Root canal day. My first. The unpleasantness of this experience is legendary. It is the cliche comparator for any highly disagreeable experience. I have anxiously watched as days melted into hours, hours into minutes, minutes into seconds and seconds into thin air.
And so my appointment arrived.
The pain I feared did not materialize, but it was arduous. Two hours in the chair and we didn't finish. I was sealed up and invited back. Oh joy!
During the procedure, daytime network programming was playing on a television suspended from the ceiling in a corner of the room. First a soap opera, then talk shows. At one point there was an African-American man taking questions from an audience. A very attractive twenty-something white woman was asking him why men old enough to be her grandfather hit on her all the time and how could she politely discourage them.
Except for the hitting on her part — only in my fantasies — I resembled the men she was talking about so I waited with great interest to hear what the answer would be. The host turned it into a comedic riff on how they were looking for caretakers. No! Thats not it at all! I thought to myself. He got a lot of laughs but never answered the young woman's question in what I thought was a meaningful way.
It surprised and intrigued me that there seemed to be so many men with so little regard for appropriateness or their dignity that they openly and aggressively hit on women young enough to be their granddaughters. I am certainly no stranger to the way the lizard brain does back flips over them, but I have never been willing to risk my marriage or my self respect that way.
Are they ever successful? They must be once in a while, or why would they keep trying? I find myself warmed by the idea that they might be, however rarely. It gives me hope in the form of a fantasy to cling to, knowing that it’s possible, however unlikely, that I could toss my dignity into the air and fecund beauty would catch it and return it to me.
I wonder if any woman understands the importance of sex to the men around her? I wonder if any of them understands how profoundly alive sex can leave a man feeling?
I remember a Reader’s Digest condensed book from a long time ago. It was about a young woman and a young man who fall in love and set out to make a life together. She is the daughter of a coal miner, I don't remember where he came from. At some point in their journey she realizes that their best prospect for a reliable income is to return to the coal mining town she grew up in and for her beloved to descend into the mines. As they approach the town the young woman, knowing her man would need all the courage he could muster to confront the men of the town and face all that was coming, pulls him into the woods and makes love to him. I have always thought that the author had something there.
And does any man understand the importance of feeling safe to the women in his life? That his perceived ability to protect and provide for her and her children has everything to do with her capacity to make him feel alive and mighty.