psychical, if one wishes to feel the fullest mystery of love as a passion. If the sentiment be only physical it is not perfect love, though it is a love. If it be only psychologic, if we do not demand so much the physical possession, nor feel the wish to surrender ourselves as a matter of course in attaining it, then again we do not fully love. There must be the duality of feeling.
Now, friendship, as that feeling is commonly understood, does not include this dual desire; this seeking for physical possession. Friendship sometimes hardly demands large psychical possession, or feels a profound spiritual self-surrender. The physical thrill is not of it, no matter how ardent may the friendship be. Logically and clearly, friendship is divorced from the sexual attraction so inseparable from love, and from love's great master-principle of attraction. Our intense admiration of the mere beauty
of a man or woman, that is to say of what seems to us their beauty, is not determining in friendship. Hence friendship can never be as vivid and masterful a power, not to say passion, as love. The latter ever remains the most vivid, mysterious and elementary emotion of the human race.
If friendship be free from real love-emotion, then friendship will be found to reach truest expression between individuals of the same sex. It represents thus what we will call "similisexual friendship". I am not disparaging here warm and dispassionate friendships between the opposite sexes, constantly met, and so-called (by a term long mis-used) "Platonic" in their nature. In place of that phrase we will call these "heterosexual friendships". But, no matter how firm and deep are countless instances of heterosexual friendships between persons of the opposite sexes, they do not compare favourably with similisexual friendships. Too frequently they attack elementary purity of the sentiment.Frequently also are they more or less sustained with self-deceptions; no matter what arguments and examples may bring against such a charge. We shall find it needful presently to question nicely the nature of many heterosexual friendships.
We shall be obliged also to question, even more sharply in the close study of the Uranian and Uraniad life, the character of many similisexual ties, whether between men and men, or women and women; and our conventional ideas of them are likely to be changed before the analysis of this study will be finished. The whole theory of so-called Platonic friendships, of psychic ties of heterosexual kind, is ill-sustained by realities in human-nature and social history. The finest, most unalloyed friendship must be similisexual; even if we admit presently, in a sort of paradox that many relationships seeming precisely friendship are not so; many that seem not so being precisely such.
There is no grossening of human-nature, no injustice to the finer psychic qualities in us, when we accept the idea that love from one human being toward another must include the wish to possess physically, and the yearning to give oneself, physically. Even if such a rule seems to accentuate the merely animal-nature in man, we cannot get far away from the conclusion. If we are honest with ourselves and humanity we ought not to try to get away from it. Love must contain the sexual desire, the wish for physical possession of beauty. So long as we cannot descry clearer than we do the place of the brute-world in the mysterious general scheme of Nature we need not be too conservative about admitting ourselves as animals in many instincts. Here may be noted, à-propos of the brute-world, that friendship between beasts is a sentiment much less often marked than is one or other degree of sexual admiration and attraction. Interesting examples of friendships between brutes, wild or domestic, are often met; but they are disproportionate to the tendency of animals toward companionship through heterosexual love, or similisexual love: as will be touched on later.
In speaking of human love, we must differentiate in it certain strong affections often called love—maternal love, filial love, fraternal love, and so on. Such sentiments however spontaneous, deep and pure, are not love, as that sentiment really is, and as it should be distinguished from all non-sexual phases of our regard. Parental, filial, fraternal affections are called "love" only by a thousand-year-old looseness of ideas and terms. Such sentiments ought to be classed more popularly as "natural affections" just as by that term they are classed legally. However beautiful, they are far less certain, less genuine less obscure and less mysterious than love. They refer rather to friendship. They lack the essential sexual note, the desire for possessing
beauty. Indeed we may grade the various kindly human sentiments that we feel for our fellow-beings as thus: love, friendship, natural affection, friendly human interest.
The instant that the physical desire, with or without a concurrent spiritual desire, springs up in us, stirred to life by a quickening sense of physical beauty in the object of our interest, then there cannot be logical question of our sentiment being more than mere strong friendship, or more than a minor "natural affection." We are in the presence of passional sexual love; of such love in its lighter or more vehement character perhaps, but of erotic love. It is love, no matter what are the real or supposed sexes of the persons concerned. The instant that even vaguely we want to possess, and even vaguely feel that we would be willing to surrender ourselves along with the possession, then no matter how "impossible" how terrifying, how bewildering such an impulse be to us we love, we love sexually. From friendship, we are already far afield.
not admitted as
But with this logical and inevitable conLegitimate in elusion, we come lace to lace with a convention long-sustained in generally
intelligent circles of human thought with which
we are put into startling and bewildered warfare. During a long succession of centuries, including especially those influenced by Jewish and Christian theological systems of morals and law, has been affirmed and re-affirmed, has been asserted in public literature and in private conversation, has been held as as a basal truth, that a man should love, should be sexually drawn to, a woman only; never to another man. In like manner, that a woman should love, should be attracted sexually, only to a man; never to another woman.
