On the morning of my mid century birthday, Al and I had a big discussion over coffee. Instead of a MPS (Margarita Peace Summit) we had a CRC (Coffee Relationship Checkup). For some reason, I was compelled to discuss again where we are going in our relationship and to make sure we both want the same things. He was like,
There was also some of this
and some of this.
Sometimes we have to talk and if it isn’t on the morning of a girl’s 50th birthday, then when should it be? He would prefer never. He thinks that just because he does things like, oh, I don’t know, fly in for 4 days for my birthday, completely pay for a party, and say things when we are lying in bed late at night, like,
“I hate to go to sleep tonight and waste time that I could be looking at you,”
that, I’m like, supposed to know that he is serious about me or something.
For real. I actually felt kind of stupid but tried to play it off.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, I was hammering away asking him questions like if he thought we wanted the same things, how long until we might could live in the same town, did he realize that I am an impatient person with the attention span of a goldfish, did he realize that I was now 50 years old and needed to either pee or get off the pot, just sweet little stuff like that.
Before the bottom of our first cup of coffee, he reassured me one more time that he was serious about me and living in the same town and all. Then he said,
“I don’t worry about the future at all. Why do you worry so much?”
After I uttered those words, I started trying to explain. Well. Because I am a woman. I have to protect myself. I’ve been in a bad relationship that took a whole lot of nerve to get out of and, not to be a broken record, but, I have to protect myself. I don’t want to waste my time and energy or emotion on this if he is always going to live 915 miles away. Not to mention my heart. I’ve cried a lot in the last 5 years. I want a reduction in the number of tears caused by a man from here on out. There are things that will make me cry, sure,
deaths, illnesses, hurt feelings, my kids going off to college…
that stuff can’t be helped. But crying over another man is kind of something I don’t want to do if I can help it.
To reiterate, I don’t want to cry over another man in the foreseeable future.
Because that sucks bad.
Then I started thinking that that as a woman I already feel less open and more protective of myself than Al does as a man. Just think. As a gender, we are inherently more prone to vulnerability.
We are protective of our bodies, for example, we cross our legs to protect our innermost parts.
We cross dark streets to avoid walking into people we see as a threat to our safety.
I think every woman has felt physically unsafe at some point.
Therefore, we have to be protective of ourselves and on our guard.
Al is 6 feet tall with broad shoulders and he is as strong as an ox. He has more earning potential than I do (yet I have more education). If he gets a flat tire he is annoyed, not petrified, like I am. He doesn’t feel the need to cross his legs. He probably never crosses the street to avoid a potential rapist. He certainly doesn’t feel as protective of his body. Exhibit A, within 2 minutes of getting out of bed the first time after we did the deed (after 30 years apart) he dropped trou and walked, no strutted, across the floor toward me. I was even protective of my eyes, kind of.
They aren’t protective of what is between their legs, hell, most of them will show most anybody.
After realizing how much I walk around in protective mode I no longer have to wonder why I can’t sleep at night. I’m bound up as tight as Queen Elizabeth’s head scarf.
I am protective of my body, my children, my heart and my 401K.
Yes, sue me. I am more guarded and protective of my heart than he is.