The other day my wife took her Honda in for maintenance. I met her at the shop and picked her up and we went out for a little shopping and a quick lunch. As I drove into the dealership my wife was waiting for me. As she walked toward me my heart skipped a beat, just as it has done for more than four decades. She climbed into the car and buckled her seat belt and we were off. As I navigated the city streets I again looked over to my wife. She was looking out the window and didn't see me staring at her. She was wearing an ancient pair of gray woolen pants and a pink sweatshirt. Her unkempt hair fell softly to her shoulders and she wore a mother of pearl barrette to tame her bangs....her dress today casual and appropriate for a trip to the car dealership and a fast food lunch somewhere. If I had dared compliment her on her looks this morning she would have given me a Mona Lisa smile and offered a "this old thing?" sigh. I remained mum, though I have often thought that my wife is most lovely when she's not trying to.
I have never been enamored of my woman, or most any woman, when they are all "fru-fru", dressed to the nines...their hair stiffly coiffed, braids of hair snaking up and around their heads, tendrils of hair strategically falling on each side of the forehead. To complete the formal look they wear stiff bodiced gowns that fall to their feet, the soft round of breast lost in half a yard of satin finery, their lovely legs hidden from my lustful view.
No matter, I've become convinced over the decades of watching my lady dress, that women are not dressing for us....they are dressing for their ten year old selves as they stood in front of a mirror and dreamed of white knights and fast horses and castles high in the sky. They're dreaming of ballrooms and glass slippers and handsome princes....we, their men, are simply courtiers of the palace, and when kind, our ladies deem us deserving of offering an opinion on their hair and dress and shoes, before they go out to make the grand entrance in "their public."
I've learned to live with the lady...and the little girl inside her. And I can never tell her that her time before the mirror is wasted on me...I let her have her fantasies. But there have been a thousand times when I have looked over at my wife, adorned in pajamas and wooly red socks and found her ravishing. As many times as that I have laid on one propped elbow in bed and watched her sleep and the loveliness of her innocent vulnerability as she's lost in slumber has melted my heart far more than once.
I have watched her walk away from me a thousand times and admired the graceful swing of hips, the head held high...and felt "love-lust" just watching her walk to the mail box.
But, I love my lady...and part of my lady is still a ten year old girl gazing in the mirror and longing for ball gowns and glass slippers, so I accept her on her terms. But if she only really knew how my heart turns over when her face is free of makeup and she is swaddled in soft gray pants and pink sweatshirts....if she only knew.