One approach to keeping love alive...
by Kelly Love Johnson
I want an old-fashioned relationship. I don't just mean that I want a man to open doors, pick up the check, and take my elbow on the street. I want him to lead when we dance, play cards like Frank Sinatra, drink like Dean Martin, talk tough like Humphrey Bogart. I want a man who can take any other man in the room. I want to feel safe and I want to feel like a woman.
I also want mystery. I want to wear lingerie to bed every night. I don't ever want him to see me 1) peeing with the bathroom door open, 2) taking my own clothes off, 3) polishing my nails at the kitchen table, 4) pumping my own gas, 5) putting makeup on, 6) blowing my nose, or 7) on the bathroom floor with my head hanging over the porcelain bowl, or even 8) what I look like when I wake up in the morning. I want a pristine relationship. It's the little things you hide from one another that keep the mystery going.
And on his end, I never want to hear him 1) pass gas, 2) belch intentionally, 3) blow his nose in the shower, or see him 4) pee with the door open, 5) vomit, faint, or cry, 6) comb his hair so the bald spot doesn't show, 7) clip his toenails over the carpet, or 8) know that he colors his hair and uses hair spray.
I think two people can co-exist without those things ever coming up, if they are polite and considerate about matters of personal hygiene and if a man respects women in general.
I am aware that this is not the conventional "feminist" way of entering into a partnership. But I don't want a partnership. I want to be the weaker sex and I want him to treat me as such. Even if I can curl 60-pound weights, I don't want him to know about it. I want him to carry the luggage, hammer the nails, and take the trash can out to the curb.
I want to be high maintenance. I want him to complain good-naturedly about how long it takes me to get ready, then compliment me on the results. I want to get my hair done every three weeks. I want to wear red lipstick, no matter how many times it has to be re-applied. I want to wear dresses and heels and pretty underwear. It would make me happy to be regarded as a piece of fine china, to be put on a pedestal, to be treated like a girl.
I have a friend who, when she was pregnant a few years ago, had strict instructions that her husband was not to be allowed in the delivery room when she gave birth. He was to be brought to her bedside once she and the baby were cleaned up and pristine like Madonna and Child. She felt that labor was a private moment for a woman, and that anything her husband saw in the delivery room could not possibly have a positive effect on their future marital life. She's not regretted that decision, nor was her husband taken aback by her wish to have him wait with a cigar until labor was over. And I have to say that, while I think there is a place for the husband in the birthing process, childbirth, as I understand it, is pretty messy, and I think I'd make the same decision.
Speaking of children, and to risk further incitement, I must also say that when I have children I will have a nanny because changing diapers is another chore that I prefer not to be seen doing. I will dearly love my children, but I prefer even their image of me as one not covered in baby poop and vomit.
I don't think I was born too late. I like being who I am at this time in history. And it might surprise you to learn that I consider myself a feminist. I don't think feminists hate men, nor do they hate being women. They just hate inequality. I make my own money at my own job that I'd never give up for any man. I hate inequality too. That's why I expect a husband to maintain the same decorum in my presence that I do in his.
I have friends who tell me that Iím dreaming. "Good luck finding that guy," they say. I don't think it will take luck, especially since I'm committed to nothing less. It just might take a little time, and I'm willing (and stubborn enough) to wait it out. There have to be men out there who don't want to see their lovely mate in curlers, sitting on the toilet in the morning with the door wide open, plucking her eyebrows with tweezers and a hand-held mirror.
I don't want to "control" my man with my feminine wiles, nor do I want him to control me. I just want the mystery that we all have early in the relationship to continue for as long as the relationship lasts, be it through marriage, children, and until death parts us ó or be it only through the end of this year. The moment a man is comfortable enough around me to sit on the couch with his hand down his pants, we can never go back again. The mystery is gone, as he soon will be.
Kelly Love Johnson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Flair, Parents, and webzines like Smile & Act Nice and Estroclick. She is Contributing Editor for Skirt! Magazine (www.skirtmag.com) and is currently working on a collection of short stories.
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