I am 41 now, given to looking at myself in mirrors and seeing how everything crinkles. I have young skin, young muscles in my legs, young energy. But if I look at my hair I can see the greys. The men in my life are no different, not much, full of things that young-feeling women want in their men. Vigor, vim, laughing and clear-looking eyes. But none of us are young.
At these ages we, the not-young, still come together, still couple. We find our love in old new ways. Old acquaintances met through old friends. Wooed on Facebook or Twitter. We save those old messages, the status updates or tweets that prompted them. Mine said, "I am hungry in all the ways." His said, "I am willing to oblige you."
I read on the internet that chivalry is not dead. I laugh. "9 Chivalrous Habits of a True Gentleman That Make Women Melt," the headline says.
It is writ that lists on the internet must be in odd numbers. I have composed many, many of my own lists but I am no lady. I melt though. Oh how I melt.
I am into re-writing these days. So I re-write this list.
Eight Habits of a True Love That Make Sarah Gilbert Melt
1. Lighting up eyes.
Maybe I come in his door or maybe he comes in mine. If I do I know where the key's kept, or he leaves the door unlocked for me. When he sees me he should look at me and smile most times. Look at his eyes. Can you see the light in them? I never got enough light when I was really, truly young, and I need light, need it in my windows and my heart and most of all, in my eyes, in his.
2. Eating every last bite and the sauce off the plate too.
I do like food. I like to eat it and cook it and think about it. I do not need to be bought dinner. I do not want to have my chair held out for me so I can sit. I want to serve a plate I have cooked while he sat in my kitchen talking to me, and maybe I have washed the dishes too, so of course he can spend time on Facebook telling me the things people have posted there. But when I set a plate in front of him he should tell me if it's not quite right and if he wants more salt or less cracked pepper and he should eat every bite and when it is gone, when he has helped himself to seconds out of the pan on the stove, he should use his finger or his tongue to lick every bit of sauce off the plate too. He was hungry and now he has been filled and in this, at least, I am satisfied.
3. Letting me parent my children.
Oh I know my children are often ill-behaved and usually wild. They swear and ride their roller skates in the house and break things. They'll be frustrating. They'll cause minor shock and major awe. Monroe will say "sorry" and Truman will say nothing and Everett will say something purposefully annoying. It's ok to give me advice if you think I've asked for it. But I don't need you to parent my children. I am not looking for a savior. I am looking for someone to love.
4. Never suffering for me.
I want experience. I want adventure. I want long quiet spaces as we walk or ride bikes or drive in his (if we must) car. I want conversations in which -- for hours -- neither of us will relent until finally, one of us does. I want us to make lists for each other of movies we love and want, with laughing desperation, the other to love, too. I want to watch the horror movies or comedies he cannot stop watching. I want him to see My Neighbor Totoro and a whole lot of Doctor Who. I never want him to compromise, I never want him to consume anything he'd rather not just for me. I want us to turn to each other in hilarity or import. I want us to discover new truths together.
I never, never want him to watch a stupid girly movie. Unless he likes that sort of thing.
5. Expecting things from me.
I am given to desire. I'd be a fool to hide it. I only have so much time. When I walk up to you expect me to kiss you. When you go expect me to want you to stay. When you put your hand on my leg, expect me to let you. Never expect satiation. I only have room for hunger.
6. Reaching for me on the sidewalk.
When we walk together do not protect me, but want me. Reach for my hand or my waist or my ass. Walk behind me just to look at me strut. Walk next to me and turn to meet my eye. When you stare up at the sky I'll look at your eyes first before I follow your gaze. When you point I want you to whisper something. I'll whisper back. Let's see the world together. I want attention, not just to me but to the wild gorgeous world...
7. Sharing his sight.
...I want him to send me pictures of the sunset. Send me messages that say, "look at the moon"! When I send him a picture of a rock he should ask me, "columnar basalt?" and when I send him a picture of the wild stormy sky he should name the clouds.
8. Filling you up.
When you are empty, and he can, he should fill you. When you gasp, and he hears you, he should ask why. When you pull back in his presence he should say, "you are closed right now," and you should tell him what it is that won't let you open. When you write him he should, when he has time, read it, and, when he has a response, respond.
And you, for him, should do all these things too. Chivalry is not dead but do we need it? No. We need partners. We need evenness. We need laughter and light and love. We need equals. Men and women, friends and lovers, we need eyes that are open and ready to see something beautiful. We need lungs that can inhale another's scent. We need hands that can touch and lips that can kiss and throats that can crush in sorrow or laughter or ecstasy. We need meaning. We need whimsy. We need other humans with needs like our own.comments powered by Disqus