I realized after posting this I violated the cardinal rule of good writing…let a piece sit for a least a few minutes before setting it free. A few clarifications were called for. My apologies!
Not all who wander are lost
Tracy Clark-Flory’s April 11th piece on Salon.com, “In Defense of Wandering Eyes,” has garnered a bit of attention in the blogosphere. I ignored the headline for a day or two before giving in and reading the original post and the author’s follow-up. It resonated in particular because of an occurrence last Saturday. While I was out of town for a day-long writers conference (kudos to Mad Anthony!), my husband had coffee with a strange woman.
Strange to me, that is. The friend of a mutual friend who subsequently friended my hubby on Facebook – not sure how or why, and the whole ‘friend’ as a verb still bothers me – she hasn’t extended the same invitation to me. I was taken aback, but only for a moment, when his text informed me of the impending meeting (no, I won’t call it a ‘date’). It was more at her temerity in extending the invitation than in that he accepted. On the other hand, our mutual friend was floored. I could see the wheels turning. What have I done? She hasn’t known us long enough to fully grasp hubby’s personality.
He’s what is generally referred to as a flirt. I prefer to think of it as friendly; ‘flirt’ carries the vague expectation of romantic involvement, and that’s not what he’s after. Hubby is simply the consummate people-person. He’s open, and attentive, and always willing to listen. Those commodities, no strings attached and accompanied by a ready smile, are all too rare these days. It makes him very popular, especially with the ladies. I tease him regularly about his ‘harem’ of admirers. Listen up, men!
In the interest of full disclosure, his openness is what brought us together in what I readily label a full-court flirt from our high school days. If he hadn’t winked at me on the bus one morning, started a conversation, saved me a seat when he boarded before I did, my life would have been very different. I relive those days in more detail in an essay included in the next Reflections from Women collection due out next month.
That was thirty-seven years ago, and while I admit I haven’t always been as secure in our relationship as I am now, I’m one of those women Clark-Flory refers to who point out interesting sights to him when we’re out together, whether it be an overly plunging neckline or delicately patterned hose on a finely-turned leg. His glances are appreciative, not lecherous ogling, and he’s considerate enough not to do a full head swivel when I’m with him. But I can tell. It’s like any other art, be it painting, movies, or a good book. I know what he likes; why not allow him to enjoy it? He’s married, not dead.
And I know where he sleeps at night.