But they totally do!
And I said, "People need to understand, this playlist contains everything I know about love!" And he was all, "I'm sure it's wonderful, baby."
Back in the summer, one day I had The Talk with Laura. The Talk about Sex and Babies. Laura and Mom and I were driving in the car and my mom and I said, of a couple expecting a baby, "I think they were trying for a long time." Laura piped up and said, "What do you mean they were trying, isn't it just natural?" Yes, she was ten years old, and I had been adhering to my policy of Don't Answer Questions That Haven't Been Asked. But a wise friend countered with The Child Who Does Not Ask Must Be Told. And I realized that her innocence was shading into ignorance, and that I needed to get in there.
So I did. We sat at the sound-side beach under that umbrella and I gave her what I thought of as the entry-level picture of the situation. First I figured out how much she knew already, which was nothing. So I told her. Bless her heart, when I got to the actual facts of actual intercourse, she was like, "Do what now?" And she was a little sad. She said, "I thought that I wanted to have like four kids, but now I'll maybe have just one."
I just told her that, believe it or not, when she was grown up she would want to do that.
So I left it there, after a brief PSA about teen pregnancy. And I felt like I was leaving out the biggest part, because though I had told her the facts of sex, I couldn't tell her its real significance. She wouldn't get it, it's like a melody she can't hear yet, how central it is to human life and how important to who we are. I guess that takes years to figure out. Or, as they say, a minute to learn, a lifetime to master.
Matt and I were talking about this a couple of weeks ago. Remember that movie Witness with Harrison Ford? And the beautiful Kelly McGillis? He's hanging out with the Amish, and there's that scene where she's bathing herself in her room and he sees her and she turns around and sees him seeing her? It is something. I was twelve years old when that movie came out. I remember watching it with a room full of adults, and when that scene happened, they gave a collective gasp, they were so absorbed. I had no idea what was really happening. I was like, "Uh oh, he saw her boobs!"
Fast forward to when I was nineteen, reading Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night. A book I still love. It was an education to me to realize that a man would cheat on his wife with a woman who was not as beautiful or desirable as his wife. Sometimes I think of the part where the narrator says, of the doomed Dick and Nicole Diver, and Dick's dalliance with the girl Rosemary, "Back at two o’clock in the Roi George corridor, the beauty of Nicole had been to the beauty of Rosemary as the beauty of Leonardo’s girl was to that of the girl of an illustrator."
That gave me a lot to think about for a long time.
Fast forward again, twenty years, to the other night. We talked of this and that, women and men. Matt, musing, said, "I want a woman who's easy to please, and I want to work hard to please her." I laughed that it sounded like a line in a blues song, but I knew what he meant and what he meant by saying it. This sentiment might have been unintelligible to me as a girl, and even in my twenties. But here in my late thirties, well absorbed in the unfolding of what is becoming a long marriage, it makes complete sense to me. I couldn't add anything to that and just nodded. Amen, brother.
Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you're having a sweet day with those you love. xoxo