Archive for the ‘romance’ Category

“How can I help you?”

The first thing I noticed were her twinkling blue eyes.  She looked like she’d just finished laughing or was about to laugh.

The next thing I saw was her bright smile.

She was a short little thing, with dark curly hair that puddled down her back.

I had only dropped into the restaurant to do some reading.  The place was known for its hot spiced french fries – which I usually ate without benefit of ketchup or vinegar. Naked fries were the best.

fries

Also, a glass of Chardonnay would complete the experience.  So that’s what I ordered.

She smiled again and took off.

When she brought me a glass of water, I stopped her.  Part of my brain just wanted to go for it, while another part was honestly intrigued.

“Excuse me” I said.  “Do we know each other?  Have you served me before?  I would have come in with a friend from work.”

I know how lame that sounds, but the restaurant had a lot of empty tables for that time of day, and I was sitting in my usual spot.  I’ve been in there a fair amount, as it’s close to my office.

“I don’t know” she said, still smiling.  “I don’t recall you.  My name is Lena”.

What I should have done was respond with my name.  That’s what a romantic guy would do – now that the ice was broken. But my ADHD hyperfocus had kicked in, as I struggled to recall whether I’d heard that name before.

“No, I don’t know that name” I said.  “Guess not, huh?”

“When did you last come in?”

“It would have been about six weeks ago” I replied, still struggling to remember.

“Well then we don’t know each other.  I only started a month ago.”

“Oh”  I was disappointed.  “Oh well.”

She smiled and left.

Each time she came to the table, to bring the food, the wine and to check to see if everything was okay, she had the brightest smile.

Twirling around in the back of my mind were all of these thoughts.

“Someone that gorgeous with such a great smile probably gets hit on all of the time.  Am I going to be another boor, troubling her in her place of work where she can’t get away?”

“I really like my setup at home. I worked hard to achieve the peace of my bachelor domain.  How ready am I to give that up?”

“She seems young enough to still want kids.  I wonder if I’m open to that?”

I really liked her, but …..  I had all of these reasons why I shouldn’t pursue her.  Most of these thoughts were straying outside of the limits of my consciousness, so I wasn’t truly on top of them or even aware.  That’s how it is with most things in a person cursed (or blessed, as the case may be) with ADHD.

So I concentrated on reading my book, and on enjoying the meal.

After the bill was paid, and the tip was administered, I stayed, enjoying the music and the book.  I sipped on my water, totally engrossed in the story.

She came back after that with a pitcher of water, and that ever-present huge smile.  “Would you like some more?”

“Oh that’d be great.  Thank you!” I said.

I finished the water.

It wasn’t until I left the place and began walking to the bus terminal that my brain tapped me on the shoulder.

“Doofus” it said.  “You realize that she didn’t have to come back with the water, right?  She wasn’t smiling for her tip any more – even if that ever was the case.”

I shrugged to myself.  I’ve had a number of missed opportunities before.  This wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last.

Maybe I’ve learned.  Maybe not.  Who knows.

Such A Deal

Posted: August 5, 2014 in dating, humor, humour, Life, romance
Tags: , , , , ,

kirsten-dunst-8

The first thing I noticed was her smile.

It was full, and warm, and it matched the twinkle in her eyes.

I didn’t trust it at all.

She came up to me, and asked me if I ever had a facial.

“Yes, actually I have”.   It had been a Father’s Day gift from my children.

“Well good!  Can I talk to you for a few minutes about our product?”

She was gorgeous, and thin and she was wearing a filmy blouse that hinted of treasure.

I sighed.  My little guy had taken over, while my brain shouted “NOTHING’S HAPPENING THIS IS A WASTE OF TIME WHAT ARE YOU DOING OH GOD OH GOD OKAY”

The sun was beginning to set, and the warmth of the summer night hugged us both as I followed her down the stairs of the little Yorkville shop.

“Is green your favourite colour?  It’s mine.”

“No, actually my favourite colour is blue”.  Why were we talking about colours, I wondered.  She pointed at my green shirt.  Oh.

“Why don’t you sit over there while I try this product on you.”

It wasn’t a question.  I sat.

As she applied something to my arm (I have no idea what it was) she described the product and asked me bright questions while smiling.  Truly I had no idea which end was up, what she was using on me, or where this was going.  (Though I suspected).

“Are you married?” she asked.

I smiled.  “No, not at all.”

“So you’re happy.”

I looked at her.

