the women in my family could teach a master class on the black art of manipulation. some of us (me included, i hope) understand that skill, along with the dark power it gives us, and act accordingly. we respect the dangerous nature we have. others, on the other hand, have honed that blade to a deadly razor sharpness, swinging it wildly to ward off danger and mold the world around them into the shape they most desire. and as much as i believe in the equality of the genders, i find a special difference between men and women when it comes to twisting people. i've known some bad men in my life. these guys have been evil, criminally and morally. they've done some low-down, snake-like things. i've met men who can persuade people very well. but the very best manipulators i've ever known in my life have been women. these women weave tapestries to get what they need, what they want.
in to kill a mockingbird, scout says, again, as i had often met it in my own church, i was confronted with the impurity of women doctrine that seemed to preoccupy all clergymen. it's a common theme in many religions: women as temptresses, sirens, seductive and dangerous. hell, it's why a lot of backward tribal cultures force women into body-covering draperies. they don't think their men are tough enough to resist the inherent power of a woman to draw a man into the ways of sin. it's completely, twistedly paradoxical: women are so powerful that they have to be subjugated for the good of the culture.
but there's a tiny grain of truth to the idea that many women have special skill in convincing people - regardless of gender - to come around to their way of thinking. and i've never seen a better set of connivers than the ones with whom i share a bloodline. to watch the poison cast between these women, given with the sweetest of smiles, is a sickeningly fascinating sight to behold. it's glorious in its horror. you admire the skill as you loathe the result. and it's my goal to walk the razor edge between using the good aspects of our family business to my advantage and eschewing the dark, twisted side of that talent.
i could wreak so much havoc with this. it's a damn good thing that i don't want to.