Talk of the Town - What do men really want? April 22 2004
Just a Killer Giantess Supermodel
"You're still nothin' but two-bit outlaws on the dodge. It's over! Don't you get that? Your times is over ... And all you can do is choose where."
-- "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"
After 40, one's stock of unmarried cronies dwindles faster than a reunion of Spanish-American War veterans. The few rakish survivors charging up Don Juan Hill continue to regale me with tales of bachelorhood.
They still think I'm interested in their problems: the bad dates, botched liaisons and healthy heapin' of fraud that goes with being a middle-aged lothario. Overshadowed by the twin threats of A) celibacy and monogamy.
I never thought I'd be unsympathetic to the plight of the Unmarried Guy. I was once one myself. At the time, I thought no situation more poignant or fraught with human drama. Marry or stay single? Commit or settle down? The momentousness of it all!
Now, when single confreres send an angst-o-gram, I am empty of empathy. One colleague, who has reached the "playing house" stage with his girlfriend but still fancies himself Houdini when it comes to getting hitched, called with a decorating issue. In this case, the woman was moving into his domain. A walnut-brown, leather easy chair, cigar-stand-by-the-humidor, formerly all-male terrarium.
"She brought this ... this lamp into the house," he whispered over the phone late one night. Only after his new live-in had gone to sleep.
"What does it look like?"
"Frilly. Sort of light purple."
"Mauve," I tell him.
"Mauve. It's a color. Single men have never heard of it. You have to be married at least a year to know what it means."
It is a strange double game these guys play. On the one hand, I know they think I'm a weak-kneed knucklehead for having gotten married. On the other, in their clueless desperation to comprehend the female condition, they hope, owing to prolonged proximity to one of the species, that I might actually know something.
"So should I get ... uh?"
Can't even say the word.
It inevitably comes to this. The question my father, in the best counsel of his life, told me to always dodge. Nothing good, he said, ever comes from giving advice about marriage.
Because if you come out against it and the guy gets married anyway, he'll tell his new wife and neither of them will ever talk to you again. On the flip side, if you favor nuptials and the union tanks, the guy will blame you for giving lousy advice.
Here's some guidance I'll offer women, at least the ones who have experienced a detour going down the aisle. Their irritation with men centers on male refusal to commit.
Women really knock themselves out wondering about this. Why doesn't the guy ante up? Is it infantilism, mother fixation, megalomania, late-blooming attention deficit disorder, or a combination thereof?
No. It's Victoria's Secret.
Specifically, those fashion models wearing a sheer washcloth and a pair of wings. Led by that South American amazon, the one with the German name. She's so stunning it's like some Boys from Brazil fugitive ex-Nazi sex biology project gone loco — a woman so bodacious she kills men with her first embrace.
Anyway, every guy believes he might meet one of those women.
I know, the idea is preposterous. But trust me, that's how men operate. They don't want to commit because somehow, in some weird way — the odds of which make hitting the Powerball jackpot seem a sure thing by comparison — they think they'll meet that Killer Giantess Supermodel. And that she would be willing to go out on a date. Just one date, evidently.
So the answer, ladies, is simple: The man you are with is a moron. But that's OK. Most of us are. Just tune in to C-Span and watch special-order speeches on the floor of Congress for a bipartisan sample.
At the same time, however, I must extend the hand of solidarity to my still-single brothers in crisis. I may not sympathize with your cretinous fantasies anymore, but I assure you: A light does glow at the end of bachelorhood.
Because there is a quiet joy that goes with being a middle-aged married man. Not only do you become invisible to younger, washcloth-clad females who wear wings, you even start to fade on the radar among older ones still dimly aware of your existence.
Yes, at first this can be frustrating. Those men who still have the peacock of youth strutting through their psyches are loath to go gentle into such an anonymous night.
But after a while, you'll come to realize that this very air of incorporeity provides a new freedom. If you miss a spot shaving, who cares? Does this plaid tomato-stained shirt really go with that pair of shiny striped pants? Ah, who's gonna see?
See? You can be a total slob — and no one will notice. This is every guy's idea of paradise.
So quit whining. March down that aisle.
And fire up the mauve lamp.
i>Glen Slattery is fading fast in Alpharetta.