“You know, either you’re married or you’re happy”

I thought that was rather cynical.  She carried on talking before I could pursue the thought.

I don’t know how we got around to talking about it but suddenly she mentioned tequila.

“I’ve never had tequila” I blurted.

“Really?  Oh we’ll have to go to a bar so you can try it” she said.

The woman didn’t lack for confidence.  I was kind of stunned though.

“We will?  Oh, I mean yeah.  We should definitely do that”

(“We’ll never do that” I thought)

“You’re eyes are hazel” she announced.

“No, my eyes are brown”

“No, my eyes are brown, yours are hazel”

Apparently this was not an argument.  My place was to say yes.  Even though I’ve had brown eyes all of my life.

I had to keep up with her.  I nodded.  She smiled.

She was such a pleasant winner.  A good-looking winner.

Also I was such a pushover.  I wondered how I was going to break the news to my family that I now had hazel eyes.

She turned to get another product.  I noticed through her see-through top that she had a tattoo.  It was comprised of some foreign words.  I wanted to ask her about it, but she started talking again.

This time she was giving me the sales pitch.

“What do you want the most?”

(You, in my arms would be a good start)  “Uh, what do you mean?”

“If you were to change anything about your face, what would it be?”

Oh.  “Well, I suppose it would be the bags under my eyes”

She brightened.  “I have the perfect product for that!”

(I’ll bet you do)

“Try this product”  She rubbed it on my arm, which I’d like to point out was no where near my eye-bags.

“It’s infused with diamonds!” she enthused.

(Diamonds!  That must mean…….uh, it means it’s likely expensive.)

“It’s guaranteed to help.  But you should apply it only at night.  No sense in putting it on at the start of your day.  Gravity would just pull everything down.”

I was getting an education.  I tried paying attention but she was so distracting.

“Okay then.”

She smiled the beautiful and satisfied grin of a predator.  “Shall I package it all up for you?”

“Package what?”

“All of the products!”

I smiled.  “Well, I would need to know how much it costs.”

“Oh” she said. “It’s not that much.  Normally it’s $1,600 for everything.  But…..since it’s you – and don’t tell anyone else about this – I’ll give it to you for only $800.”

I smiled wider.  “No, I don’t think so.”

She cocked her head and looked at me.  “Maybe I can take a bit more off.”  I shook my head. “Maybe I can give it to you for $700.  But you can’t tell ANYONE.”  She put a finger over her lips.

“No.  I’m sorry.  Can’t do it.”

She hesitated.  Then, “well, if you could only have one product what would it be?”

“The eye thing I guess”.

“Oh well I can help you with that!” she was pleased with herself.  “It’s only $400!  Such a great deal.”

“Uh huh” I said.  “Sorry, that’s too much.”  I mentally punched myself.  Why was I giving her these openings?  I wasn’t going to part with a dime.  Just thank her for her time and leave.

“Okay okay” she grimaced.  “How about I give it to you for $160 and you don’t tell anyone?”

I looked at her.  She looked at me.  I thought about her whole spiel, and the time we’d spent together.  I knew she was desperate for this sale.  I also knew I didn’t need any of it, and could easily walk away.

Some stupid idiot inside of my brain said “don’t disappoint her.  Just buy the damned thing and get out.”

I nodded.    “Okay” I said, aloud.

“You’ll take it?”

“I’ll take it”

“Oh good!” she replied.  “Let me ring it up.”

I proceeded to kick myself mentally.  Hard.

“Maybe we can go to the bar sometime next week” she said.

The idiot inside of me said “see?  Totally worth it, dude!”

I mentally replied to the idiot “there’s no way she’s going to a bar with me. It was all about the sale.”  The idiot went into a pout.

“Here, let me get your phone number.  I’ll call you on Monday, and we can get together.  Here’s my number, too.”

The inner idiot smirked.  “See?  And you thought she was faking an interest.  Who’s the idiot now?”

I smiled, took my purchase and left.

——————-

Later that weekend I checked online.  Apparently the product I bought normally went for $400.  So I did get a good deal.

——————-

After not getting her phone call on Monday I called her on Tuesday.  It took her a few moments to remember who I was.

“Oh, I’m at home right now.  How about I call you tomorrow?”

“Okay” I said.

(“I’m at home now”?  What the hell was up with that? )

——————

She never got back to me of course.

If it’s too good to be true……

Urban Soak

Posted: July 9, 2013 in humor, humour, Life, romance
Tags: , , , , ,

Rain

Teeming.

