Leonard Cohen: Life of a Ladies’ Man

May 26, 2007 at 5:22 pm (ALL Posts, Leonard Cohen, Life, People)

Life of a Ladies’ Man by Sarah Hampson from Saturday’s (May 26, 2007) Globe and Mail.

Multimedia Presentation: The Art of Being Leonard Cohen (in his own words)

Excerpts from the article, Life as a Ladies’ Man, as Mr. Cohen talked about love, sex, relationships and life.
Click here to read the full article…

“I got this rap as a kind of ladies’ man… And as I say in one of the poems, it has caused me to laugh, when I think of all the lonely nights” at the monastery. “As if I’m the only guy who ever felt this way about women… As if I’m the only person who ever had some sort of deep connection with the opposite sex.”

“You learn everything from women…. It is where you move into uncharted territory. The rest is just reinforcing wisdom or folly that you have inherited. But nobody can prepare anybody for an encounter with the opposite sex. Much has been written about it. You can read self-help books, but the actual confrontation as a young person with desire, this appetite for completion, well, that is the education.”

“Of course, women are the content of men, and men are the content of women, and most people are dealing with this – whatever version of that longing there is. You know, of completion. It can be spiritual, romantic, erotic. Everybody is involved in that activity.”

“It was terrific. The best kind… We had these appetites that we understood, and it was wonderful that they were taken care of. It was a moment where everybody was giving to the other person what they wanted. The women knew that’s what the men wanted.”

“Well, nobody gets enough of anything… You either get too much or not enough. Nobody gets the right amount, in terms of what they think their appetite deserves.”

“Believe me, what you want is someone to have dinner with. Sleep with from time to time, telephone every day or write. It’s what you set up that is defeating. Make it very modest. And give yourself permission to make a few mistakes. You know, blow it a bit. Have a few drinks and fall into bed with somebody. It doesn’t have to be the final thing.”

“I always had a background of distress, ever since I was young… What part that played in becoming a writer or a singer or whatever it was that one became, I don’t know. I didn’t have a sense of an operational ease… Just about one’s work or one’s capacity to earn a living; a capacity to find a mate or find a moment of relief in someone’s arms,”

“I don’t know what happened… Something very agreeable happened to me. I don’t know what the reason is. That background of distress dissolved… I’m worried now that my songs are too cheerful because I’m feeling well. I think I may be irrelevant pretty soon.”

“When the background of distress dissolves, you’re able to see people more clearly… You’re able to appreciate the authentic situation. You can just see things more clearly. It’s a veil that drops. You’re not looking at everything from the point of view of your own suffering.”

“I find that people want to name it. The woman is saying, ‘What is our relationship? Are we engaged? Are we boyfriend and girlfriend? Are we lovers?’ And my disposition is, ‘Do we really have to have this discussion, because it’s not as good as our relationship? We were having a good time until you brought this up.’ But as you get older, you want to accommodate, and say, ‘Yeah, we’re living together. This is for real. I’m not looking for anyone else. You’re the woman in my life.’ Whatever terms that takes: a ring, an arrangement, a commitment, or from one’s behaviour, by the way you act. You make it clear by minute adjustments. A woman goes by. You can look, but you can adjust so that it’s not an insult, an affront or a danger. So you’re continually making those adjustments, so that you don’t make anyone suffer. You’re with somebody, and you want to make it work. I’m not interested in taking off my clothes with a woman right now.”

“You have to take responsibility because the world holds you accountable for what you do… But if you understand that there are other forces determining what you do, then there’s no pride when the world affirms you, no shame when the world scorns you. Also, when someone does something to you that you really don’t like or that hurts you, well, a feeling of injury may arise, but what doesn’t is hatred or enmity, because those people aren’t doing it, either. They’re just doing what had to be done.”


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