I want a man who talks to me like I talk to my dog.
“Hello, beautiful. Hello, gorgeous. God, I love you. You’re so good. You’re so sweet.”
This is what I say when my dog greets me at the door after I’ve only been gone a few hours and she acts like it’s been days. I am not in control of these words any more than she is in control of her swaying hindquarters.
I may not be beautiful or gorgeous or even good or sweet, but I want a man who tells me I am. I’d prefer he believes it, but it is not essential.
The man who tells me I’m beautiful whether he thinks so or not will also talk to me with complete mindful attention, maybe not always, but at least occasionally, like I do when I take my dog for her walks.
“Oh, yes, look at that squirrel.”
My dog’s nose and front leg pointing, her body anticipating the chase, the squirrel zigzags to the other side of the tree trunk. I drop the leash and let her circle, hopping up, knowing she won’t actually catch the squirrel. Knowing that’s not the point.
I want a man who knows what the point is.
This man, who may or may not think I’m beautiful, although he will declare that I am, and who on occasion will talk to me with complete mindful attention, will never pat the couch with his left hand while holding the TV remote in his right, saying, “Here, come sit.”
Instead, he’ll fling open the front door, and declare, “Let’s go.” When we’ve returned from any number of wonderful possibilities, we will prepare meals together joyously and eat them with a shared fervor. The appetizers, entrees and desserts will punctuate conversations laden with curiosity and
playfulness. And if I’ve found a man who talks to me like I talk to my dog, then the scintillating exchanges will be followed by vigorous lovemaking in front of a roaring fire, in a fireplace I don’t have, but I vow to YouTube the Yule Log.
And while sipping a refreshing drink after our lovemaking has left us gloriously spent, I’ll suggest volunteer teaching in Africa or South America for our next adventure and he’ll respond, “Yes. Let’s do it!” his only question being, “How soon?”
With or without that man, or anyone else in the room, I will manage engaging conversations and meals chopped and stirred with giddy anticipation. These home-prepared dinners will be interspersed with a social life that matches my clothes. I have an elegant black silk shift, a flowy ruffled red dress, an artsy tunic I picked up in Paris, Frye boots I bought on a road trip…I haven’t worn any of them in years. The black shift would so work for a jazz concert, the red ruffled number for a night out dancing, the artsy tunic for a favorite museum event. I have been letting them languish on their hangers while I watch HGTV and read entire New Yorker articles.
I vow to neatly fold my sweatpants up and place them in the back, way back, of my bottom drawer, the area I usually place out-of-season clothing.
They say luck comes to those who are prepared. My goodness, am I prepared. I am Girl Scout prepared. And if luck doesn’t come, so be it.
I will be enough.
After many years of not being, I chose to become single again leaving my grown sons, wondering why. But my choice was imperative. From the outside, it might have looked different, but that point of view is almost always deceiving.
And it will be enough that my grown sons see their mother participating vibrantly in the world, not heedlessly, but not carefully, either. They’ll be compelled to say, “Geez, all those stages we went through, fighting you about pretty much everything you tried to show us that was
good, that was true—well, now we realize, you’re just the best mom ever. We understand that we’ve only ever wanted a mom like you.”
It is essential that they mean it.
Then, I want them to announce with certainty, “We love that you’re wearing that black silk dress and those Frye boots and Grandma’s pearl necklace while standing in front of your stove stirring Sri Lankan curry. We cannot wait to sit down and try this brand-new dish and savor the layered flavors while talking with you all about our days, our lives, and how this meal
came to be.”
It is essential that they mean this, too.