Believe it or not, it’s usually women who enjoy the writerly stylings of Charles Bukowski. He just has that quality that screams “Daddy,” and it always gets to women like Lizzie Grant. And while some “men” might admit that he has a certain cachet, you’ll rarely find one as enthusiastic about him as a layday.
Maybe it has to do with how non-“sophisticated” his writing is. Aspiring “male” writers are generally grandiose by nature, turning instead to classic “heavyweights” like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, though both were technically far more contemptible both in alcoholic tendencies and treatment of women. Yes, to be sure, it’s more than likely a result of what a feminist Bukowski actually is that “men” have a lukewarm reaction to him. And though some may balk, “Bukowski, a feminist? Bullshit. He was a philanderer led around by his dick.” Well, at least he had one. And could romance a woman without leaving her feeling sucked dry à la Zelda Sayre (you won’t catch me referring to her with F. Scott’s last name).
In fact, Bukowski was so sensitive, so feeling (rare traits for a “man”) that he was sent into a deep depression after the death of his first love, Jane Cooney Baker. Most, conversely, would’ve just shrugged and looked for the next vag instead of mourning and writing stories and poems about it. Maybe this is what turned him cold-hearted, saying things like, “There are women who can make you feel more with their bodies and their souls, but these are the exact women who will turn the knife into you right in front of the crowd. Of course, I expect this, but the knife still cuts.” And while, yeah, he had a lot of women, it doesn’t mean he didn’t respect each of them on some level. Plus, it was pretty evident that he was willing to open his arms to the fuglier set, which is more than can be said for most authors who think they’re god’s gift to women.
What separates Bukowski as a garden variety misogynist, if that’s one’s stance on him, is that he still knew the value of women. That to live without them is inane. The same cannot necessarily be said of someone like J.D. Salinger, who could have just as easily been content with a teen boy in a long-haired wig to type his manuscripts.
So to those “men” who call Bukowski’s work puerile or created for the faux literary types, well: go buy a strap-on at Narcisse to pretend you have a dick.