Men and women are different animals. It’s obvious, and apparent and sometimes I question how we’ve even survived as a species, because we get it wrong so often that it’s a wonder that we can breed…except accidentally, of course, when the condoms remain on the night stand or the pills remain unswallowed. (not to mention rearing of said children, but that’s a whole ‘nother discussion for, maybe, another time and place.) Now, of course, there are the exceptions, the people that get it right, this meeting and dating and mating. My Aunt Mary and Uncle Norman were one such couple, blissfully happy for forty some odd years, till death separated them. I didn’t have quite that parental model of love growing up: my Dad, silent and shy, self contained and reasonably content; and my Mom, the life of the party, talkative, fun, and, desperately unhappy. They had balance in their relationship, though, through the imbalance of their personalities…my Dad got to be at the party that my social mom was the center of, so he was never left out, never lonely, this shy and sensitive man. My mom on the other hand got to have a stable center to the whirlwind that was her being. She got the strong silent type, a la Gary Cooper, handsome, smart, and, most importantly, there for her, despite her ups and downs, her frequent bouts of anger and sadness. He was the rock, she was the storm. Two forces of nature, inexorably intertwined.
My aunt and Uncle though? No rock and storm there. They were more like the pasture and the sky, the stars and the ambling brook. There was a gentleness, a playfulness. Mary told me that Norman could never pass by her in a room without reaching out to touch her. I believe her, because I saw it, saw that love and that balance. To this day, Mary is an inspiration to me, even at 91 years of age, happy and sweet, and, if the situation calls for it (but never if not!) just a wee bit feisty. I am more like my aunt, I think, than I ever was like my mother.
(Of course, I’m also more like my Father than I ever was like my Mother…though I AM a great hostess and certainly don’t mind being the life of the party.)(And, though I hate to admit it, I’m also the occasional whirlwind…but anger doesn’t usually play into it, thank goodness. I am fortunate enough also, to have that rock, that strong silent place, right there at the center of my being, within me, if only I remember to access it.)
So, did the difference in parental-love role modeling make a difference in how the kids were able to meet/date/mate? Well…sort of. My two brothers, confirmed bachelors, I don’t think either one of them have had a date in decades. Bert and Rhea’s side. On Mary and Normans side, their four boys are as follows: One confirmed bachelor, one reformed-confirmed bachelor who is now dating his college sweetheart who lives across the country. One, who after many years of marriage and four kids is now divorced…although, in all fairness, it was the wife who suddenly turned wack-job and caused all the problems. He has a darling girlfriend, of a couple of years duration, so we’ll put him in the “positive” category. Then there’s my favorite cousin, who is a catch (girls, I’d date him if he weren’t my cousin!) When he and the mother of his child were going through problems, and chose to seek counseling, here is what transpired: the counselor asked, for reasons of understanding the couple before her, what it was like when each of their parents argued. When it was my cousins turn to answer, he responded with “My parents never argued.” Well, the counselor judged him to be full of shit, and it was all over from there on in. The counselor decided that the girlfriend was “right” in every occasion after that , since, of course, the boyfriend was lying, or deluded, or both. They broke up, my cousin and his girl. So, having the supreme parental- love role models actually worked against him. Sucky, isn’t it?
Now me? Well…let’s just say that, despite having both my parents and my Aunt and Uncle as possible role models, I somehow accidentally chose Buster Keaton and Abbott and Costello, so bumbling are my attempts in the arena of love.
Recently I sent a message to a guy, one meant to be charming and cute, part of it a joke, a play on words, that was, in retrospect, so inept, so inappropriate, so ridiculously, mortifyingly wrong, that, after the fact, it becomes funny, in a sad sort of way…so funny, in fact, that my best friend Kristin, upon hearing what I had written said “Oh my god, Darla, that is hysterical. You need to blog about it, it would be such a great post.” Well, maybe she’s right, but before I can publicly admit what I said, I’m going to have to get to the point where I can think about it without turning fifty-three brilliant shades of red…that should only take two, three, maybe four HUNDRED years! Suffice it to say, it was the equivalent of standing there pushing the “Run for the Hills” button over and over again, all the while thinking I’m pushing the “Can you come out and play?” button…then I think “hey, why isn’t this working?” and look down and see, oops, wrong button. Damn.
(I’m so embarrassed…so embarrassed that * sigh * and * face-palm * don’t even cut it. There has to be some new computer-ese to relate what I’m feeling, something along the lines of * head-smack-table *)
Then I just have to laugh at myself…and, the hook of that old Britney Spears song keeps running through my head: “Oops I Did It Again” Yep, I showed my pure fruitcake-i-ness, let my dork-side come out…and all the time trying to figure out this bizarre dating thing…then there’s the undeniable fact that it’s un-figure-out-able. Everyone is different, every relating is different, even timing changes the relation between two people who part and come back together, or, perhaps I could say, who didn’t connect and then did…
So, what to do? Just keep bumbling along, I guess…I suppose I’ll keep trying to get it right, if for nothing else than the spiritual growth aspect of it all. I’m not sure that it’s possible though, to ever actually “get it right”, with all the variables of temperament and history and timing amongst all the available singles out there… I have to hope that a man will come along who will love me, like my Father loved my Mother, despite all my glaring faults and flaws; a man who sees my warmth, my nurturing nature, my compassion; my vibrancy and excitement with life, my playful spirit, my sweet sensitive soul, my creativity and my heart. A man who will love me enough for the wonderful things about me, that, when I inevitably eff up and say or do the absolute wrong thing at absolutely the wrong time (and, knowing me, I am confident that this will happen sooner rather than later)will simply shake his head, smile, and say “Damn. She’s so cute when she’s such a doofus!”
He’s out there…right?