We have been assured, peremptorily, argumentatively, for at least a couple of thousand years, that if a man do not feel his sexual nature going out toward a woman, then something is distinctly minus in his body or in his temperament. But if he goes a step farther, and not only feels no sexual attraction to woman, but by some mysterious psychologic processes finds himself sexually attracted toward men, feels an admiring physical desire for them and their beauty, feels concurrent yearning to surrender himself physically to a man, youthful or elder, then he is a diseased abnormality, a shocking degenerate from manhood, a monster or a maniac. During long centuries the statute-books of the majority of European nations have expressly recognized such a man only as a monster and anomaly: and in respect of his working-out his sexual impulses of the kind, he ranks legally as a felon, in even many countries to-day.
Similar has been the popular ethical attitude of mind toward those mysterious, ungovernable impulses by which a certain equally large proportion of women are, contrary to the generality of the sex, drawn toward other women by sexual love, often along with complete sexual coldness toward men.
Less Rebunked by
But in the case of such abnormal impulses on the part of women, it is important to observe that both socially and legally the matter is far lighter regarded. In fact, it is often smiled at as a feminine peccadillo of perverseness, a womanish weakness or sentimental excess, neglectable compared with what is called " unnatural " love in a man. The organic and bodily expression of a woman's sexual passion for another woman is less concrete than is the erotic embrace of the male. This too, affects the general social sentiment. A woman giving way to similisexual temperament is not a felon. Scarcely ever is her impulse spoken of by law-codes. The Mosaic Canon, so severe as to similisexual love between men, and made the basis of much of our modern system of ethical law, ignores women in its denunciations, wholly. The New Testament Canon, the continuation of the Mosaic system in large part, makes no references to female impulses of the sort, except in the Pauline pastoral to the Romans.
tolerance of the
Such is a brief statement of similisexual love, and of its positive distinctions from friendships; whether heterosexual or similisexual. We are all of us familiar, from youth up, with the attitude of the world, intolerant, horrified, arbitrary, toward any mature phases of it. We have heard it mocked in our boyish school-days, often with boyish hypocrisy. We have grown to manhood and to womanhood, accepting it as a vice and perversion, rightfully opposed by law, by all sound social morality. We have turned marvelling from the examples incessantly coming to light, existing all the world over, of especially a man's sexual love for another man. We have also restrictedly, confused it with a phase of it that demands always a swift and a severe repression, the debauchery of immature and innocent youth. We have wondered
over the revelations of medical specialists' pamphlets; or at the testimony in a police-court dock during some "scandal-trial". By our elementary moral education, we have been taught that such a passion to-day is a perverse lapse to pagan and barbarous morals. Homosexual love when met, for instance, in particularly the Oriental and Latin races, we are told should mean imperfect moral education and regrettable racial instincts that are inferior to, especially, the Anglo-Saxon temperament and to Anglo-Saxon ethics; a relic of sheer primitive Eastern and Latin depravity, to which the civilized world lapses, just as a child commits a nastiness or tells a lie, because he has not outgrown evil predispositions. That such similisexual love is, now as ever, capable of agreement with the finest and purest social and moral civilization, the most distinct aestetic superiority, with the strongest religious quality in the race or the individual—these ideas will not be endured for a moment by the average Anglo-Saxon. He regards them as out of discussion. He has not even found it worth while, as a special and ethical problem, to think twice about them seriously, in his life.