That was the word for it.  I tried out other synonyms.   “Pouring”.  “Pounding”.  “Sneaking”.

Sneaking?

The early weather report had called for occasional thunderstorms and brief moments of rain.  I was prepared.

The day before, I had carried my collapsible umbrella onto the subway train.  After getting off at my stop, my ADHD brain said “wait.  Something’s wrong.”  And it wasn’t until the doors closed that I realized I’d left my umbrella on the car.  I watched helplessly as the train picked up speed and nonchalantly took off.  No doubt it would provide someone else some protection.  Not me though.

The next day I watched the weather report, and in particular took note of the word “chance”.  “Chance” as in:  if you bring your umbrella you’re going to be the only person holding one, as everyone else around you – all wearing sunglasses and tans – will smile at you with patronizing derision. 

Still, I had a bit of walking to do, so I hunted down my spare umbrella – the huge clunky one – to carry with me for the day.

When I got out of the massage therapist’s office, I noticed it was …..teeming outside.  “Good” I thought.  Unlike some of those bedraggled sun-tanned miscreants standing in the doorway, waiting for it to settle, I had my giant black Marry Poppins umbrella, all deployed and ready to go.

I stepped out, secure in my dryness, and walked across the street to the bus stop.

Midway through the intersection the rain stopped teeming and began to roar with abandon.  At one point, the only part of me left dry was my face.  Barely.  The rain had sneaked under the umbrella – by virtue of the gunshot pounding at the ground, which could only ricochet up and at my clothing – and soaked me thoroughly.  A girl and I took what shelter we could find in the overhang outside of a dentist’s office.

“Nice weather, huh?” she said, smiling.

“What?” I replied.

“I SAID—never mind” she frowned.

I could barely make out anything she said over the storm’s argument. 

“Funny how….FUNNY HOW WE HAVE TO STAND HERE WITH OUR UMBRELLAS AND STILL CAN’T KEEP DRY” she offered.

“What? Oh…  Yeah” I rejoined.  I must have intimidated her with my magnificent social skills and verbiage, as she gave up saying anything after that.

I tried though.  “So”, I started.  “SO.  JUST HEADING HOME FROM WORK?” I asked.

She nodded.

The bus came.  We could see the poor travelling souls, standing in the bus aisles, bum to rump and wet clothing all sticking to each other.

She got on.  I said “I’ll wait for the next one”.  I could see it in the distance.

After it arrived, I found an empty seat and sat down, grateful and wet.  The novel I was reading was just getting interesting when the driver announced “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN – THIS BUS IS OUT OF SERVICE AT LAWRENCE”. 

“Are you freaking kidding me?”  It wasn’t until the short older lady with the moustache and hairnet sitting in front of me turned around and glanced my way with a startled expression that I realized I had said it aloud. 

We all bundled out of the bus, and stood in the rain with our shielding umbrellas until the next one arrived.  It was already fairly packed with people, so we had to force our way onto it, bum to rump, all wet and miserable.

Then we noticed something else.  The power was out everywhere.  This meant there were no stoplights.  And this meant that the rate of travel in amongst the rat-like horde of cars went from slow to “oh my God it’s like we’re going backward”.  Some Hasidic Jewish kids, all dressed in black took it upon themselves to direct traffic at one intersection.  They had no umbrellas and looked like they were having a blast.  I smiled, kind of wishing I was a teen again.

The thought of the romance of rain blossomed.  I recalled that first romantic kiss I took with a girl when we were in our teens.  It happened under her see-through umbrella on a dark rainy night.  I remembered the lemony scent of her perfume and the intense, surreal joy of holding her closely, and sharing breath for a while.

Though we all made it to our destinations (after passing drowned cars – so many drowned cars – along the way), I couldn’t help thinking.  One important pass-fail aspect of any future romantic relationships will be my partner’s tolerance or acceptance of rain-enhanced public displays of affection. 

But by that I mean “light rain” not “sneaky, pounding, pouring teeming ricocheting rain”.   That crap’s just gross.

It was her nose.  That’s the first thing I noticed.

