Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – February 20, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – February 20, 2004 – My brother Eric, once took extreme (similar to today’s reality television extreme) exception to my relationships with men and told me in no uncertain terms (his) that it was high time that I stopped leaving a trail of broken hearts in my path and settled down with someone.
I think I was about twenty-eight at the time. I thought he had a lot of “noive” and we didn’t speak for a long time. When we did patch things up I was glad to have him a back in my life. He is one of the good guys!
Now don’t get all uppity here and think that I’m a man basher. I’m not – I like men a lot, it’s just that now I like them on my terms. I used to like them on their terms and consequently made a few bad decisions over the years. I was never a girl who was ‘boy crazy’. I was aware of boys by late public school and shared my “first kiss” when I was twelve. Throughout high school I always dated older guys ( not my classmates) some of whom I met during my summers at the beach. By university I was a bit more serious and after college I settled down with one person for awhile.
During the intervening years I’ve had some serious relationships, some that were not as serious, some that were just for fun, some that I wished were serious but the other person didn’t feel the same way about me and vice-versa). I’ve lived with men and am on my own now. Some days I wish I was coupled – others I’m so glad I’m single that the mere thought of sharing my space with a man sends me into fits of hilarity – perhaps I mean hysteria.
Where would he sleep? Would there be room for him in the menopausal bed? Might he float out of bed on the currents of a night sweat or be trounced to within an inch of his life during the throes of a monumental menopausal thrashing? In short – would he be safe in bed with me?
I remember all too well, the many times I’ve bitten my tongue to spare a man’s tender ego. I’m not unkind but these days I speak my mind. It took me a very long time to find my voice and I’m not about to give it up. I’ve discovered that some men don’t like that. Too bad.
I understand now just how funny “sex” is – too bad I didn’t get that much earlier in life. The bodies of men and women are highly entertaining on their own – together, the potential for amusement is simply outrageous. People take sex way too seriously. We watch way too many movies and think what we see on television is real. Sex can be sweet, serious, intimate, casual, rambunctious, fast or slow. So take the time to explore your sexuality and don’t lose your sense of humour about the process. Remember, people are in this together.
I try to think back on the relationships I’ve had with men and find the good in them and let the rest go. I’m mostly successful. I have bittersweet memories of some men. A few men have been unwitting teachers. I’ve learned what not to accept, but sometimes I still get it wrong.
I once lived with a man who told me that I crossed the street incorrectly. I actually took that seriously and tried to do better. I was hopeless. There I was just darting across the street helter-skelter when I was supposed to be waiting for him to lead the way in a wise and manly fashion. He also had a rule about who was supposed to call out first when the other arrived home. Was it the person arriving home or the person already at home? Gosh – I just couldn’t get that right either.
At the end of the relationship he had an affair and tried to make me believe it was my fault. Now if that man crossed my path today, I would flip him the finger so fast that his little bald head would spin (preferably right off) – oops did I say that?
I’ve dated men who were charming, kind, funny, sweet, sexy and generous and I’ve dated men who were exactly the opposite. Over the years I’ve come to understand men a little better. They are people just like we women are. They have bad days just like we do. They are just as likely to be happy, sad, afraid, disappointed, hurt, sensitive, grumpy, vulnerable, vindictive, forgetful, conniving, over-worked, tired, kind and generous as we are.
Men don’t need mothers who nag them – they need partners who support them. Just like we don’t need fathers or masters – we need another human being who sincerely wants us to be his equal.
So I remain attracted to men, amazed by their talents, appreciative of their work ethic, frustrated by their insensitivity when they’re behaving like clods, surprised by how much they want to please us, infuriated by those who are misogynists, appalled by the way some of them behave, delighted by others who are funny, brave, kind, sweet and generous.
Men are fathers, brothers, husbands, lovers, friends, sons and uncles. They can be a pain in the butt and a joy in our hearts. In my dotage I’m thinking less about what is masculine or feminine and spending more time thinking about people as human beings. I’ve worked hard to define myself as a woman and to set healthy limits on my life. I’m hopeful – not desperate and perhaps one of these days I’ll cross paths again with a great guy – but if I don’t … c’est la vie!