Guest Post: “The Mother as Mistress” by Jim Caron

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There is something between a son and his mother that I cannot explain. Some sort of bond that relates to all women, the way men thrive on acceptance from that special female, whether it’s mother or mate. That is the essence of a man, acceptance whether through love or status, it is his most valuable currency in life, rich or poor.
However, there are those men who never leave the scope of the womb, the childhood home, their mother’s sphere. Some men to the point you sense something bizarre, perhaps a bit twisted and fodder for the likes of a Psycho movie or an incest fest.
I see it in that long time schoolmate, Jeff. Through the years, Jeff never moved beyond his mother’s house. You may know the type, never married, still at Mom’s and past 40, never in the company of a woman or significant other male partner. This particular schoolmate lived across the street from my parent’s house. Same age as myself, we attended the same Junior High and High School. I suspect it was his way of acquiring property by simply out living his parents, as opposed to the careers we were steered towards in every class we took together.
He lives there still, alone as far as I can see after driving through the neighborhood recently. Watering the lawn, he stood in the front yard as I went by, smiled and waved as I am wondering what his secret life might be like, what weird twisted kind of sex life he may have. Perhaps one of those guys has sex with pool toys, or maybe cold liver from the meat counter, these choices running through my mind as I’m rounding the corner, I won’t be stopping for a chat.
Howard. His mother dies and he becomes obsessed with psychics in an attempt to relieve something within himself he never vested in, and instead, relied on his mother to provide. He never married, kept to himself, women found him creepy, he was. I still can’t figure the man out. He was the anal sort that would paint outlines of his tools on a peg board in the garage. You would go into the kitchen and open the “junk” drawer and everything in it was carefully arranged. There were also a lot of guns, he liked guns. His mother’s inheritance bought a number of weapons and a truck load of ammo which he and I indulged at the Huntington Beach shooting range on a daily basis.
I became an excellent shot, could hit my mark with most types of pistols shooting with either hand. As with any mistress, first or second string, the newness of Howard’s guns wore off and he realized this new mistress did not provide the warmth and acceptance he received from his mother. Howard was always a geek, the boy all the others teased and made fun of, his mother was able to fix that for him. Despite being the ultimate nerd, Howard constantly proved himself as a talented musician when we were in drum corps, but never gained social acceptance in any circles. Whether in the corps or later on, when he left the army and became that lone hippie geek with the bell on his pants that would wander into my night club, staying all night, barely saying a word. During none of this time did Howard bond with a woman, he was the weird loner who never had a girlfriend, always close to mother, an only child.
A man obsessed with his dead mother, what sort of twisted mistress she must be. His father, was still alive, a cranky old coot that his mother divorced after a public scandal at the Garden Grove City Hall. The head of the recreation department and his secretary caught in a love nest, in the 1960’s it was a death knell, Howard was only 9. The father had a more traditional approach to the mistress concept, Howard bonding with his mother rather than venturing out to seek acceptance from a mate. Howard held his mother in saintly regard, she never remarried or bonded again as far I knew of, so Howard saw her as some sort of “Virgin Mother” and never forgave his father whom he neglected for the rest of the man’s life.
Howard became more sullen and reclusive as he got older, going to the psychic more often and becoming more depressed over the loss of his mother. He did not seek to re-invent himself or look for a new horizon, he chose to whither and so he did. He also began to get pervie, following around girls from my band trying to look up dresses, leering and such that we had to exclude him from events with the band. He began bragging about buying crack whores on Harbor Boulevard. We cringed with disgust, it seemed to empower him as he spoke, watching for our reactions.
Howard then began collecting and keeping high powered weapons, assault rifles, lots of ammo. I remember taking one look at his newest acquisition and deciding to never return to his house again. Why take any chances?