The night was bitterly cold.  I had debated going out into the miserable weather at all.  However, a few weeks prior I had committed to supporting a friend who was doing a comedy taping for a TV show that night.  It was a long way away in the labyrinthine streets of Toronto:  if you were going to get there by public transit, there were a few connections that were necessary to observe: bus, subway and then streetcar.  I hadn’t realized the bitterness of the night until ascending the stairs from the subway to the street.   The snow-covered slippery steps provided the first clue.  The second clue was the wind that bit sharply and suddenly at my nose as I ascended.  Halfway up, I stopped, hesitated.   “Do I really want to do this?”   I could only think of the warmth of my apartment.  So attractive, so inviting.

Guilt and a sense of missing out provoked my feet to continue the ascent.  The wind at the top of the steps made me hesitate again.   I pushed forward.  A year or so ago I had learned the value of “the flinch”:  whenever you observe an obvious moment of flinching, that’s the time you should push through it.  If nothing else, it proves that you are the author of your fate, not discomfort or the unsureness of novelty.   I flinched and pressed forward.

At the corner I found the streetcar shelter, and noticed immediately that it was fully occupied.  The wind picked up and I had to turn my back to it to endure it.  I could feel the cold on my arms, and my teeth began to chatter.   The value of committed friendship began to diminish.  “I won’t be the only to one to miss this” I thought, my brain struggling to rationalize my gnawing decision to turn back home.

Suddenly a couple left the shelter.  Evidently they had decided the streetcar was taking too long.   I quickly jumped into the shelter to take their place, to escape the wind.  It seemed too late though:  a chill had set in and I couldn’t see my way to warmth, not at all.  I had all but decided to head back to the subway when I saw her.

My breath stopped.  It was only a glance.  I turned away from her quickly, the way you do when you see a skittish kitten, hoping it doesn’t notice that you’ve noticed it.  The flashing glance revealed so much:  she was tiny, she had a delicate nose, her hair was blonde, and her blue eyes were wide behind gold-rimmed glasses.  For a brief moment I wanted to truly get away and go home – not because of the cold, but because she represented a challenge that I was sure was beyond me.

There it was again:  the flinch.   I had programmed myself to face the flinch and so my feet remain rooted in that cold streetcar shelter.  I faced the east, the better to keep an eye on any approaching transit vehicle, and coincidentally, to allow me to glance very occasionally in her direction.   I noticed she was be-bopping to music, and it was only then that I noticed she was wearing earphones.   She was holding a pizza box too, and was looking in the same direction for the delayed streetcar.

Another couple tried to make their way into the shelter, so I attempted to oblige them by moving to the back of the shelter, squeezing in next to the girl.   At the last moment, they decided they didn’t want to come in after all, so I stepped forward again with a puzzled shrug.  I glanced back and noticed that the girl smiled at my unconscious reaction.  I returned her smile and turned back to look for the streetcar again.   Strangely, the wind and the cold ceased to exist.

The streetcar eventually arrived, and it was packed with riders.  We all struggled to get on and to find a place.  The girl and I stood next to each other, her with her pizza held up in order to avoid hitting anyone’s head.  She was so tiny, and she had to reach so high to keep the pizza aloft.  I debated asking her if she wanted help.   The city has its own unspoken rules:  strangers tended to send up walls against each other, insulating each of us from the crazies and the creepazoids.  It was self-evident and understood:  you just don’t talk with anyone.

It was stupid too, and I was short-sighted in my unconscious acceptance of this protocol.  My mouth remained shut and I didn’t offer to help her.

A dozen blocks down the road, the streetcar driver blew into his microphone.   “Ladies and gentlemen….blah blah….need to turn at Drew St. If you want to get to….blah blah…you should get off here.”

The girl removed her earphones.  “What did he say?  Did he say something about Osslington?”

He had.  I said so.  “Yeah, we have to get off here and walk if we want to get to Osslington.  That’s where I’m going.  Are you?”

She nodded.   “I hate this system” she said.  “It’s always something isn’t it?  They always want you to get off before your stop and wait for the next subway train or the next bus.”

“Or they expect you to walk several blocks with a cold pizza” I added.   She laughed.

We got off and walked together in a companionable silence.

There was no past.  No future.  Just the present.   We talked.

She was from Cape Breton, on the east coast of Canada.  That explained her ignorance of the Toronto Protocol.  She was friendly and open.  A refreshing and welcome change from the norm.  I learned that she was taking a silversmithing course and that she was artistic.  Like me.

We only walked a few blocks when I reached my destination.  I gave her my name and she gave hers.  I said “I’d ask you for your number but I hardly know you”.  Trying to be cute and funny and achieving neither.

