I’m having a morning of just appreciating the male shape. I love the sleek lines of a well tailored suit that let me see how many hours a man might spend in the gym. I love broad shoulders and narrow waistlines. I laugh a little when I see a man in shorts that clearly skips leg day, but spends more time than needed on his chest. My office overlooks a swimming pool and in the summer I expect to look over and witness an actual Hollywood sausage fest. Think of that what you will.
I remember the days when I was dating and without fail, all of the hot guys that were all wrong for me were also all driving stick shift cars that wore their time and dedication in their wax job. I would never be loved in that way by them. Every moth needs to try that flame out at least once or twice before deciding it’s not worth getting burned.
My husband wasn’t like that. He was shy and flirtatious. It was a cute oxymoron. I wore my usual confidence. Dating was no longer about finding a soul mate. I wanted dinner and attention. The dating game was boring and pointless. I was losing faith in finding anything meaningful because I felt like the legs and breasts (pre-childbirth) were all people saw when they looked at me, and it made dating a game of power and dominance. I wanted to conquer rather than become a sad conquest.
It didn’t matter to me what my husband looked like at the time we started flirting. I would walk into the pool hall where I hung out with my friends, and he was their security guard. I would walk in with a short dress with barely enough room for me in it, and he would say he needed to pat me down. It was silly and I didn’t think much of it. He later told me he thought I was a man. One night I wasn’t drinking and headed over to the bar. I leaned over and said, “I’ll have a Coke, and he’s buying.” He nodded his approval and told me,” It’ll cost your number.” I saved a dollar. His drinks were free. I wrote it on a matchbook. He didn’t call me. A week later I was on a date at the same place and asked him why he never called me. He said he thought the number was a fake. I still have that matchbook.
There was something about our parallel histories that very nearly intertwined. I knew on our first date that he would be the man I would marry. The day we got married I remember feeling disbelief that it was happening. I was filled with fear and defiance and I wondered if I actually felt love, or if I should have given it more time. In the months when passion faded into a peaceful co-existence, I realized that he loved me more than I loved him and it felt safe to love him. In that safety I began to give him every ounce of my heart. I began to find parts of his body that I could love and worship. I still love the dip in his lower back and the hollow where his hip meets his thigh. It’s those soft curves of his body that I loved to kiss. His soft parts matched mine.
I gave him all of me. I was rude to friendly smiles and cut off the friends that kept telling me I was out of his league. I stopped talking to friends that thought our flirty friendship was okay and never allowed a crush to develop on anyone else. There was a night or two in our first 5 years of marriage where I revisited those friends. A guy I was once infatuated with was there. I was never more than an available body to him. I appreciated that look of desire he shot me, but would walk away feeling awed that he would respect my marriage in trying to hide it. My husband would later have an online affair. He would meet a different woman from his online life at a comedy club, then joke to me that I had a better body than hers and that saved him from cheating on me. He would more recently have a special friend replace me and not understand why I don’t want her around my kids.
This is my new mood, and I can deal with it. Can you?