I could look at my own mother and say with assurance she had a power over me I still cannot explain. Not in a sense of love, but of commitment to family, ideals, rules. When it came to these things, for her it was business. I realized only after she died, how much she controlled my young life, her mental power and influence over me. She was more of a specter in life than death, constantly watching and evaluating, wielding nothing other than the wrath of her disapproval. That alone was enough to shake me to the core, far beyond any physical threat or beating my father ever offered. I cannot explain why or recall when she programmed me that way, it was some kind of voodoo, black magic or witchcraft that could subdue me in an instant and far beyond the sting of any corporal consequences.
However, I knew no matter how much trouble I might find myself in, she would come get me, put me back together after accident or idiocy. It seemed to me the essence of the mother son relationship, a relationship I really did not understand until after she died: she owned me, but I needed her too. It was the perspective of death and distance that allowed me to see the relationship for what it was. She was the lawyer that stood between me and the court of life. I could not stay out of trouble, she was the only one could or would fix things and always was. You can’t have that with a wife and keep her respect, maybe her love and sympathy, but not her respect.
That is a vital point for me. I believe this is what men find as the wedge that eventually divides them from their commitment to a wife. Her instincts will see you as weak and your instincts tell you she will, she can say what she wants, but her female senses will change her opinion of you. Let her deny it, but believe it. I think men can be weak with a mistress, cry on their shoulder and get their little boy stuff over, that stuff most guys will cycle through from time to time if they have a cry baby relationship with a woman. If you want respect as a man and a strong image around the house, you have to have good publicity, no scandals or losses that bring you home tawdry and in tears. No matter how she may coddle and cuddle, say she loves and supports you, deep down you are no longer the man she was originally attracted to. Admit it girls, admit it guys, I think we’ve all had an episode here and there to demonstrate the truth of Motherly or Mistress acceptance as opposed to a wife’s long term, true respect. It’s just how a man has to play it, if he is too weak to cultivate his mate, their situation, the currency of their relationship, he will face the same losses or success any man might find in business. You get what you pay for and invest in.
I would conclude by asking again, what power is it in a son that a mother holds? It is certain to be a testament to those things that bond us beyond what we can see. I know it’s true. Men dying on the battlefield call for their mother, it is a universal thing at those moments. What home is it in a mother that men find? Acceptance beyond your weakest moments, forgiveness for failures, those things you can’t take back or fix. Being given another chance, a place to hide, regroup to fight again. Seems these are the same things a man might seek in a mistress, but never in a wife. She would judge him as a weak partner and it will eventually manifest in her feelings towards him. Women can get very cynical about a mate over the years and I believe this is where most husband complaints find their origination, moments of failure and weakness. It’s Darwinian in some strange way, I prefer to believe and follow these concepts rather than depend on the superficial words of those trying to be polite or are unaware of the forces that drive their thoughts and words.

3 Replies to “Guest Post: “The Mother as Mistress” by Jim Caron”

  1. “What home is it in a mother that men find? Acceptance beyond your weakest moments, forgiveness for failures, those things you can’t take back or fix. Being given another chance, a place to hide, regroup to fight again. Seems these are the same things a man might seek in a mistress, but never in a wife.”

    This article posits very interesting thoughts and ideas, particularly the lines quoted above. However, I would hope that the comparisons of mother and mistress end with the sexual aspect of why a man seeks a mistress. 🙂

  2. Taboo.
    What cultural or genetic barrier creates such a hope in a the majority of men? And what bridge would it be that spans that river of normal and dashes that hope? In all the combinations that make a world, there are shades of grey between each pure element of society’s social chemistry.
    To what shade does any man participate in with his mother? The very question itself makes most men cringe, but this article has succeeded in having the reader consider that question and perhaps discern to what degree they have participated with their mother and what her influence has one’s relations with all females to any degree.
    Thank you!

    1. Of course, according to Freud, the healthy maturation of the male or female is in processing through the Oedipal phase where every boy and girl wants to marry his
      or her mother or father, respectively. Your writing glimpses those who have not fully cycled through that phase, perhaps, if you’re a subscriber to psychological explanations of behavior.

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