She laughed uncertainly and walked off to wherever she was going (I never learned the destination of that pizza).   I turned the corner, aware of a lost opportunity.

“Oh well”  I thought.

It wasn’t until later that I realized I had succumbed to one final flinch.  The flinch that kept me from going back after her and saying “you know what?  I was being a doofus.  If you’re free I’d really like to get to know you better.  As cliché as it sounds – I’d love to have a coffee with you.  What do you think?”

The universe has provided second chances before.  In a city of millions of people, I’ve seen it happen before.  Maybe it will again.

I hope so.

Clearing your PVR is an exercise that is at once both satisfying and sad.   Every now and then you spot an upcoming movie or TV show that you just *have* to watch – only, you know you don’t want to dedicate the full 30 minutes or hour doing so, as a good chunk of that time is devoted to commercials.  AMIRITE??

So instead you plan ahead of time and schedule the PVR (Personal Video Recorder) to capture those shows for you, knowing that when it comes time to watch them, you can ultra-fast-forward through the commercials and watch “Breaking Bad” in its allotted 40 minutes of Real Time.  In fact, I can’t recall the last time I watched a TV show in real-time, and had to suffer through the commercials.  (I’m lying of course:  I did watch Breaking Bad last night during real-time only because there was an internet event going on at the same time, where the show’s producers polled its audience on an event within the show that just took place.  Not sure I’ll do it again – though it was fun.)

99% of the time though, it’s true:  I won’t watch a show in real-time.   The PVR has spoiled me.  I have to say, out of all of the peripheral unneeded stuff I’ve purchased, the PVR has more than made up for itself in value.  It’s still not  a need but man oh man is it ever a “nice to have”.

A lot of friends will say “you know, I don’t have a TV set at all.  Haven’t had one since I was married/divorced/the kids moved/I became enlightened.”   There’s usually a disapproving snit in their voices and body expressions which hint at the thought that “anyone who watches TV is an unthinking Neanderthal, content to be a voyeur of life, instead of living it themselves.  Not only that, what they’re watching isn’t real.  They’re voyeurs of *fantasy* life – unless they’re watching ‘reality TV’ which again isn’t representative of true life anyway.”  (You can hear the haughty sniff, right?)

They could be right.   But whenever I catch wind of that snootiness, I like to play it up a bit.   “Yeah, if I didn’t have to work every day, I’d sit there on my lounge chair, wearing nothing but my boxer shorts, with one hand comfortably ensconced in my waistband, and the other hand drowning in a bowl of Cheetos.  Used to do it all the time actually.  Not sure if it was that, or the excessive burping that went on because of all of the beer but the upshot of it all is that my wife and I are divorced.”

Watching the painful polite nod is worth the effort of the lie.

The truth is: I enjoy creativity in the arts.   Hence, I won’t watch reality TV, nor will I watch most mainstream predictable fare either.  On the odd occasion, I’ll watch something I’ve already seen, because it’s that good.  It’s entertaining, and it tickles a part of my own creativity that thirsts for the flight of imagination and thought.

Yesterday, I finally cleared my PVR of all the programs that were on there.   The last one, which I’d recorded and kept for a few weeks, was the classic Meg Ryan movie “You’ve Got Mail.”  I know that if I had posted this on Facebook, there would have been one friend who would’ve sent me a mock-horror cyber punch in the arm:  Tommy Blaze has been known to leave such one-word comments on my Facebook updates.  Usually that word is “homo”.   Once when I revealed my knowledge of bed sheet thread-counts, he flung that word at me.    He and I have always kidded each other about one thing or the other so his fake-disgust is sort of expected.   Also, it’s good for the shock factor – with which professional comedians like him have a long-standing love affair.   That word is – you know – *SO* unpolitically-correct, as everyone knows.  At least he knows enough not to use the “F” word.  (Which *everyone* also knows is “Fabulous”).

Anyway, I don’t know the meaning of the expression “male shame” when it comes to romantic comedies.  I’ll watch them without apology or regret, providing that they’re good.  A great many of them are lame, such that I find my testosterone levels depleting if I watch one for too long.

Anyway, “You’ve Got Mail” is a great film that I’ve seen a number of times.  Partly because I can’t get enough of Meg Ryan, and partly because the message is actually pretty cool.  Nora Ephron – who wrote this one as well as a bunch of others in the same vein – was excellent at communicating some interesting truths, some of which weren’t (in my opinion) true at all.   Her wisdom shows up in the dialogue scenes between the leading actors.

