is deep, a mystery-
Who wants to understand its every particular?
When I look back on my search for love, I realize that my route
has changed radically from what it once was. In those long ago days when my
hormones raged and my senses were aflame, I raced toward a rainbow of diamonds,
tulle and fantasy. Indeed, in my salad days, the style was to fall in love with
the look of a person and picture the life you would lead if you could
trap him into a commitment. It wasnít until after marriage (we did that in those
days) that the rose colored glasses were smashed into realistic smithereens.
I can still remember whirling in a maelstrom of emotion over a tall pharmacist
named Paul Benjamin. His sterling qualities were that he looked like Gregory
Peck, he was mysteriously silent (I later learned he had a severe speech
impediment) and he drove a yellow ford convertible. I satisfied my overpowering
lust by driving past Paul Benjaminís house and staring at his gleaming symbol of
masculinity parked on the curb in front of his rooming house.
In our last century, every girl worthy of her cycle had nabbed what she thought
was her Galahad by her twentieth year. Every year after that her prospects
diminished and she was forced to grab the first male who didnít turn green at
the sight of her or face a lonely future too ghastly to contemplate.
When I was twenty-one, I convinced myself I was in love with the pimply boy who
was courting my college roommate. I bided my time until she had the good sense
to marry another and I made my move. Only then did I discover the horrid truth:
The only characteristic he shared with my heroes on the silver screen was that,
like Clarke Gable, he didnít give a damn.
Women in the second millennium have altered their goals and I think that is a
very good thing. They donít waste their time in long, boring courtship. Instead,
they find their loves on the Internet. Before they consider forming a
relationship (note that this term does not demand either a ring or a commitment)
they test their candidateís prowess in the bedroom, in the kitchen and behind
the wheel of an automobile. They examine his diet to be sure he is in touch with
his body before he dare touch theirs. They never allow their prospect to
treat them to dinner or a movie because if they do, they will feel obligated to
offer demeaning favors in return.
Gender roles are no longer so clearly defined these days and that gives us all
greater flexibility to become ourselves. In my day, each partner knew his duty
and did it. The wife cooked, cleaned and complained about her husband on the
telephone while dinner was simmering on the stove. Her husband paid the bills.
Modern marriages are not based on such a limiting mindset. The female half of
the couple is most often a high-powered executive or an independent
entrepreneur. It is the male half who minds the nest, irons and picks her up at
the transit station. If he hasnít put something in the slow cooker, she orders a
carry-out dinner and he picks it up. Wasting time simmering anything on the
stove is passť.
Women these days have a new set of priorities. They demand a partner who shares
every responsibility from mothering to family finance. The new brand of couple
listens to each other, gives each other plenty of space and makes sure each
understands whose problem it is when they disagree. Should the male half of the
duo get bull-headed (a genetic characteristic) the feminine partner allows him
to present his case to an impartial marriage coach she has selected,
before they decide to live apart and divide their assets equally.
The enlightened woman of the second millennium never, ever makes that foolish
promise of yesteryear to love, honor and obey anyone until death. She
knows better. Thanks to the wisdom of medical science and the increase in female
physicians, the concept of remaining with one man for an entire life span makes
no sense. Most women outlive their husbands by at least thirty years. Even in
the worst situation, a wife can hang on to the hope that if she piles on the
French fries and breads enough lamb chops, the thorn in her side will vanish
while she is still in her prime.
When she shops for a replacement she is a lot smarter than she was the first
time around. Her hormones have settled down and the common sense they
obliterated steps forward. She evaluates the next oneís personal hygiene, takes
inventory of his kitchen and discusses his IRA. The mature modern woman doesnít
waste her energy on a remodel job. Instead she finds a partner who has been well
trained by his mother. She doesnít care that much about looks, but she insists
on a good sense of humor, a solid set of dentures and a cholesterol count in
proportion to the length of time she is willing to stick with the guy.
Itís a new world out there, one so multifaceted that no women need be without a
mate who can support her lifestyle, preserve a sense of romance and know when to
stop work to play. The miracle of this millennium is that these qualities need
not be in the same person.
The truth is that the love map of the twentieth century promised heaven but only
gave women dishpan hands. The road to romance in the twenty-first, freed them to
become their glorious selves while their partners take out the trash. It has
become a delightful route that is so exciting no one cares if they get there or
not. And I think that is a very good thing.
Married men die younger than single men
Because they want to