Certain More In-
ions and Ideas on
It is true that, gradually, a more thoughtful element in general society has reflected uneasily, unwillingly. Confronted with history, with broad anthropologic theories, with startling incidents in all classes of contemporary social life, and with the discussions of foreign psychologic physicians set before them, many men and women have altered their attitude of repugnance even to look into the topic. Some English psychologists have gone so far as to reach, and to remain in, a tolerantly conservative position toward it. They have met with too many facts for feeling honestly clear as to old theories, however long-established. But this conservative class has not gone much further than the admission that "a dark problem in morals", "an unexplainable element in psychology"
is involved. If one argue with them against classifying all homosexual impulses with barbarism, pointing out that precisely this instinct of similisexual love between man and man has always existed, side by side, with the finest social life, with the most virile militarism, with the highest moral and aesthetic civilizations of the past, even to being recognized as a great factor for social good, the argument is not accepted for a moment.
trary to Christian
For, one is assured that no ancient civilizations obeyed the Christian Dispensation, or compare well with it; that Christian morals as the basis of all sound social and moral law, abhor the homosexual impulse; that the Christian Scriptures have placed it in the category of gravest sins and felonies: and that homosexualism entered into the decadence of races and nations, as an essential factor. We are also informed that similisexual love "has relatively disappeared"; is more and more forgotten, has become vagabond a moral perversion from humanity to-day, in all "high civilizations" and all "superior moral life". We are assured that human nature has emphatically
"changed," in this respect as
in others thanks to especially the powerful influence of the contemporary Judaic-Christian basis of social ethics. To all such replies, or to others equally without foundation in fact, one can quote only Christopher Sly, and exclaim that for the sake of those who believe possible such an atrophy of human
nature, and who ignore plain and too-often distressing facts—"'Tis an
excellent piece of work; would it were done!" We shall in another chapter estimate more minutely this matter.
Let us now turn to what is generally accepted as friendship between men and men. We will revert to what has been termed "similisexual friendship as distinguished from love; and will narrow
our terminology by calling such masculine friendships "homosexual" friendships. I use the word "friendship" in this connection subject to general ideas on the matter; only, in fact, till I can make clearer to the reader the true nature of its tie, in numerous examples about us.
In the deep, often unaccountable, friendships between men, whether historic or commonplace, whether observed in the instances of others or in our own personal experience, has the reader never questioned if there be not some warmer, often more obscure and irresistible impulse promoting the sentiment? Certainly the need of referring-back many intensely intimate, passionate and "reasonless" homosexual friendships, so-called, to some sexual mystery often impresses itself on the psychologist. Various traits in such relationships quicken our suspicion. Constantly, disconcertingly occurs a new version of the old school-boy rhyme about Dr. Fell: we do not know, after all, why we like Jack or Harry, we only know that we do like them. Much opposes our sentiment often. But nothing conquers it.
Types" in Male
en makes Sim-
ship a Puzzle
One frequent characteristic is that the two men are not obviously harmonious psychically: not in their classes, their temperaments, their educations, intelligences, tastes, prejudices, practical interests and speech. Another curious objection is met when the two men-friends are not spiritual enough to be influenced by recondite intellectual currents, and are peculiarly averse from giving way to finer sorts of sentimentalities; concealing from the world any lapse toward such "weakness," as it seems to them. Again one understands less the basis of certain "friendships" when the time has been too short to allow so strong a mutual attraction to be developed by a gradual knowledge and study of one another. For, often in homosexual friendship, as in alterosexual love,
one man merely crosses the pathway of the other. A few words, a few glances—and lo, relations perhaps mutually in a perfect balance or perhaps quite unequal, but affecting henceforth whatever are life and character for each, or for one the two men, spring into irresistible activity. Scarcely yet quite aware of each other's existence and Ego, a mutuality still unreasoned-out, a flower of passion, vague or absolute, germinated and ripened like the Hindoo juggler's mango-tree illusion, such an emotion crystallizes to one of the most beautiful psychologic situation that human nature experiences. This suddenness, of friendship, as a thing illogical as sudden love, is an every-day phenomenon. The men concerned in it are of every class and type. The same conditions of mystery in such processes apply, of course, to many sudden, intimate friendships between women.
The word "passionate" was written a moment ago, in speaking of the intenser and more concentrated ardours of male homosexual friendships. With that quality we reach what sharply engages the attention of the explorer into psychology of the affections. For, ever and ever again, in these warm, profound, apparently normal homosexual friendships, can be divined, or else is outspoken, the relative incapability of any woman to be an important sentimental and sexual influence over such preoccupied natures. The men concerned, or one of them, may present the type of the firm "holder-off" from any relations to women except what are relatively secondary, even apathetic. That is, to woman as a sex. She seems to have no power over the deepest emotional nature, in such men. She plays only a superficial, tolerated, casual rôle in their lives from day to day. Such men seem to say of love for a woman:
"It is to be all made of fantasy,
All made of passion, and all made of wishes,
All adoration, duty and observance.
