Boys, boys, boys. Men and gentlemen. Players. Soldiers. There are so many of you in the world — and thank goodness for that!
You beautiful creatures that are born as our sons, then grow into our men; but then again, despite of our occasional complaints, so many of you remain our children — even as our husbands and lovers — and so many of us would NOT have it any other way! Because when you stumble out of our beds early in the morning, scratching your bodies — youthfully supple or gracefully aging — when you clumsily rummage through our cupboards, then reach for your favorite cereal (which we’ve memorized long before learning your Social Security Number, or your mother’s birthday); when you pout, whist still barely awake and unaware of your age — you make us, women, wonder about the little boys you used to be; and in that moment, you are indeed — our sons.
And there is no higher praise to your manhood — and all the abilities, endowments, talents and skills that come with it — than when a woman chooses you to father her own child. Because somewhere along loving you, we begin to daydream about watching that same sleepy face reappear in the cribs of our firstborns (and that pout! oh, that pout!). And when it is time for our children to start stumbling out of their beds, we will weep at their resemblance — to you. It’s ALL dedicated to you!
Because we too wonder about your teaching our sons how to throw a ball or a punch; how to shave (or whatever else you, boys, do behind those closed bathroom doors: we love you, but we don’t really want to know); and how to choose the right socks or the right girl. And we too desire for our daughters to worship you more than they seemingly do us; to adore you enough to look for you in their choices of men who, of course, will never be up to your standards. (Because it’s always different with daughters: They turn our men into pussycats.)
You stubbly creatures of the opposite sex: How you can break a woman’s heart with a mere aloofness or a deficit of attention; but then to build her back up with a single curious gaze that so many of you still don’t know how to execute without being unnoticed. Please don’t ever stop giving us compliments, even if — and especially if — they won’t get you anywhere! Don’t censor your praise of our hair, or eyes, or earrings — compliments that make you sound like an admirer of beauty, even if you haven’t figured out its source. You often have no idea why a certain woman makes you turn your head (while hundreds of others can pass you by unnoticed). And even if your compliment doesn’t earn you our time or phone number, please know: It is never taken for granted.
The rougher men who have suffered through difficult lives and mean jobs: You still have the ability to inspire a woman’s fantasy about being lifted with those capable arms of yours. Some of us fall in love with women: their grace and softness, and the way they manage to always smell so sweetly. But for those of us who still adore the other gender: It’s your physical ability — your capability to always be stronger than us, to stand taller, to be more ready — that makes us worship you until heartbreaks. And when you do those things we needn’t know how to do (change a tire, fix a sink; negotiate with a mechanic or a cabbie; catch a fish or play the stock market), you make us feel safer. And for that rare, fleeting sensation in life — we are forever grateful. (A little secret though, boys: Some of us have learned how to do those things, but we’d rather watch you take over. Thanks.)
Those smooth players who choose to move through their lives as gentlemen: How ever do you know where to buy a suit and when to tailor a jacket? Who’s taught you how to be decisive about our first date’s destination and time; and how to settle the tab without making a fuss? When do you make up your mind on whether or not you will ever wear cologne or the style of your underwear?
Your stubborn choice of your own higher standards — your substance — will continue to turn us on until the end of civilization. Don’t ever stop getting our doors and chairs; lifting us over puddles or carrying us out of fires. Continue to show up on time, to come through with your word (a man’s word!); to tolerate our emotions and to guard your own. Insist on asking for our opinion on those pastel-colored Banana Republic shirts, but remain authentic to your taste (and always devoted to your collar stays!). Know the best dry cleaners in town but don’t mind us if your dress shirt — is the only thing we want to wear while fixing you a sandwich. Do send us flowers and hand-written notes. Do make the first call, but allow us to keep the illusion that we — have the last word. And the sooner you let us have the remote control, the sooner you can take us to bed. (But you may also proceed on the couch. Or the floor.)
And when you do undress us, fumbling with our buttons, or bra hooks, or garter belts — all too dainty for your rough, manly hands — continue to study us as if we were a work of art (perhaps, while unawarely pouting). Or your dream car. Or your dream girl.
Oh, to the modest smile of Paul Newman and the intelligent squint of Robert Redford; to the swagger of George Clooney and the slight indifference of Clark Gable; to the promising ability of Steve McQueen and the effortless power of Bill Clinton; to the mastery of Obama’s self-deprecation and the reserved grace of Eastwood; to Denzel’s esteem and Jay-Z’s universal rule: To you — we sing our odes and griefs! To you — we give our youth and dedicate our sex. Because no matter how many times you break our hearts, it is YOUR love that we continue to seek; and it is ONLY that love — that makes us better women. And thank goodness for that!
(But don’t you worry: We will always return that last favor, no matter how late in life:)