Sunday, July 3, 2011

Being Tough

His photo shows him to have wavy hair - (ugh) - with a distinct part - (yech).   He wears a cravat - (yikes) - and has, in one hand a cigarette IN A HOLDER, as if he were Holiday Golightly. Under the other arm he holds...wait for it....a poodle.  What a wanker.
Of course, it's a quite old - 1950s? - photo of Nicholas Monsarrat, on the dustcover of his book recounting his years in escort vessels, during WW2, across the north Atlantic, with unimaginable and prolonged cold, hardship, fear and peril.  Icy, dangerous seas.  Constant alert and fear of uboats determined to kill you.  Grief of loss.  Death a constant shadow.  Intermittent catastrophe, as another vessel is targeted and sunk.  A monumental and prolonged endurance trial.
If you survived, or even as a coward lived through it, you had no need to strike macho poses later.  You could confidently wear a part in your hair, carry a cigarette holder or a poodle, and wear a cravat. You had proved yourself.
Times have changed, as they do.
Locally, (and I suspect that this is wider spread than here), there is an emphasis on making boys "tough".
I would like them to change this word to "strong", the quality that allowed such as Nicholas Monsarrat to endure.


R.H. said...
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R.H. said...

Frances, I'll tell you truly, the bravest men I've known have also been the finest gentlemen.