The Patriarch(y)

“In the old days, men used to have power,” Father seethes as he laments having to ask Mother for permission to do something. Because he knows, in his heart of hearts (or loin of loins), that she is the one who controls—“dictates”—what goes on. And he has had it. Maybe, he thinks, I never should have let her believe she had power in the first place. The obsession that men, specifically, have with power is likely because 1) they’ve historically been the ones to hoard it and 2) they know how worthless they truly are without the illusion of their power. Which, if we’re being frank, could easily be stripped if women showed a greater commitment to the Lysistrata method. The way men fuck these days, it’s not that difficult to implement a sex strike, for women are increasingly aware that their vibrators are capable of giving them far more satisfaction than any dick ever could. Mother certainly knows that much is true after years trying to get off with Father to no avail. Like the majority of men, Father has little stamina. Violet knew this from years of being able to hear the sad grunts through her bedroom wall, oh so thin enough to make it impossible not to hear during those rare moments when Mother and Father would attempt copulation. Luckily or unluckily, another sibling was never to appear as a result, making Vi the lone spawn.

The only good thing about growing up instead of staying young and “naïve” forever was that it meant she started sneaking out of the house a lot more often… though it didn’t really matter, for her high school years began just when Father and Mother gave up on sex altogether. Who knows what Father did for “release”—what nether region he might have ventured out toward in order to fulfill the insatiable appetite that all men have. Most especially older men. As for Mother, Violet was well-aware she had been relying on self-pleasure for years, and even gave her a “sex positive lecture” on the joys of owning a vibrator. In fact, it was for Violet’s sixteenth birthday that Mother decided to gift her with her first one. A “little dil” that one might find analogous to training wheels on a bicycle. Violet didn’t bother to mention how repellent she found it that Mother should feel obliged to “instruct” her in this manner, for it had already caused a lifetime of emotional trauma for her to be unable to cleanse herself of those auditory flashbacks of Mother and Father fucking. Or rather, trying to fuck. That Father felt one person achieving an orgasm was what made a successful “session” should have been Violet’s first clue that no man was immune to being a selfish prick, regardless of the presumed “beneficence” that came with fatherhood or not. 

Father was proof to Violet that being a dad, if anything, has the tendency to make a man all the more disgusting. Because theoretically, “issuing” a child, especially a daughter, should make him less so. Instead, he seems to lean completely into being a pervert. As though the Electra complex kicks in entirely on his part, and his inability to fuck his own daughter manifests in wanting to fuck other younger girls instead. Violet was going to get the hell out of Nevada before she could watch that unfold. She was planning to flee on her seventeenth birthday, which, incidentally, came just before Father’s Day. A “celebration” that made her want to scream, “Every day is Father’s Day when you’re living under the thumb of the patriarchy!” Still, the expectation on society’s part was to “bow down,” as it were, to tradition. “Accept the beauty” of “honoring thy father.” Even though all he did was splooge to get you here, while your mother had to do the true grunt work to allow a being egress into this godforsaken realm. 

Maybe part of the reason she wanted to leave on her birthday was to avoid another Father’s Day spent spewing false accolades when the truth was, she knew her father possessed no emotional connection with her. That should have made her feel “bad,” but it didn’t. She was aware that, all over the world, there were daughters like her, sent out into the abyss in search of a substitute father figure who would probably end up being just as dastardly (see: Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, et al.). In fact, a lot of them came to Vegas to find one while working the skin trade. But Violet was going to find hers elsewhere instead. She didn’t yet know precisely where, but she did know it wouldn’t be in a douchebag world capital like New York. She’d rather settle down in an “Anytown, USA” type of place where the wholesomeness might be in higher stock. Even if any such wholesomeness tended to be belied by a sinister underbelly. 

The night she left, she was subjected to one final meal with Father, who couldn’t have possibly known about her machinations to escape. Yet some part of him must have intuited a change in the air to make him renege on what he had said to her only a few days prior—that embittered comment about how “in the old days, men used to have power.” Today, however, Father unwittingly retracted his statement, remarking, “I’ll have to ask your mom if I can go on a fishing trip this weekend. Or if she has other plans for me…”

Violet took a swig of her Cherry Coke and said, “So you admit you have no power?”

Father smiled and said, “I know that I never did. None of us did.” 

He was referencing the entire population of men when he said that. And oh, how she wished his skewed perspective on things was accurate. Because if it was, then at the gas station on the way out of town, maybe Violet wouldn’t have been followed into the bathroom and sexually assaulted for no good reason other than the man who did it “felt the urge.” They all do. To take, to pillage, to plunder. They are the destroyer, while woman is the literal creator. Of course, men took that reality away by rendering God as a man. 

Bruised and shaken up as she brushed the trauma aside (as many women so often do), Violet laughed to herself back in the “safety” of the car, thinking about Father’s “woe is me” assessment regarding men not having their power anymore. Because it was plain to see, everywhere you went and in every facet of life, the patriarchy was still alive and well. 

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