And so am I for—no woman!”
ter, the Woman-
We can indeed separate men, roughly-classed, into three distinct groups as to their social attitudes toward woman. They are either woman-haters, or woman-tolerators, or woman worshippers. These three divisions take in pretty completely male humanity, past and present. The woman-worshipper, or gynolator, is the most frequently met, provided we can rely on the sincerity of his outward demeanor. But often he is more politic than sincere; appreciating the need socially of playing his deferential rôle to the full. For, just this type, the woman-worshipper, frequently is disclosed to us in history, biography and daily social life as in his most intimate relationship, only if united by friendship of passionate sort with some man-friend.
The same statement is more clearly true of the second-named class, the woman-tolerators. Their attitude—civil, graceful, reticent, dispassionate toward women-acquaintances protects them from critical rebuke from women about them: but includes no real homage to woman as an indispensable factor in the mental or physical well-being of such males. This attitude is not of the sort to bring reproach on such men as generally selfish or aesthetically unimpressionable. Often they are nothing of the sort.
The declared, or undeclared woman-hater, in all sorts of protean forms, Irequently exaggerates his pose and enmity. Sometimes, too, it is a jest with him. But the instances are countless when such aversion is neither his joke nor that of acquaintances. His gradations vary from downright boorish enmity to courteous scorn: and of course they may be the result of some painful experience: not enmity that springs out of an inborn repugnance or indifference. Succeding pages of this study can painfully illustrate this fact. But
frequently the woman-hater, outspoken or tacit, is neither an eccentric nor a misanthrope; but a gynophobe by his inborn, unchangeable nature. With such women-haters, when men of finer mould and character, we are likely to meet often an interesting special type, the man born for friendship, for "friendship" only; with his own sex only. We discern that his emotional nature is anchored to that, is satisfied with that. Such a man's innermost soul is created to thrill in that masculine atmosphere, as in no other. "Friendship" becomes the secret fire and spirit-throb of his social existence. In such a sentiment arise his profoundest, his most sacred joys and griefs, his most vivid enthusiasms and repulsions. There pivot themselves instinctively his sharpest differences, his passionate dependencies, his most humbling reconciliations, his noblest sacrificies, fullest altruisms, even to utter self-forgetfulness. By this spell the man's Ego also can commit itself to melancholy errors, to cruel disillusions of sentiments; can become subjected to an hundred influences for good or harm in his character and life, all exactly as in that other more widely understood relation—that to a woman—the alterosexual love. This deep "friendship" (again I am using a term subject frequently to question) often developes when both parties, or one of the two men, can be set down distinctively as woman-tolerator, or woman-hater. Less frequently it comes to our notice with the woman-worshipper, though we shall see presently how it can be consistent in a most significant degree, with the outward professions of some absolute Don Juan.
happy medium between the womanhater and the woman-tolerator, one frequent in smart social life, is admirably defined by the brilliant French dramatist, Donnay, in a dialogue between two men, in his penetrating psychologic comedy "Amants," where the cynical de Sambré ridicules the woman-adoring Vétheuil for his servitude to the sex. De Sambré says:
"I have had commerce, that's the word, with different womenkind. Rut I 've never loved any of them!… My dear fellow, its all very simple. The Orientals, they have perfectly understood woman; they have put her in the place where she belongs. We don't live in the Orient but in the Occident; so of course it isn't a matter of making our women wear veils, of keeping them shut up between four walls and eunuchs; but there is the necessity for us of shutting up the moukère morally, intellectually, in a harem. That is to say, we must not permit her to go wandering around in the domain of our thoughts, any more than in the avenues of our hearts the streets of our occupations. You understand?… Oh yes, you ask what is to be done if she deceives us? as is inevitable, for she will bore herself to death in the moral harem. Let her deceive! Ho you think I am bothering about mere contingencies? No, no, the thing is that in such conditions woman does not trouble a man any more that is the essential! Her power over a man is curiously reduced; then when she gives herself, whether to you or to your neighbour, you can put the fact down to real value, and not to a factitious value, the result of our prejudices, our pride, our fancies … You suppress idle gallantry, you suppress paying your court, jealousy, all such things which take up an enormous amount of time, when even they do not take up a man's entire life! Look at the sort of man who at twenty-five years of age is still influenced by women! He can do nothing really useful, serious, in life. How old are you, Vétheuil? I don't know—thirty-four perhaps. What have you done with your time? You've lost it in women's bedrooms, till now you are fairly isolated under the skirts of the women, sunk in the middle of the, ocean of the world, like a diver under his glass bell, as Jean-Haul Richter says. Ah, my dear fellow! there are more interesting things to do, more interesting problems to solve, in any science you please!"
