Still Hot, Why Not?
MEN LOVE PINKING SHEARS
Pinking shears are scissors, the blades of which are saw-toothed instead of straight. They leave a zigzag pattern instead of a straight edge.
I’m not writing about how men our age love to sew. Even the most credulous among you would not believe that. Men may love to cook on the grill but when it comes to threading a needle, not only have they no interest, but their eyesight is going.
Men our age love women with pinking shears. That they apply. To balls. No, not balls of yarn. Balls of self-confidence, ego and masculinity. Men just love to get their balls snipped.
I hear the objections! “That’s not so!” you shout. I mean you, the handsome guy who is just out of a 26-year marriage, whom I’ve been dating. Whom I met right here on JDate.
But you’re not the only one who’s objecting, you adorable but well-snipped guy you. The ranks of All of You are rising up, that is if she hasn’t pruned that part, and proclaiming:
We want women who are kind, gentle, and understanding!
Bull-shlock, dear Men. You want ball-busters. Once you’ve had your kishkes chronically snipped, you become addicted. You crave criticism. You thirst for disapproval. That hot & cold thing she used to do? Where you never knew when she’d be nice, and when she’d take the flame thrower to your knaydelach? You miss that. It was exciting. The cold cut of the shears on your warm tootsies. And also: Then you could feel Guilty. Yes, you can go home again! Home to Guilt!
My gentle Reader (or probably not so gentle, if you’re anybody’s ex-wife) may be saying, “You can’t go by that one guy. That one sexy but beaten-down guy you’re dating. He’s neurotic.” Well yes, he is neurotic. But here’s the fact. Well, it’s not really a fact, but it is my opinion, based not only on my experience but that most dependable of references: my girlfriends.
Most middle-aged divorced men feel they were married to destructive women. Harridans. Ball-busters. Whether or not it’s true, it is how they perceive the women they stayed married to for ten, twenty, thirty years. (And therein lies the fat bank account of therapists).
“She blamed me for everything,” my adorable but hen-pecked guy said to me on our second date, right after proclaiming that he really shouldn’t talk about it. He went on to enumerate all the things she blamed him for, a list that included the breakup of their marriage, the wildness of their teen daughter, the thinness of their bank account, the mold in the basement, the burrs in the dog’s coat and the skeletal remains of a stegosaurus found in Siberia that were missing a thigh bone.
And I, of course, sat there, oozing gentleness and understanding, not only to stand in opposition to the evil ex-wife but also because I am gentle and understanding. Something I am trying to rectify.
And so I found myself, on a recent Sunday morn, in the open floor-plan kitchen of my brilliant but confused guy, watching his back as he fixed pumpkin waffles for brunch. He seemed to have forgotten my existence. I moved to the couch and read the Times. Finally, he brought plates to the coffee table, and poured syrup, silently. His eyes flitted to the window.
“I want to take my mom to a movie this afternoon,” he said.
I am two hours from home, by train. And surprise, he wants to take his mom to the movies. I have set aside the day to be with him. Do I say so? Do I object? Do I even frown? I smile. How can I object to this great guy who wants to take his aging mother to the movies? I say, “All right, honey, I understand.”
And then, I hear myself say that we should chill this whatever-it-is we’ve got. I’m really not the woman he seeks. He wants someone who will snap his head off. She would say, as a girlfriend told me I should’ve said, “That is so rude. Obviously you don’t want me here. I’ll go.”
But—is that reasonable? I don’t think so. Still, it would’ve given him a warm fuzzy feeling. Of being home. Of being drawn and quartered. He would not have taken his mom to the movies. He wouldn’t have wanted to. He’d want to spend the day with me, winning my approval. Which I would not give. Which would eventually lead to marriage.
There are lessons to be learned from this tale. If only I knew what they were, I would surely tell you. For the time being, I will burrow into my sewing basket. I know there’s a pair of pinking shears in there: rusty, but hopefully can be sharpened.