I remember the exact moment I asked God for a hero. It was 1998 and I was lying in bed watching a handsome, charming and extremely well-endowed marine put his pants on. Itâ€™s not that he wasnâ€™t fun- he was. He was a great guy, and I loved him in a way, but it wasnâ€™t THE way. I knew it wasnâ€™t THE way, because I had him believing I loved hockey, g-strings and sex in hallways. He thought I slept in full makeup, and needed only three hours of sleep a night. This was not the stuff of deep, romantic connection.
I didnâ€™t trust him with my true self: the girl who prefers books to hockey, sex in beds and grannie underpants that donâ€™t ride up. The girl with blackheads and flat hair. Both girls kissed the marine goodbye and stared at the ceiling.
â€œGod, I need a hero. Someone who gets me. Someone who not only gets me, but loves the real me, dark roots and all.â€ I finished with a promise: â€œI swear, no more men until he shows up.â€ With that heavy pronouncement, I got up out of bed and put my clothes on. It was two oâ€™clock on a Thursday, after all.
Fortunately God knows me well, and didnâ€™t test my resolve by making me wait too long. Two weeks later, after an awful day at work, I forced myself to attend a happy hour event sponsored by my alma mater. The bar was in the back of a Mexican restaurant, and my classmates were mingling at a bunch of tables crowded beneath a gaudy yellow chandelier.
The president of the local alumni chapter stood up to welcome me. Out of habit, I checked him out: younger than me, dark hair, well-dressed. I said something witty and charmingâ€¦
Of course I didnâ€™t. In a world-weary voice I said, â€œI need a drink.â€ Good host that he was, he smiled, and got me a drink. He had long fingers, like a musician. Dark hair, dark eyes, and the worldâ€™s longest eyelashes. Rolled-up sleeves bared strong forearms dusted with straight black hair. I remember wondering if he had it all over, or just on his forearms. But I tried not to pay too much attention because Iâ€™d sworn off men, remember?
So I had another margarita- on the rocks with salt, lots of salt, thank you very much- and left an hour later like a good girl. As I was leaving, Mr. President promised to call me early the following week to play volleyball, a mutual interest. I couldnâ€™t make it, and we settled on my joining him at his next wine club event. â€œGuy friend,â€ I told myself. I couldnâ€™t bear to hope that he could be special. If he didnâ€™t pull down his pants in my living room or try to perform mouth to mouth in the first fifteen minutes of our date, he would be cautiously promoted to guy friend.
Well, he didnâ€™t commit either faux pas, but he did pull out a secret weapon at the end of our date. Poleaxed, flummoxed, a bowlful of jelly, that was me. He sideswiped me with something I was absolutely, positively, powerless to resist. I was Wonder Woman and he had myâ€¦ No, wait. Wonder Woman had no weaknesses.
I was Superman and he had my kryptonite. Actually, I was Tense Career Woman, and he had magic hands. Just before he walked out my door after our date, he moved in close behind me, put his hands on my shoulders and started to rub. And rub, and ease, and persuade every inch of tension to leave my body.
I swayed dangerously on my feet, and he caught me. He could have done just about anything at that moment and been forgiven for the gift of relaxation I didnâ€™t even know I needed. But do you know what he did? He left. I was draped in my doorway, nerve endings a-tingling, and vulnerable to seduction. But he left, and I was intrigued. And you know what?
Six years and two beautiful sons later, he still soothes me. Iâ€™m no longer Tense Career Woman, but sleep-deprived mommy of two, and the man still has the magic that keeps me his happy slave. His presence calms me, the scent of his skin clears my mind and his body is sanctuary from the rest of lifeâ€™s busy pace.
I know its love, the real thing, because I can trust him to accept me in all of my various forms. The two hundred pound pregnant woman didnâ€™t faze him. He has dodged â€˜Banshee-Meâ€™ in the throes of PMS; he listens patiently when I tell him how I reamed a sales clerk at the store when Iâ€™m sure heâ€™d rather be watching ice hockey on television. Iâ€™m not a bad wife, either. Heck, I offer sexual favors for household chores completed. I do my part.
Mr. President is now Mr. Husband, and he doesnâ€™t mind the granny underwear, as long as I pull out the good stuff on occasion too. He sees ME, the real me: the good, the bad, and the oh-so-ugly. And sometimes I donâ€™t believe him, but he says he loves all of those girls. What a miracle.