Historic Types of
Between Men of
The types of great "friendships", of passionate intimacy, between two men oi sensitive mutuality through life, or long periods of life, have multiplied through the world's social history. Such male pairs have become household names; beloved ideals forever. We go back to the very nursery, to school-forms and our earliest personal interests in humanity to meet them. Legend, myth, history and religion blend in their circle. They are so frequent even in our own unromantic date, that they almost make it needless to mention here more than a few typical instances. Damon and Pythias, Orestes and Pylades, Harmodios and Aristogeiton, Nisus and Euryalus, Alexander the Great and Hephaestion, Julian the Apostate
and Sallustius, stand forth out of Grecian and Roman classics. David and Jonathan, Christ and John, the beloved young Disciple, are familiar Biblical "friendships" of exceeding beauty and sentimental tenderness. Coming down into the light of common day the list shines brightly. All tempers, all races, all professions add to it, be its colouring now of one tinge, now of another. Michael Angelo Buonarrotti and Tommaso Cavalieri, Cinq-Mars (Henri d'Effiat) and François de Thou, Shakespeare and the young Earl of Southampton. Sir Philip Sydney and his three beloved friends Greville, Dyer and Languet; Montagne and Etienne de la Boetie, Erasmus of Rotterdam and "that one companion of my innermost life"; the learned Beza and his "other self", young Audebert: Edward II of England and Piers Gaveston; James I of England and those intimacies, so strangely passional which James maintained with Robert Carr, Villiers, (Buckingham) and others; Frederick the Great with Baron Trenck, Lieutenant Kette, Graf von Görz, and others; the dauntless Charles XII of Sweden with brother-soldiers sometimes far inferior in rank; the philanthropic Bishop Jocelyn of Clogher and the ill-fortuned soldier Henry Moverly; Lord Byron with Lord Clare, Nicolo Giraud and Eddleston; Horace Walpole in the one—perhaps—deep sentiment of Walpole's life, Sir Henry Conway; Grillparzer and Georg Altmütter; the masterly historian Johannes Müller and Bonstetten; the unhappy Ludwig II of Bavaria with many men whose kingdoms were only of art or letters, including Richard Wagner, and the gifted and erratic actor Joseph Kainz: the fiery General Skobeleff and his mysterious "Vassilieff" not to mention two or three others; General Gordon brave, yet tender, with Lord Arthur Hamilton—but no need to cite further the record of typically profound "friendships". Worth noting is the fact that many of them refer us not only to aesthetic life, but to the military profession and temperament, to the most genuine and even stalwart masculinity of physiques and occupations, with no trace or
possible shade of effeminacy, or of a degeneracy of mind or body in such men-types.
Nor are impressive and fine homosexual and similisexual "friendships" the property of cultivated natures only. The humblest circles of a country village, the rudest regiment of foot-soldiery, the ship, the factory, the shop, the prison-pen and the chain-gang, tell the same tale of one man's heart meeting another's heart, with a regard that the Scriptural words long ago ranked truthfully as "passing the love of women." And in natures otherwise immature we find striking examples of a ripened and profound sentiment. Between mere lads, youths in schools and colleges, are evolved sex-dramas of tragical force; the child the father of the man in this, as in other things.
The Illusive Ele-
ment of Many
called: and cer-
tainty of Dispute.
In a large proportion of such typical "homosexual friendships" no third party is in a position to perceive the real origin and quality of the sentiment. The world takes for granted that it is based in a strictly intellectual process. It is regarded as a mental affiliation, primarily a result of tastes and circumstances more or less matter of fact. That it can be an absolutely or partially erotic impulse, an irresistible sexual attraction, a love, a sexual desire of the man, either completely or fractionally, this is frequently not perceived. Nor is popularly admitted that logical ground for such a construction of it can exist in normal and moral human natures. Little is the fact understood that while many, many such friendships do, indeed begin and progress as relatively spiritual and dispassionate relations, they can develop into a similisexual love: which love is their mystic raison d'être,
without quite obvious attributes of it in natures concerned. Certainly into similisexual, homosexual loves, qualified as "friendships" can be fused much that is wholly intellectual, and unsexual. But when the subtle erotic quality wakens,
either earlier or later in the bond, often it never loses its dominant chemical force in the tie till the bodily powers and sex-emotion alike decline with declining life, quite as in the case of alterosexual love. But let us observe that merely to suggest the presence of sexual passion on the part of either friend, the workings of a conscious or sub-conscious sexual nature, "the desire of beauty," is to meet a shocked, a disgusted incrudelity.
