Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Married to Whom

I know it sounds terribly self-serving - comparing the spouses, partners and significant others in other people’s lives. One could easily ask oneself: Who am I to compare, analyze or otherwise scrutinize the partners other people have chosen to live with for the rest of their lives.

I am a writer. I can and therefore I do. Besides it’s one of those age old questions that people often times ponder but seldom discuss in public. ‘How did those two end up together?’ and better yet, ‘what was the glue that kept them together for so long?’

I think many young girls when they’re growing up fantasize about the man they will eventually marry. One has to fast-forward any length of time to see if and how it worked out. For those who went the distance I’m always fascinated how and why. How did those two people end up together? Why did it work out?

I did well for myself although as I’ve confessed in another blog (Through no Fault of My Own) it was just luck on my part that my best friend of forty-seven years chose me and not someone else. There were plenty of other suiters attracted to that smart, witty, ambitious blond and yet she choose me. Perhaps the fact that she was so different from the other women I dated had something to do with it.

In high school and college, a lot of the girls I dated seemed enamored with strong men who had ‘to be in charge.’ They wanted the guy to tell them where they were going on a date, what they’d do afterwards with no discussion required. If those handsome young men expressed great insight into their own destiny and claimed to know exactly what their future held for them, the women practically felt their limbs go weak and heart start racing.

I could never resolve that conundrum with those women. On one hand they claimed equal rights for just about everything…which they should have. Then they turned around and their hearts would go all-a-flutter for those ‘father-like-figures’ who made it very clear who was in charge. I guess for those women it was easier to defer than to challenge.

I always thought it made more sense and was more respectful to let the woman decide on options for a date. Or at least to let the two of us decide on something mutually agreeable. A lot of those women back in my tender years seemed to see that approach as weak and compromising. But it was my approach so I never changed.

Conversely, I find it fascinating that so many men I know are very uncomfortable around strong women. It’s usually masked by bravado and a higher than normal volume of control. But behind the fa├žade is a man who needs to be in charge and is not used to a woman challenging him on that role.

Long before the notion of women’s liberation bubbled into our consciousness and the #MeToo movement took shape, strong women caught my attention and imagination. As I’ve mentioned in past blogs I have always found independent women very attractive. The heroines that populate my novels and plays seem to have that same characteristic - brilliant, beautiful, and ballsy.

But I guess in the end it doesn’t matter who you marry as long as it works for the two of you. Others may try to figure out your chemistry but why bother.

On the surface, my own connection may not seem very obvious. It was a kaleidoscope of opposites attracting and subtle yet very real mutual goals. It is a collaboration of aspirations and agreements where it really matters.  It’s our own fabric of living together and yet independently that makes our partnership work.

All the rest is supposition and assumption.

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