Behind the Curtain
Let that word sit there, naked, standing alone like so many men romanticize doing, channeling Gary Cooper, dreaming of gun duels, camp fires, nuzzling Katherine Ross.
Let that word sit there. Unadorned with any punctuation whatsoever. I've heard it uttered a lot by women in my lifetime. But always with punctuation. Men? Men!
Shrewd women know men better then we will ever know ourselves. I guess it is our good fortune there are some not so shrewd ones out there. I don't know.
I was never afraid of being exposed for exactly who and what I am. I acknowledge my gender needs the blinding cloak of romanticism, our own and womens, to shroud our many faults and shortcomings and untreatable wounds. I have all of these; in no way am I trying to separate from the masses. I just make a concerted effort not to hide them. That stark, brutal honesty however, is not the traditional road to a relationship.
We are usually not a subtle lot. Our warts are as readily visible as an unlanceable boil on Beyonce's forehead. Our attempts at hiding them are a sad reflection on our often hidden, but no less real, impulse for vanity.
The strong silent type. Used be a solid working definition of what a real man should be. Now it's an apt description of the edgy drifter in the midst of a 4 state Pharmacy-robbing-spree with two bodies in the trunk of his Dodge Dart.
I think where women may get into trouble analyzing men is they give us too much credit. We're not that clever, as Sollozzo the Turk said to Michael Corleone on the way to his last supper.
We do like some things that you, women, may not know we like.
When you lift a leg up while we are kissing you, which is so cool. When we catch you staring at us, mid-kiss. We love that. When we watch while you kiss us, and your eyes are closed in rapture, we dig that as well.
When you are dressing up to go out with us, and we sit on the bed, fully dressed, watching you, and you slide the LBD over your shoulders and wiggle into it, and then turn your back to the mirror and check your own booty out? We LOVE that! I can't count the number of cancelled reservations in my life that have been blamed on that. And I will state with fervor that a LBD looks its best when crumpled up in a ball at the foot of the bed.
When you put your lip stick on while sitting in front of the mirror, as we voyeur over your shoulder, and you pause and make eye contact in the mirror, we know that means you love us.
When we wake in the morning, and there is a trail of your evening clothes on the floor from the kitchen to the bed, you can take to the bank you will be getting laid again that night, if not right then before the bacon and eggs.
When you have your pony-tailed hair jutting from the back of your baseball cap, the sleeves on your sweatshirt pushed up just this much on your tanned forearms, and your faded jeans snug enough to make us catch our breath; we literally fall in love with you again.
When you can walk into a room full of our friends while we watch a football game, and say, "Hey, is that Hanratty in there? Did Bradshaw get hurt?" you make us the total and lifelong envy of every other guy in that room. And then, of course, while jaws have dropped throughout the room, and they are trying not to stare at your chest out of respect for me, you say coquettishly, "What?"
And you slowly twirl and leave the room, the way you fit in your jeans keeping every single jaw at the dropped position, and you turn the corner, pause and wait to hear it, 'cause you know you will: it starts slowly, but after each exhale, you hear the word that makes you love men…"keeper"…"yup, don't let that one go, dude, absolute keeper"…"TOTAL keeper, my man"…and then the requisite goon whose presence is there merely as foil to our one liners says, "Who's Hanratty?", and the air is immediately filled with 11 pillows flying his way like the RAF over Berlin.
When, from across the room at a party that is boring us both, our eyes meet and a Tolstoy novel is exchanged in 10 brief seconds. Magically, we meet at the coat room and are driving home in moments, with never a word uttered.
When you say 'fuck me' with your eyes, no matter what you're wearing, where we are, or who sees the gesture, we fall in love with you all over again.
When you ask a question that we didn't see coming, and keep the connection to ensure we know you want to hear the answer, we may stammer, but dammit, we'll answer. And love you for asking.
We don't want you to finish our sentences, but it's pretty cool when you start a couple of 'em….
The older we get, the more we realize how important it is to separate our objectionable instinct to objectify women sexually, from the more life sustaining need we have to hear the words, "I love you".