I was leaving the library when I saw her; I did a u-turn. She wore a short skirt with long stockings that had black and white horizontal stripes. The little bit of skin that showed between stockings and skirt drove me crazy. She looked at me looking at her, and it wasn’t a friendly look. I hate it when women dress to attract attention, and then become offended when they attract attention. Maybe if I too had been twenty…
I like women in boots too, but I would lose readers if I alluded to them in the way that Charles Perrault alluded to a cat who wore boots—even though I think it sounds funny. Anyway, I like women in boots. I like them A LOT. Short boots, tall boots, majorette boots, cowgirl boots, I don’t care; I just like women in boots. Only I like them a lot better if they’re wearing shorts or skirts with those boots.
Tattoos? No. Nose rings? Oink no! Eyebrow studs? God forbid. High heels? Only if you consider an ambulatory disability sexy. Make-up? A very little is okay. Skirts over pants? Latter day hippies just look silly and unoriginal. Torn jeans? Only a decadent culture affects poverty as a fashion statement.
What I look for in how a woman dresses is a mixture of funk and creativity. I call it flair. But not all women can pull it off. Some women who wear funky hats, vintage clothes, and oversize jewelry just look like they own a few too many cats. Cat women definitely aren’t my thing, but maybe that’s because I got burned by one. Before her, I didn’t think about cats much. Now, I’m more into women who have dogs, but no more than one or two.
Women with sad eyes—wow. Maybe this is because I equate sorrow with depth and happiness with superficiality, or maybe it’s because I think I can save them. Anyway, women with sad eyes make me crazy. I just want to throw myself at their feet and crawl up their legs, serpent-like. You might say, “Bullshit, sad women don’t have more depth; they just have a hormone deficiency.” Okay, whatever… Fact is, I’m in no mood for objective truth, so I would ask that you bear with me even if I sound stupid. After all, you probably sound stupid sometimes too.
One problem I have (okay, one among MANY) is that I like women who dress with flair, yet women who dress so provocatively that men will fantasy about them for 20 years after a brief sighting in the library are almost certainly extroverts, and I prefer introverts because, again, I think the latter have more depth. Extroverts are like pond skimmers that never really alight, and introverts are like fish that hangout in the mud and gloom at the bottom.
What else do you like?
You really want to know? I mean, REALLY?
I am in such suspense that I can hardly catch my breath.
Which brings me to panting women, which are another major turn-on. As are women who smell like human beings instead of like gardenias or some other crap that comes out of a bottle. It’s a really dirty woman who needs to shower to please me, and I have no problem with body hair either unless it’s so thick that it looks like it should be on a man.
Maturity, depth, and erudition also turn me on, but I’ll tell you the embarrassing truth. A silly and shallow fifteen year old can LOOK awfully good even though my paternal instincts outweigh my prurient ones.
One other thing, and it’s a biggie. I like a woman who has seen it all, and who is damn hard to frighten or offend. Maybe this is because I was raised by a mother who never stopped feigning the innocence of a child and who seemed offended by pretty much everything that had anything to do with sex. This turn-on is one reason that I like older women, although I quit writing off younger women after I read Carson McCullers. The accumulation of years is far less important than who a woman is inside; youth doesn’t have to mean innocence or naïveté, and age doesn’t necessarily imply worldliness.
Blondes are good because they look like they’re wearing halos when they’re in the sunshine, but then long-haired blonde men look that way too from behind, and I always feel cheated when they turn around (in fact, I want to slug them for getting me aroused over nothing). A woman’s eyes and shape are far more important than hair color. Besides, I think of brunettes and redheads as having more depth.
Mental problems and a history of suicide attempts also point to depth because the ability to adjust to this world would seem to imply a certain callousness and superficiality. Yeah, I know. Yet again, I’m confusing depth with hormone deficiencies. But then what ARE we, really? You might be right; it might ALL be a question of hormones, but that makes no difference. We all PRETEND that our lives have a deeper substance, a spiritual reality, if you will. I don’t think this is true, but I live as if it is. Cut us open, and we’re the same as pigs, but we don’t treat one another like pigs.
So, how does Peggy measure up to all this? Not so good, thankfully. You see, I recognize something of a gap between the qualities that look hot and the qualities that make a long-term relationship possible. It’s a little like wanting vodka when what you really need is a good meal. Peggy is the good meal. Besides, she has put up with me for 38 years, and I owe her for that. Besides that, what we lack in our ability to deeply understand one another is more than made up for by our love for one another. I can never again marry a woman when we are both young and stay with her until we are approaching old age, and that means a lot to me.
You want to know what depth is in a relationship? I’ll tell you, my child. It’s not hot sex or heart-to-heart talks. Well, maybe it is. But more than these, depth is when you put someone else’s name on your bank account (assuming there’s anything in it) knowing full well that that person could walk away with everything you’ve worked a lifetime for, yet trusting that she won’t EVEN IF she should come to hate your guts. Peggy looks hot, AND she’s deeply affectionate, AND she has unquestioned integrity. It’s a hell of an attractive combination, yet it has never dampened my desire for other women. The new and unknown is appealing because it is new and unknown, and there’s no depth to such an appeal. It’s mostly—maybe exclusively—a matter of hormones.
Stockholm memories, scattered and smothered - *First things first, or Loose Ends Tied Up While-U-Wait Department: I arrived at Arlanda airport in Stockholm early in February 1969 wit...