I was in Quiznos the other day (the only place I go for what could be called “fast food”) and the owner, who is an acquaintance of mine, introduced me to a new employee and we got onto the subject of dating—don’t ask, you know how women talk in circles—and the woman expressed discouragement because the men she met were only interested in One Thing.
I said “So what?” Which is the same answer I gave my father when, after my divorce, he told me to be careful when dating as men were only interested in One Thing. Only that time I added, “Maybe I am only interested in One Thing, too, Daddy.” My poor then 80-year-old father, whom I thought nothing could shock, blanched.
The thing is that men aren’t really interested in only One Thing. But they certainly need to get that One Thing out of the way. And, the truth is so do we. At least, once we reach a certain age. If we aren’t looking for a father for our children, or, necessarily a good provider, if we’re looking for a lover, a companion, and a great man to hang with for some measure of the duration, then we need to be honest with ourselves: doesn’t The Thing count for something? Don’t we want a man who makes our stomach jump, our heart flop, our mouth long for the kiss? Aren’t we looking for romance and isn’t romance that tingly feeling we can’t explain? Isn’t that the reason women get sex and love so mixed up with each other? To love someone you have to want them to touch you.
I mean, let’s get real. We’re dating for a reason. We can go to the movies with a girlfriend. We’ve got our kids to love, our parents to take care of. We are all grown up now. We’re wearing our big girl pants. So let’s find someone who wants us to take them off of us.
My husband swears that the golfer Sam Snead said that if a man isn’t thinking about pussy all the time he’s just not paying attention. I didn’t look the quote up because it seemed so preposterous, but I did do an informal survey once a year ago when I was at an artist’s colony. All the men agreed that they thought about it all the time. But my husband’s not only a horndog he’s an intellectual and he further explains:
“It’s contextual. We think about a thousand things a day, but pussy is always in the mix. Say we’re thinking about the curve of something, even something mathematical. Well, that leads us back to a woman’s curves. It’s like the Unicorn Tapestries. Everything is interwoven. It all leads back. And that is how men think about sex every eight seconds.”
My husband, though, would never hesitate to stereotype his own sex. Recently when yet another old boyfriend got in touch with me through Facebook, he sighed. “Is this one divorced, too? Every time a man gets divorced, he contacts you. I know what they want.”
Yeh, the One Thing. But the truth is that over the years of both my marriages several old beaux have contacted me by email and now Facebook and none of them have wanted that. They just wanted to reconnect, see how I was. This may be because none of my relationships, save one, have ended badly and even the one that ended badly did not involve knives or guns or stalking. Even my divorce has now evolved so that we are genuinely nice to each other.
Still, with the latest contact, I asked a male friend what he thought this newest man might want.
“I dunno,” he said. “I’ve contacted several old girlfriends and it was never for that. But then I am sort of a weird man.”
You can tell he was a big help.
Turns out I was a very fond memory. Which was nice. And he lives in Europe. Which means, except for the possibility of cybersex, in which I am not interested, The Thing isn’t likely to rear its head. Besides, I can always put my foot down. Or rather my keyboard.
I know your mother always told you if a man can get the milk for free, why buy the cow? But that’s just not true and never has been, especially not if you choose your bull wisely. My husband and I got The Thing out of the way pretty quickly and he still asked me to marry him, also very quickly. Women are way more in control than we like to admit. Men know that. We should, too.