There is one “truth” that came out in one of her films that caught society by surprise.  It showed up in an exchange between  Billy Crystal (who played “Harry”) and Meg Ryan (who played “Sally”) in the movie “When Harry Met Sally”.    It was summed up in his statement to her:  “…..no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive.  He always wants to have sex with her.”

Her followup volley and his response to that was nothing short of hilarious:

Sally:  “So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?”

Harry: “No.  You pretty much want to nail ’em too.”

Don’t know what it’s like for those reading this, but in my neck of the woods, the debate continues.   Women were astounded by it, and many asked their mates if indeed that was true.  Guys everywhere shrugged their shoulders in disbelief, just then realizing that the more powerful sex – women – didn’t already know this.   Some of the more frightened weasels among us said “of *course* it’s not true, sugar dumpling.  How could you think that?”

As for me, I think the truth of that statement is a sliding scale.  When I was much younger (14) I was head over heels attracted to a married woman whose husband had moved to the opposite coast to get their new home set up.   She was a 20-something friend who introduced me to alcohol.   She had an infectious and sexy laugh and sparklingly bright teasing dark eyes.   I had zero experience, so figured my attraction was a one way street, only to learn later that it was not.  The fact that I didn’t follow up with her on it is both a blessing and a curse.   Probably more of a blessing than anything.

Today, I’m friends with a few married women to whom I’m attracted.  Now, however, I know that part of what makes them attractive is the fact that they’re happily married.  The minute that changes (say, by cheating) is the minute they change and become different people.   The logic is there:  endangering that marriage is equivalent to chopping down a beautiful tree, just so that you can bring it to your yard and prop it up against the wall to admire.  You’ve changed the tree, and it will start to die, right away.

Also, there’s an important distinction:  I may want to be with them in a carnal sense, but my sense of personal integrity will never allow me to indulge that attraction.  So in that sense, Nora Ephron’s “truth” is not true at all.   One can be friends with someone who isn’t available, only if one’s behaviour is informed by one’s ethics.

The scale of attraction has changed over the years too.   There are a great many physically attractive women out there who I find are anything but beautiful.   The women who truly sparkle have a sense of humility, charm and serenity to them.   The haughty rude and entitled women (and men too, I imagine) are the opposite of attractive, in the most emphatic sense.

Yet, that’s my story – which means it isn’t everyone else’s story.  There are countless examples of attempted friendships between people who are attracted to each other where they’ve ended up in each others’ arms.   Anecdotal evidence – in this case – fails completely.

I’d like to know:  have you had this discussion with anyone?   What do you think about it?   Did you reach a conclusion?  Can guys be friends with women to whom they are attracted?

Robert (not his real name) said: “Any guy who says he’s never had a gay experience is lying.”

I looked at him.  “Really.”

“Every straight guy I’ve ever known has either admitted to it, or he’s come on to me.”

I laughed.   “Tell you what, dude.   Any ‘straight’ guy who comes onto you isn’t straight.”   We agreed to disagree.  He let go of my hand, and I wiped his lipstick off of my face and we went our separate ways.

It got me thinking.   What is it about guys who find other dudes attractive?

That train of thought derailed and wiped out all of the villagers, including the town mayor, which was tragic and sad and we’ll miss them even though they’re just metaphors and whoever would miss a metaphor.   But then I thought: what is it about women that I find so attractive?   Why do I like them?

I liked that train better and decided to hop on.

They smell nice.  

They will tell you that this is because they use all of those special oils, and perfumes and emollients and soaps and cream and…uh…we don’t care.  We just know that when they walk on by, they smell like dreams, and erotic promise and good health and cake.

Also, everyone knows that girls just don’t fart.   In fact, it’s like they don’t even know what the word “fart” means even though they wince whenever guys accidentally slip one out.  The word, that is.   They do a lot more than wince when we actually let one go.  They scrunch up their cute little noses, and with a look of disgust exclaim “CAN’T YOU DO THAT OUTSIDE?”    (Or at least, that’s what I’m told, never having farted in a woman’s presence myself.   That night in Tijuana doesn’t count, as neither one of us were in Canada.  Plus I was drunk.  And so was she.  Also it wasn’t me anyway.  It was the donkey.  Donkeys smell.  Did you know that?   Just. Like. Farts. I digress.)

They’re soft.  

