Sitting in Court Street Grocers today, a turkey club the size of my face on the table before me, I kicked Kim under the table.
Kim and I have the same taste in men.
Taste: a personal preference or liking.
She looked up from her sandwich to me to then where my eyes were glued. He was tall with dark hair and a full salt and pepper beard.
We've gotten good at alerting one another when we find a man attractive. Gentle nods of the head, not so subtle elbows into ribs, and from there the two of us mostly just stare.
There are subtle discrepancies here and there--where she loves an Italian, I'll lean toward the Spaniard, but often we find ourselves stealing glances in the same direction and groaning as two grown women sometimes do when reduced to little more than hormones and awe.
When the full-bearded-man with his rolled jeans and broad shoulders finally left our viewing area leaving us to the sandwiches at hand, I asked Kim, Do you ever think we've had that effect on a man?
Attraction: the act or capability of attracting // the gravitational force exerted by one body on another. On the subway tonight I began to think about attraction--about what it is I'm most attracted to and if that thing--that unnamable thing can in fact be named and conjured and spoken aloud.
And then I began to think about how if I attempted to write (or okay, let's call a spade a spade, blog) about attraction than Anonymous would be sure to skewer me because heaven forbid a woman knows what she wants--physically or otherwise. So we can then add knowing-what-we-want to the list of things women are not encouraged to do, which I'm pretty sure also includes aging-gracefully and the-right-to-vote (which this last one I thought we took care of in 1920 but I came across a tweet today which led to a blog and apparently it's a thing again) and can we then take a minute to talk about how it's women that are holding each other back? How each and every last one of us does not proudly admit to being a feminist is simply beyond me. I am a feminist. This does not mean I burn bras. This does not mean I hate men. This means I think women have a voice and an unparalleled strength and a unique set of gifts. Women have birthed empires. And if you try to use religion on me and start talking about your god versus my god and how it's the Lord's will that women submit to a male authority then I will simply lose my shit. I mean, I will. I will lose my shit right here, right now, right over all that's to follow. Because the whole your god, my god thing is enough to make me end the conversation right then and there--it's entitled and possessive and wholly small in a way that seems so very against the spirit of things.
Hmmm. Okay. So... I seem to have gotten off topic.
Derailed: to have left the rails.
I went on a date with a guy recently. A lovely guy. Charming and kind. A guy that my girlfriends were convinced would surprise me and sweep me off my feet in a slow moving kind of way. But a guy that I knew after the first date was not the guy for me.
But why everyone asked. And I groped in that language-less land.
Because. Because, because. Because I just know. But how do you know? To Tom I said, because I didn't feel safe and protected with him. And Tom, bless him, knowing when to press and when to simply listen, said, if he wasn't able to convey that within the first date then he probably wouldn't have ever. Which is not to say that he was a man who could not convey that for many another woman--he most certainly was and will--of that I am sure.
Feeling: an awareness or impression. Sitting next to him at the bar I was aware of his body. Of how I felt it no further than an inch beyond him. And how there have been men in my life I've felt the force and wind of from across the room. Their scope penetrating me in an altogether different way. Attraction. A meeting of small force fields. Some aware of others, some not. Some compatible, some not.
I struggled for weeks to tell him why we weren't a match. And in the end I was not terribly honest and not terribly courageous and I became a very small and ugly version of myself as I tried to push him away.
There just wasn't a spark, Tom said a few days after my fumbled attempt. Where you with that word when I needed it? I replied.
Spark: a quality or feeling with latent potential; a seed or germ.
Spark. It is either there. Or it isn't.
I want to feel enveloped by a man. I want to feel absolutely challenged. Valued for my size and femininity and flagrant feminism. And yes, I want him to have moved past the roommate-stage of life, the constantly-high-stage of life, the video-games-till-two-in-the-morning-every.single.night. stage of life. I want a real, gown-up Man--the capital M kind of man. And I will not apologize for that. I want a man prepared for a life with someone else. Prepared to fight and compromise and sweat till the sun does rise. I want him to know his worth and respect me for mine. And you know what? At twenty-seven I feel like these are things I have the right to want, and to say I want. Because I'm coming to the table as a more fully formed person. Because I grew up by myself, without a partner. Because I've been on a lot of bad dates and gone out with a lot of wrong men and moved past the sort of heartbreak that threatens a forever-sort-of-haunt. And so yes, I have certain expectations of myself at this age and of a partner at this age. Moving forward I have certain expectations. To not have them would be immature and irresponsible.
I might fall in love with a man who is none of the things I say I want. Who is so very much not what I ever expected. But I'm more skeptical of this now, as I age and know myself better. Details may change--where he's from and what he does and if he actually has that much coveted salt and pepper beard--but the core of a man who knows himself is a constant sort of thing.
This desire for a man and the specifics of this desire--of two people meeting and jointing together in a union where neither person loses himself in the other--well it feels like the best sort of attraction.
A feminist's dream.