Day Three: Eight ways to win your heart.
(Day Four: Seven things that cross your mind a lot.
Day Five: Six things you wish you’d never done.
Day Six: Five people who mean a lot (in no order whatsoever)
Day Seven: Four turn-offs.
Day Eight: Three turn-ons.
Day Nine: Two images that describe your life right now, and why.
Day Ten: One confession.)
So I'm assuming love as in stars in the eyes rather than stars in the pants, so I'm going to skip all the stuff about tender flesh and overbites. (Not like orthodonture overbite, just enough so the mouth forms a little moue at rest. Hey, we've all got a couple of those kinds of preferences.)
And just to get this out of the way? Smart and funny are not turn-ons. Saying a woman has to be smart and funny for me to be interested in her isn't like saying that she needs to have legs. Legs are negotiable. It's like saying she either needs to be able to breathe nitrogen with some oxygen in it or she has to buy me a spacesuit.
Okay? Does that make me a bad person, that I'm superficial for not-actually-deep reasons?
Anyway. On to the love! These are the things that win my heart.
1) Be talented. You got the arts? Ooo, la la.
You could take someone who looked like a wrong-colored raisin with an odd number of limbs, and they could knock out a song or story or picture that has that fucking live vibe to it? They got me. This is the big one.
The missus was a sculptress when we got together and now she's taking it out in gardening. Her work has been one of the major influences on the prints I've been making over the last few years.
2.) Be kind. Or, perhaps more generally, be actually concerned with matters outside of yourself. Before the missus and I were anywhere near an item, she was angry with me for wearing beat-up shoes when she wasn't making me eat miso soup.
I also remember a one-evenings crush that started when I noticed the woman silently passing out pillows and water at a Hare Krishna meeting. (You can ask me about that some time in person, and if you don't buy the story? Ask Margret Cho. She was the one who dragged me there.)
3.) On the other hand, I like a certain amount of evil. Look, I am a nice person. Everybody knows that. A nice guy. A regular sweetheart. A moves-the-spider-outside kinda guy, an unlocks-the-driver's-side passenger.
But I got this streak. It's wide, and it's ugly, and it smells. But I like it. I am a nice guy, but I am a bad man.
The missus is bad. And she's not just bad. She's horrible. I have seen her look a clerk right in the eye and say, "I will stand here and scream until I get my way." Not unless. Until. Clerks can sense the palpable reality of that until the same way security guards can smell fear.
She isn't just horrible. She's appalling. And she's all mine...
4) And while we're on the subject, I love a gal who can hate. The missus hates the pigs and the man (I sometimes play that role myself, especially if rational in the face of woo), and her perennial cry of, "Those fuckers, man!" will never fail to warm the cockles of my heart.
I will admit, though. I have a pal and our relationship began as professional, enlarged to pal, and there it stayed. This is not a flirty friendship. But once when we were having lunch, she looked up at me and out of the blue said, "I hate people. I really hate them." I felt the truth in her words go right through me. And if in that moment she had said either, "I know where there aren't any," or, "I know how to kill them all," she coulda picked me up like a toy off a shelf.
5) I will admit that I can be suckered by vulnerability. Once when the missus and I were in Hawaii, we were swimming and she felt overwhelmed by the surf. It was strange to see her frightened, and it brought out something in me that hasn't been a strong presence in our relationship.
I took charge of her. I didn't want her to be scared, and I didn't want her to go back to the beach because she was scared. I needed to see her at ease in the water, and I was willing to pressure her about it.
So I took her in my arms, and moved her up and down with the waves, and showed her how to flow with the surf instead of fighting it, how to use the rhythm of the sea as part of your cycle of breath.
So much of our relationship has been her guiding me, or me reacting against her control. It was strange to assume that position of, well, paternalistic loving dominance. But it changed things between us, and we've been closer ever since.
It isn't weakness to need other people, it's the human condition. Who wants to be around someone who likes you, loves you, but who doesn't need you?
6) I love a strong woman. Vulnerability without strength is not my idea of a good time. And I am an overpowering individual. My simple presence can prove a strain on some delicate individuals. (Not kidding, unfortunately.) It takes a hell of a woman to balance me out. The missus is, without a doubt, that woman. We're the irresistible force and the immovable object, Scylla and Charybdis, a rock and a hard place, the devil and this lady from Queens.
7) If they love me. This seems obvious, but I need this more than most people do since I do such a cruddy job at loving myself. I basically ship the job over to someone else, so they need to be good at it.
You know how much the missus loves me? She loves me so much she was recently willing to give up the threat of dumping me, no matter how useful it seemed to be, and admit that we're together for life. It's one thing to love someone enough to stay with them for life; it's another thing entirely to give up a tactical advantage on the marital battlefield. I believe her decision to have been a shrewd one, but you'll have to find out from her whether or not it was actually worth it.
If I may paraphrase one of my favorite quotes from Jurgen, "Poets underestimate the power of love; it is a force so compelling as to induce women to put up with them."
8) Of course, what's really important is that their image of me is one that flatters my vanity.
You can't have everything.