Monday, October 1, 2012

That's What Makes You Beautiful

This is an open letter.  It's my confession, and my final stand.  It's a declaration of independence, and an unconditional surrender.  It's my ultimate strength, and my absolutely fatal weakness.  It's the hole in my soul, and my reason to live another day.  It's a warm safe place where as a child I'd hide, and wait for the thunder and the rain to quietly pass me by.

I love women.

This may come as no surprise to some.  But this is not going to be a list of double entendres for your entertainment.  No, that sentence was meant in one way only, and it's three words, and it's a world of trouble, but it's the only way I know how to do things.

Perhaps I'd better start explaining.  Long ago, I had a close friend.  He and I would hang out all the time, and being young enough to question everything, we would spend a lot of time trying to figure out the hows and whys of things.  But he always had one particular viewpoint, he was the type of fella who just could never understand why women had to be so damn different than us about everything.

And me, I could just never understand why he would women to not be different than us.  About everything.  For various reasons, we're not close friends anymore, but that's another story.  Maybe it's because I grew up in a house full of women, and I've never had a particularly functional relationship with my father, but... I've never found women to bug me.

What's the most common complaint men make about women?  Probably something like "they're unpredictable."  So it's true.  And it's true that men are, for the most part, predictable.  (No one wants to be around a man who's unpredictable.  That's called "prison.")  Now, I have eventually come to understand that I'm a writer.  That means I need stuff to write about.  That means I have to ask questions.  That means I have to learn things.

And I don't learn from men.

My favourite schoolteachers were all women.  My mentors, in business, in life, have all been women.  The four smartest people I've ever known are my mother, my sister, my best friend's wife, and the woman who hired me out of college and made me a professional writer.  Men are predictable.  The only things I've learned from men are about sports, cars, and computers.

When Carole died my immediate loss and regret was that I would no longer have her daily presence in my life.  Yes, she drove me nuts at times.  I needed it.  A woman's presence is an eternal counterbalance, an unanswerable question that gives you something you don't have because it is something that you're not.  I regret that I cannot properly source the following:  upon the launch of a tasteful but graphic exhibition on the nature of sex at the Canada Science and Technology Museum this year, I read an op-ed piece in the Ottawa Citizen written by a professor in human sexuality at Carleton University.  The professor opined that, while the exhibit was well-done and factual, it sorely lacked any explanation of the spiritual need for sexuality... that the true gift of sexuality is in the joining of two so that they may experience and take the qualities of each into themselves.  I'm paraphrasing, for my own purposes.

It's what I consider to be true.

But - and I mean this wholeheartedly - my addiction and obsession is not about physical sexuality.  I don't have to be attracted to a woman at all to reap the value of her simply being a woman.  Once again, it's something I'm not, so it's endlessly interesting to me.  Over time, I've realized that I've never been happier than in the presence of a woman... friend, lover, colleague... and learning something I didn't know.

As I said, a fatal weakness.  I hear you saying it'll be the death of me, except you're too late - it has been already.  But no one ever told me I'd come back.  Can it kill me twice?

I have no doubt that I'll find out.

I'm done now.