Thursday, February 15, 2007

Some Tardy Romantic Musings...or Not

Funny. I was not feeling particularly romantic this Valentine’s Day. I bought my husband a coffee maker. On line. From the comfort of my recliner. On the morning of the day. Really put myself out this year…yep.

And it seems there were others out there similarly uninspired. Some are experiencing relationship challenges. Some declare they’ve never been fans of a day that has become simply another retail opportunity . Personally, I’m just too tired and focused on ninety-six other things to dwell on the warm fuzzies. Warm fuzzies being more or less what the card companies say the day is all about.

Cynthia had an interesting Valentine’s Day post. She did a sort of retrospective of her love life, starting in kindergarten… Yikes! Oh, sure…I had crushes on boys when was a little girl. There was even one in kindergarten. But, good lord, not one of those children ever knew I existed, much less invited me to a birthday party or presented me with a verboten ID bracelet. Was I the personification of a wallflower? Well, no…not really. To be a wallflower assumes that you at least went to the dance. I didn’t. Never. Not one.

I was a tiny precocious kid; I grew into a skinny, awkward adolescent who was decidedly deficient in the attributes that attract adolescent boys…the Big Two. So I didn’t get too many second glances from the randy young males of the species.

But that wasn’t the entire problem. There were plenty of girls out there—fat, flat, acne-infested, brainy—who dated, went to dances, had boyfriends, while I…didn’t. Of course, I didn’t "put out." I didn’t even have a decent grasp of what that meant until the lady I babysat for invited me to take advantage of her "library" of sex books (The Sensuous Woman, The Joy of Sex…) But I don’t believe I would have put out if I had known what it meant. My hormones raged as much as anyone else’s, but I had some sense of the gravity of the possible consequences of having sex. And I sure as hell, even back then, was not one who could be cajoled into something I did not want to do. Guys, especially young horny ones, pick up those vibes rather quickly.

And I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke, and I didn’t do drugs. By the early seventies, those activities were part and parcelof Middle American teen-age social life. So that pretty much took me out of the action when it came to socializing with boys. Even my girlfriends didn’t like me all that much, most of the time.

Then I left high school. Got out into the big, bad world. Met boys who had not occupied the desks adjacent to mine. Apparently, I was much more attractive as an "unknown commodity" than I was to the boys I had grown up with. So I kind of jumped in with both feet and a "what the hell!" attitude. Luckily for me, I met my husband after only about two years of that crap. If he had appeared on the scene any later, I would not have been interested. As it was, I had just "sworn off" men when he came along. Too much trouble, too much heartache, not nearly a satisfactory cost/benefit ratio…

What’s my point here? It was something that Cynthia wrote in her entry, about taking time to recover the feeling she enjoyed for a short time in college, a time free of any serious entanglements, when she was "essentially alone." A time of strength, of independence and self-nurturing that she would like to recapture. And it just struck me how exactly opposite that was from my own life.

Outside of those few deranged years of doing the "dating grind," I have always been "essentially alone." My personal strength and independence have always been my most cherished possessions, as far back as I can remember, really. I could never relate to girls/women who had to have a man (note to Cynthia—I do not see you as one of these…); the ones who would do anything, date anyone, as long as they weren’t alone. I guess I always wondered, "What are they afraid of?"

So, am I standing here smugly polishing my well-tended independence, looking down my nose at my sisters whose lives revolve around relationships with men? Not hardly. There is good and bad in everything, as we all know. For me, the challenge has not been learning to live without a man, but learning to live with one—for thirty years. It’s been along road, and rarely an easy one, for my harried spouse to walk with me. Beside me most times, behind me sometimes (following? pushing?); now and again conspicuously absent, but soon spotted on a different but parallel road. It has been work to keep him in my life, and myself in his.  And yet, I'm absolutely positive that neither of us would have the slightest idea what to do without the other, at this point. 

In the end, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  And I hope the husband feels the same; or at least feels I have been worth the trouble... 


  1. By the way, I didn't think you were talking about me.  I've had the convenience of a handy male most of my life, but feeling lost without a man just isn't me.  Even as untangle this mess we've made, I still wonder about people who can't be alone.

  2. I know there was a time when I felt I had to have a man in my life.  I'm sure that's how I ended up with the one I have.  It has been very hard work and sometimes it's worth it, and sometimes it isn't.  But, if something were to happen and we were no longer together....I'm sure my general attitude toward men would be "fool me once."

  3. Getting a real life LOL out of Kat's comment ~

  4. This is a great Valentine for your husband, Lisa.  Happy Valentine's Day.