So….soft.   They have always been that way too.  We notice that the first time we see one of them.  All soft and giggly and gentle and soft.  Even after working out and winning the Muscle Beach bodybuilding competition, they’re still soft.  They’ll plow you into next Sunday, some of them, if you suggest they’re anything other than hardcore and brutal.  Better to stay silent.  When they inform you that they’re tough and hard and can break a phonebook in two, you nod, knowing full well deep in your heart that they’re soft.

They’re nurturing.

They get so concerned when we get sick, or cut ourselves.  Or even those times when we look off into the distance, thinking about cooking up a barbecue steak, and they get this little frown in their forehead and they look at you and they say “what’s wrong baby?   Let’s talk about it.  You look like you have something serious on your mind.  Was it a bad day for you at work?  Want me to rub your shoulders?   Maybe take you into the bedroom?”   At which point we forget all about the steak, nod resignedly and say “okay.   But I just don’t want to talk about it.  I’m trying to forget.”   Then, ten minutes later, we’re all sweaty and happy again.

They think we’re helpless.

Except around spiders.  And jars that won’t open.  And cars.  One time I hosted a party, and decided I was going to make a pizza and some hors d’oevres.  I stood at the counter, while the music played, and the guests were talking and drinking and laughing.  Two girls were watching me while I stood at the counter, staring off into space.  My ADD had kicked in and so I was  thinking about a scene from Big Bang Theory; where Sheldon had just expressed a heartfelt emotion, and then turned to Leonard and said “Bazinga”.   One girl looked at the other, sighed and said “Men are all the same.  So helpless.”  As she laughed she made a shooing motion with her hand and said “get out of the way.  We got this.”   I thought about protesting but then gave my virtual self a virtual slap upside the head.   “Sure”  I said, pretending to be relieved.  “Thanks – I appreciate it.”   My virtual self smiled.  I would have felt guilty but I know they did a better job than I would have done.   I mean that pizza was *good*.  Why does food always taste so much better when someone else puts it together?

They have curves.

So many curves.  I could get lost in those curves.  Men don’t have them.  Except some of us have protruding upside-down lightbulb curves. Irrepressibly and obstinately ugly.  In fact, I don’t even want to think about it.   Women and their curves just intrigue the hell out of me.   It just never gets old, you know?   I like how my hand can travel down a woman’s back, following her contour, exploring as if for the first time.  It just…… I digress again.  Never mind.

They’re graceful.

I think they practice this at yoga class or something.   When they stretch, they’re catlike.  Methodical, slow, smooth, and – there’s no other word – graceful.   Men stretch abruptly and belch.  Or we yawn, loudly and forcefully.    Women are much more aware of themselves.  I would guess that each physical movement is choreographed and practiced – except that it seems to be instinctive.   Anyway, I like it.

They fit.

When I hold a woman in my arms, I don’t know how it happens, but we just fit, right there.  Perfect.  Like we were made for each other.  She can be the same height as me, or shorter, and it just seems to work.  Even when they have to get up on tiptoes to make out with us.   We’re like a jigsaw puzzle.   So satisfying.   It’s like the universe just *clicks*.  I haven’t been with a taller woman yet, though I’ve been tempted.  The thought of getting up on a stepladder just to kiss her goodnight is a tiny bit off-putting.  What if someone comes along and kicks the ladder out from under me?   What then?

Might be worth trying, just the same.

When they smile or laugh, we fall apart.

Or I fall apart (can’t truly speak for other guys).   Anyway, they sometimes don’t know that they have a special power when they do that.  We just know that they do, and so we work hard at finding funny stuff to say, just so we can see it again.  So worth it.

I once had a passionate make out time with a girl on a dance floor, and she said to me, breathlessly “I have never kissed a boy like that.”    I struggled and blurted out “me neither.”  I paused, then added  “I’ve never kissed a boy like that either.”   I wasn’t trying to be a smartass.  I just wanted to hear her laugh.   She did.

See how that goes?  Attempt.  Reward.   You women just keep encouraging us.

They have a quality.

I haven’t been able to define it yet.  I might not ever, but it’s fun to think about anyway.   I don’t know if it’s in their eyes, or the fact that I’m always trying to figure out exactly what colour they are.  Or maybe it’s that their cheeks are so inviting.  Or even the fact that they’re angry sometimes and you know you’re treading on quicksand if you even ask why they’re angry, and you do anyway because you know it’s a sin to say nothing and they get mad that you asked.   They puzzle me.  And they excite me.  And I can never figure them out, because even when I think I have, they’ll prove I’m wrong again.

