Ithink it comes from my childhood. As a child I was mostly in the company of women: my grandmother and mother gave me a lot of attention, and then I was surrounded by little girls. So that to some extent girls and women were my natural milieu, and I have always thought that there was some sort of woman inside me.

I used to sense that my grandmother was oppressed by my grandfather, but I did not really work out what it meant. As a widow, my mother was oppressed by her parents, but as much by her mother as by her father.

I was not aware of it as a general phenomenon. I only saw individual cases. Lots of them, of course. But each time, I saw the imperialism as an individual fault in the man and a certain submissiveness as a character trait of the woman.

I think you are right. When I was young, I believed in male superiority, which did not rule out some form of equality between the sexes. It seemed to me that in social life women were treated as the equals of men. In some cases, men were haughty, arrogant and authoritarian in their relations with their wives: my stepfather, for example. I simply saw this as a trait of character.

That is part of it. I considered she had a certain type of feelings, and a way of being, that I recognized in myself. I felt much more comfortable chatting with women than with men. With men, the conversation always degenerates into shop. You always get round to talking about the economic situation or the Greek aorist, depending on whether you are a businessman or a teacher. But it is unusual, for example, to be able to sit on a café terrace and talk about the weather outside, the passers-by, the way the street looks—all things I have always done with women and which gave me an impression of equality with them. Although, of course, it was I who led the conversation. I led it, because I had decided to lead it.

You are exaggerating a bit. But I am prepared to believe it is true.

In a way, yes, since it was I who put relations on one footing or another—only if the woman agreed, of course. But it was I who made the first moves. And I did not perceive the machismo as something stemming from my condition as a male. I took it to be a personal characteristic of mine.