Something from the Way Back Machine, updated just a skosh.
I remember it was a Sunday afternoon many years ago as I sat on my bed, somewhere between heaven and hell, briefly wondering what belt went well with a single man and khakis.
Really, it wasn’t a difficult choice; it was one I made day in and day out, but today as I looked at myself in the mirror, I was stuck. I was stuck somewhere between the brown and the black, somewhere between the desirable twenties and the stable forties. I could go either with the brown belt, which like Angie, fit one particular situation or I could go with the black belt, which like Elizabeth, went with everything or I could even go with none at all.
I wish I could say that the analogy about women came to me then but I’m not nearly that clever.
At least I wasn’t then.
Later, I thought how easy life would be if all our choices were like that; things that don’t suit us right now, we put back into the closet of our lives and pick them up again later – later when they fit us. I tend to think some of us would have a closet full of gadgets and toys, dozens of clockwork hearts stacked to the ceiling . . .
Some tinkered with.
Some stored away because I didn’t think I needed or wanted them at the time.
Me? I finally decided on the brown belt.
I know I’m not God’s Gift to Women. This I know because everyone knows God’s Gift to Women is chocolate. I’m pretty sure I’m no gift though. I don’t even think I’m a mis-sent parcel. Sometimes, I wonder if anyone would even sign for me if UPS dropped me off at their door. Invariably, I’m the wrong size, the wrong shape or, the gods forbid, the wrong color.
Return to Sender.
I don’t think I’m a bad guy. I’m pretty sure I’m not an asshole. Assholes are the guys who think too little, lie too easily and, in all reality, don’t think enough of themselves. Assholes are always the other guys. Sometimes, I have to remind myself of that.
I like to think I’m not stupid either. Of course, being with a woman makes me do dumb things. Being alone makes me do dumb things.
So when do I know better?
The truth is I don’t know. An even more frightening truth is I’m not sure what I know and what I do know always seems to be wrong.
At least it seems wrong at the time.
I’ve meandered through relationships and certainly wandered through the desert-like time without them. I’m not lost… at least I don’t think so, but then I’m male, dammit, and if I am lost, I won’t admit it and I’m damn sure not asking for directions.
I just know that I’m stuck. I also know that there are dozens or hundreds or thousands or more like me. Standing there in front of their mirrors, holding out choices and wondering which goes best with whom they are — sometimes also wondering who exactly they are.
And that, somewhere there, between the sublime and the ridiculous, between the brown and black and even nothing at all, are guys like me.