Women are like a fascinating ball of yarn, and I’m the world’s most playful cat.   I have no idea where the string goes, or how long it is – but I’ll play with it until I can’t keep my eyes open.

One thing more:  I’ll never, ever, in a million years figure out why they like us.

Man cave

“So why aren’t you with someone by now?”

He shrugged.  “I don’t know.”   Her arched eyebrow provoked further explanation.  “Honestly, I really don’t know.”

“You don’t seem worried about it.  Do you care?”

He felt lucky to have her as a friend.  He had a penchant for gravitating to truth-tellers.  People who would say the truth, sometimes harshly but always with affection.   They hadn’t seen each other for a few months, and had chosen the cafeteria at his workplace to catch up.

“Sure I care.  I’d like to share my life with someone.”  Even as he said it, he wondered if it was true.

He had been separated from his wife for twelve years now, and divorced for seven, with only a handful of romances to show for it.   Nothing that stuck.

“Maybe I’m too comfortable” he offered.   She smiled and sat back, looking at him.

“You know, there are some women around here who’ve been talking about you, wondering what your story is.”

That was news.  He sat forward, brown eyes piercing hers.  “Yeah?  What are they saying?”

She grinned.  “Oh you know.  The usual.  Is he gay or something?’

He laughed.   “No worries there.  I’m not.  I checked.”

“You did?”  Her eyes sparkled, teasing.  “Now how would you check something like that?”

“How do you think?  I watch the flag to see which scenery makes it flap in the breeze.”

She laughed.  “Yeah okay.   I’ve got it.   A little too much information though.”

“You asked.”

“So what’s the problem then?”

He frowned.  “Who says there’s a problem?”

“No, no.  That’s not what I meant.  You know what I’m getting at.  Why aren’t you with someone?”

As usual, he was a little uncomfortable with this train of thought.  He couldn’t deny her though – which made it worse.   They’d been friends for years.  He thought about that.  He mostly had married friends – women who were unavailable.  He knew it was a source of comfort, safety.

“I really don’t know.  Every time I think about being with someone I look first for the potential pitfalls.   That turns me off right away.”

“You know you can’t ever expect the perfect mate, right?”

He nodded.  “Of course.  I know that here.”  He pointed to his head.  “There’s a slight problem getting this to pay attention though.”  He pointed to his chest.

“So what is it? ”  She persisted.

He scrambled, knowing that it was likely that the first thing that occurred to him would probably be correct.   “Fear” he blurted.

“Good” she said, ever the pragmatist.  “Now we’re getting somewhere.”

“What are you?  My counsellor or something?”  Despite the joking tone, he was serious.   Again, they both knew it.  It was one of the reasons their friendship worked.

“It matters to me.  I don’t know why.   Seems to me you’re a caring person – such a shame to see that potential get lost.”

“Yeah”  he agreed.  “But then, potential isn’t romance is it?”

“No….”  she began.   Then the silence drifted in, pulled up a chair, and sat there, content and peaceful.

“I guess…” he began.  “After years of nothing but shouting and miscommunication… I’m probably a little gun-shy.”

“A little?”

“Okay.  A lot.”   He looked up, thinking.  She waited.

“I’ve had so many years of being by myself.  I like my apartment, and my routine.   I like being selfish.  Staying out till all hours of the night if I want.   Going where I want without having to worry about anyone else.”

“Is that why you haven’t replaced your cat?” she wondered.

“Probably.   I like the freedom.”

“Not everyone is like your ex-wife you know.”   She had been privy to his history.  There wasn’t any need to re-hash any of it.

“I know, I know.”  He said.  “I guess I can’t help thinking that they’re all like her though.”

“You realize how crazy that is right?”

“I do.   Doesn’t change much of anything though.”

She shook her head.  “My God.  You’re damaged aren’t you?”

“I hope not.  If I accepted that diagnosis, doctor, it would suggest it couldn’t be fixed.”

She laughed.  “It wouldn’t suggest any such thing.   But you know – if you start there, maybe you can figure out how to shake things up.”

He smiled again.  “So what’s your prescription?”

There was no hesitation.  “Get out there.   Swim in strange and weird waters.”

“Oh it’s that easy is it?”

“It is.”

“And how would you know this?  You’ve been married for quite a few years now.”

“I just know.  Trust me.”

He did trust her.   But he couldn’t bring himself to trust that it was that easy.