"Surely we know better than that!
" No, no! In such a friendship as So-and So with So-So, no such abominable perversion exists." So cries, perhaps, the reader of these lines, as he reflects on examples of close and tender masculine intimacies that he feels sure he "knows inside-out," either historic ones or as mere instances about him that are pertinent; or as he recalls his own friendships. The suggestion of physical impulses in them sets the average observer vis-à-vis with what he calls vile, monstrous and unnatural. In fact, the idea of a physical passion between man and man, as between women and
women, he cannot "understand," cannot conceive
its concrete satisfaction. It seems to him to outrage all sexualism, the logic of virility and femininity; especially virility. There will be time presently to discuss whether in masculine friendships the element of a satisfied physical desire offers anything unnatural and abnormal. With the study of the Uranian and Uraniad Intersexes we come upon that matter.
Germ in Friend-
Meantime, however displeasing to the reader, let it be affirmed that all real friendships between men have a sexual germ. Also can one declare it as a perfectly assured fact, in hundreds of instances of noble and honoured friendships, those suggesting the "model," the "ideal" sort, between men, that the concrete sexual tie and its satisfaction, have been of the first importance in the relation. That has been originally its master-factor. That has rendered such
so-called "friendship" the most concentrated and absorbing of similisexual loves. No matter what have been the biographic glosses and subterfuges, no matter what have been the amiable fictions, no matter how indignant have been the denials, the real bond was welded by a profound, mysterious, noble, passionate sexualism. Such too, are examples that every day could disclose about us, right and left. Everywhere are the ties absolutely embodying the antique, eternal sentiment; yet trembling at revelation of it to the outside world. The link is a marriage of the body as well as of the soul. It is a love: not a friendship. It is the supremely virile love, expressing itself as human nature, naturally and inevitably, ever has expressed itself in a vast proportion of all races and grades of mankind. But such physical erotism in multitudinous instances has not a jot impaired the high spiritual quality of the relation. It has often enriched it. The psychic and the physical have been blent in it, in an harmonious chemistry, too subtle and natural for vulgar analysis. The bodily and the spiritual passion have been each the complement
of the other, by Nature's initiative
, and by Divine impulsion.
Women on the
Part of Many
Men: Its Un-
We may often be misled by one trait external to such mysterious passion in similisexual intimacies—the attitude of one or both friends toward women. Damon is not a woman-hater, not a mere woman-tolerator, perhaps: but a woman-amateur, even to being a coureur des femmes
at least by repute. Pythias often plays his social role of woman-enthusiast, with the finest touches of art and nature. But the two friends knows what we do not know. Their comedy can be smiled at or deplored by them, according to its difficulties and necessities. Marriage can hide the real situation of the similisexual love. But marriage can try in vain to expel it. Damon remains Damon, Pythias remains
Pythias, to one another, no matter what upper currents of their emotional life help them or oblige them to keep their secret. In the majority of such really similisexual bonds, the attitude toward women ranges from the generally cordial and admiring, but never self-committing, to the cold and aloof one. The man never wholly surrenders himself; even when he appears to do so. His real self, his full, absolute Ego, surrenders only with his male Mend. We shall understand shortly why this is inevitably of such intense personal significance to him, for his joy or grief, for his good or ill; why so often he feels, with a sentiment far deeper and more sexual than is guessed, the message in Emerson's vibrant lines on male friendships, and the "hidden life" in them:
"A ruddy drop of manly blood
The surging sea outweighs.
The world uncertain comes and goes,
The lover, rooted, stays.
My careful heart was free again:
"O, friend," my bosom said,
Through thee alone the sky is arched,
Through thee, the rose is red!
All things through thee take nobler form,
And look beyond the earth;
And is the mill-round of our fate,
A sun-path in thy worth!
Me, too, thy nobleness has taught
To master my despair;
The fountains of my hidden life
Are through thy friendship fair."