Because, well, I’m good at it!
My friends will tell you my love life has brought them countless hours of amusement.
And it’s nothing I try to do—honest!
But trouble tends to follow me in romance. Or, I follow it. And the process is always, well, interesting.
As a male friend from college is fond of asking, when I embark on another relationship, “What horrible is wrong with this one?”
I’ve run down the entire list of dysfunction. Sadly, all in different men!
In my youth, I practiced serial monogamy. I won’t mention how many times I’ve been engaged, but other than twice, when it got to the “I do” part, well, I didn’t. And I don’t regret the times I did say, “I do,” because I sure learned a lot!
So now that I’m, ahem, more mature, I never think of romance. There’re always men around, and I enjoy talking with them. Flirting. Having fun. But the idea of paring down to just one doesn’t hold much appeal these days. I mean, like you, I’m pretty danged busy, and have enough trouble finding time for my friends!
And nope, it’s not pathological—I don’t say or feel, “Never again!”
I just don’t think about it.
So imagine my surprise when a year or so ago, during a work-related thing, I met a man with whom I really hit it off. We had the best time! We laughed and joked and talked for hours on end.
We became instant BFFs.
What surprised me the most, though, was that I was truly attracted to him. And he felt the same.
I mean, I’m not dead, but hadn’t felt such attraction in many years. Real life had been pretty intense—elderly and sick parents, and all that entailed, then dealing with their deaths and all the issues after that. More health scares with family and friends. Plus, an exacting career and business, and showing English Labradors, having puppies, well, my life was pretty danged nuts.
So, again, I just hadn’t thought about it.
Enter this man with whom I had so much in common!
And you know how that is—all is roses.
But when you’re in that state, the entire flag parade of the United Nations can go by and you fail to see them . . .
So off things go with another long visit, and lots of phone conversations, and never did I get one whiff of things not being what they seemed.
Okay, that’s never the case, is it. We say we get blind-sided, but in retrospect, all those flags have been waving by us for quite some time.
And then . . .
So one day, he was taking me to lunch, and it was the first time I’d ridden in his truck. Outside was hot, hot, as only Texas summer can be, and he turned on the AC so I’d be cool, and then ran back in the building to get something.
Imagine my surprise . . . okay, that’s not a strong-enough word! Imagine my horror, as on the radio spouting his hate-speak is Rush Limbaugh.
Um . . .
Okay, anybody who knows me, knows I’m a pretty big Dem. Women’s issues are at the core of my being, and a woman’s right to choose is my signature issue. If we don’t have sovereignty over our own bodies, we have no civil rights.
In a nutshell, I’m one of those Femi-Nazis Rush is so fond of warning folks about.
I’m kinda the poster girl for that J
And, I don’t hide it. I don’t ram it down people’s throats, but it’s just part of my very being. I had mentioned bits and pieces in past conversations as they naturally came up.
Nothing was said to counter that.
But as Chris Rock says, “When you meet somebody for the first time, you’re not meeting them. You’re meeting their representative!”
So when from that radio came Rush bashing women, of course, my first thought was—this man just listens to that station for news and weather.
One of my favorite tales in the world is the Bluebeard myth, where the handsome prince comes to court the youngest daughter (in myth-speak, the most naïve one), who keeps saying, “Why, his beard is not so blue . . .”
Of course she marries him despite her sisters’ warnings, and is given the keys to the entire castle and all of its rooms except one—into which she’s forbidden to go. And of course, that’s the one room she wants most to see, and finally gains entrance.
Where she finds all the skeletons of all his former wives . . .
So when this man gets back into the truck, I mention something quite innocuous about Limbaugh, to somehow absolve him of being a rule out.
Boy, did I ever get an earful!
For the next 40 minutes, on the meandering way to the restaurant, I was regaled with all the liberal horrors of the world, how “they” (I’m never really sure who “they” are) are all out to get us, how we’re going to be invaded (literally) and have to muster our guns (which Hillary is trying to take away from us) and be ready to defend ourselves against the invading hoards.
And that was just the opening salvo . . .
The horrors of Hillary and the virtues of Trump and how men would be men continued on until I could get the subject changed over lunch.
There was no reason to engage in this battle. By then, his beard glistened deeply blue . . .
At least at this point in my life’s journey, I’ve gone down similar roads enough to be done before the Zimbabwe flag meandered by!
And I did enjoy my lunch and fine glass of cabernet and we laughed the rest of the time and then I couldn’t get back into my own car fast enough. A clean get-a-way I did make!
I do have friends who believe differently from what I do. We agree to disagree. But I don’t live with them. Nor, are they my one and only friend, as a real boyfriend would be.
I also learned long ago that people are who they are, and spots don’t change. Whew. At least that’s not a road I have to go down to learn from again!
As Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”
That’s a philosophy I long ago took to heart.
So I laugh when I think of this. And it showed me something that surprised me then, and still surprises me today—you never know when someone’s going to come along and turn your head, no matter how long it’s been.
Isn’t life just the most fun journey ever!
What have you learned from romance?
Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, "I Just Came Here to Dance" and "By the Book," as well as four co-authored nonfiction books, including "What’s Wrong with My Family?" and many published short stories. Forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers.