Many of times Bukowski was seen as a misogynist, with plenty of lines and even interviews showing his presumed true colors as to what women represented for him. And, taking a look at his biography (particularly his childhood and even his later years, after achieving success as a writer), we see that he had quite some reasons, if I may say so.
However, just like his wife said after the Barbet Schroeder interview, he was a drunk – I am not suggesting that he was entitled to act that way, I am just saying that alcohol sometimes got the better of him. Not even a verbal assault can be justified, let alone a physical one – but reasons can be found for everything.
And so we see the presence of women in his poems and novels, even if it isn’t an explicit one. Such is the case of The Crunch, where the woman is seen like an absence rather than a presence: there is a loneliness in this world so great/ that you can see it in the slow movements of/ the hands of a clock. Yes, he is talking about love in here, but a different kind of love than the physical one.
It is the kind of love that transcends the gender – a kind of love that would, probably, make the world a better place. In other words, a love that will make the people good to each other.
Moving on, another quote would be you boys can keep your virgins/ give me hot old women in high heels/ with asses that forgot to get old, in which I see another rupture made in the same concept of love. Love becomes physical and this time the woman is present. She isn’t the any kind of woman, but (in a way) she is the mirrored reflection of Bukowski.
Just like Bukowski is a degenerate, in the same way she is a degenerate. Birds of a feather…
The last quote would be a very simple one: whores are natural. And this quote takes us even further into the so-called misogyny of Charles Bukowski. Of course, the first meaning the reader would give to this quote would be the one that the women are the whores (but who is prejudiced – Bukowski or the reader?)
However, if we follow the path described by the first two quotes, we see that men can be whores too. Where does that leave us?
Frankly, it leaves us where we started it all: the need for a different type of love, the need for better people. Probably the best way to end this article is with another quote: Sex is interesting, but it’s not totally important. I mean it’s not even as important (physically) as excretion. A man can go seventy years without a piece of ass, but he can die in a week without a bowel movement.
Now replace the word man from above with the word woman.