Women sometimes accuse men of being interested in only one thing. And it's not Scrabble. OK, maybe for one man in Montana it is Scrabble, but Dwight's been married for 46 years and, frankly, at this stage of his life, scoring a 27-point word gives him a lot more pleasure than spending nights with his wife, Shirley.
For the rest of us guys, though, I'll admit that occasionally we are only interested in one thing, and the one thing is sex. I'm sorry, but that's how we were constructed. Take it up with the manufacturer, though I'm not sure we're still under warranty.
Recently, however, I encountered a live illustration of the flip side to this theory -- a turnabout situation, if you will. I had a date with Laura, who made it clear from the start that, as with many guys, the word "commitment" was clearly not a part of her dating vocabulary. She merely wanted to, as that great philosopher Olivia Newton-John once put it, "get physical."
Now, most guys would describe this situation as, for want of a better word, heaven. And at first it was, well, kind of exciting. At first.
Right from our first meeting, Laura made it clear that she liked me. Lots of touching, a hug, an invitation to her house for the second date. From there, she drove us to one of her favorite restaurants, chose the table close to the band, suggested sharing a bottle of wine and shared her food. I was starting to feel like the woman in the relationship. And, frankly, it wasn't entirely unpleasant.
On the way back to her place, I thought to myself, "Rather than rush into anything, I'll act like a gentleman, thank her for a wonderful evening and drive home." Laura had something else in mind. She invited me in and asked me to light some candles while she went to the bathroom. She came out, joined me on the couch and, without saying a word, proceeded to have her way with me. OK, yes, I was a full and willing participant. And we did practice safe sex.
I'm wondering what cool planet was this where there was no need to discuss when we should have sex, why we should have sex, what sex means to us, what we mean to each other, and on and on and on. It was just raw animal passion.
But there was a feeling of emptiness in the aftermath: Laura did not invite me to stay overnight. When I called her the next morning to thank her for what seemed to me to be a pretty exciting evening for both of us, Laura's exact response, and I quote, was, "Yeah, dinner was nice."
And I thought to myself, "Dinner was nice?" What is this, emotional payback for all the thousands of years men have been doing this sort of thing to women?
Two days later, Laura called and suggested getting together again. A more evolved man would have said, "No thanks. I'm looking for someone serious about a long-term relationship." But this is me we're talking about. We ended up going for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and making out in the back seat of my car.
There was no talk of a future date. I sent her an e-mail the next day. She never responded. And I still have not heard from her. But I thank her for teaching me something.
I learned about the feeling of hollowness and emotional whiplash one experiences going from full-contact lovemaking to no contact whatsoever. Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying I'd act differently if another Laura came along. But, truthfully, another Laura would not be my first choice.
I like all that other "stuff" of a committed relationship. And I want it. Because as thrilling and comforting as sex can be, it is true what they say about having it with your special person -- that is what your heart really needs. And I hope to God I experience it before I start getting really attached to my Scrabble board.
Mark Miller can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.