While I lived, love was simple. If Mr. Right wanted to love me, he needed to bring money and lots of it. That worked when drugs didn’t, booze couldn’t and sex was a temporary fix. I believed easy girls opened their legs, smart girls open their minds and foolish girls opened their hearts. I was smart and easy, but never foolish.
Maybe I’ve grown a little since my death, servitude with Lucifer and stint in heaven’s probation, but I see things differently now that observing love has stabbed me in the heart. While I lived, I believed there was a "lie" in believe, "over" in lover, "end" in friend, "if" in life and after Monday and Tuesday, the rest of the week was simply “WTF!” Back then, had I been a bird, I would’ve shit on you just to light the fuse on your tampon. Now I know a man doesn't need to undo your top to see a better view of your heart, and that love is being able to pee in front of him, fart on him, eat whatever and how much you want and constantly win arguments.
I don’t talk about it much, but here’s a scene from my staring role in Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! when I began to get a clue about love. Yes, even I can learn by observing:
Jack returns in three hours. As promised, he has new child car seats, supplies for the children, just in case they are short on things at home, Jackie’s clothes, and a huge surprise. When the children have been fed and are playing in their rooms, he takes Jackie by the hand, pulls a small box from his coat pocket and kneels. “I should have asked you sooner. Will you marry me?”
No pretense. No preparation. No warning. Jackie is stunned. “I…I don’t know. Would you ask if my sister were alive? Is this a sympathy proposal?”
He smiles and shakes his head. “My time with you has been the happiest of my life. I love you, Jackie, with every fiber of my soul, I love you. Your sister’s death might have encouraged me to act sooner, but there’s no question I would have asked at some point. I want to be with you. I want to love you. I want to be part of your life, to raise these children with you. Let’s do it together. They need a family. So do we.”
She sheds more tears, but these are different; these are tears of joy. She kneels in front of him and pulls him close, sobbing deeply. “Then yes. I love you, too, so very much. This will be a our family, and we’ll do it together.”
I can’t stand it. The love between them rips my soul more strongly than Lucifer’s demons ever could. I want to bawl. I need to leave. At no time while I lived did any man love me like that. For that matter, I never loved another with such passion as she loves him. Why, oh why, did I waste my life?
The more I observed, the more I hurt. I tried many times to join with those two during the pleasure of passion, but was immediately reprimanded for attempting to steal pleasure from the living. Sternly warned by my guide that I mustn’t engage in theft while on probation, I gradually learned what many of the living knew all along. Men and women are different, and not just physically—their mind’s process data in vastly different ways. She needs affection, conversation, honesty and openness, financial support and family commitment. He needs sex, recreational companionship, an attractive spouse, domestic support and admiration. To my surprise, the top five needs of each gender don’t overlap at all.
Let’s look at these top five briefly. Men see life as sex you can't have, while women don’t care much about it at all. Women need affection, which is vastly different from sex. Sex isn’t one of her top five, but affection isn’t one of his either. It’s one of God’s little jokes.
Now, before you take issues with me, remember God has given me the ability to understand what people want to hear, and then say what they need to hear. That’s the reason I have an advice column and you don’t. You need to hear this. Judge me all you want, but don't think I'll give a damn. My point in mentioning this is simply to say, ladies, if you deny his need, there will be trouble, and guys, if you deny her need, there will be hell to pay. Want to get along? Give a little romance, guys, to get a little sex. Easy enough. A card, some flowers, a gentle thank you, snuggling just for the heck of it—you get the idea.
So what’s next? Ah, yes. Conversation vs. recreational companionship. He wants someone to play with; she wants to talk. Men view meaningful conversation like medicine. It can cure some things but can be harmful if taken in excess. “Whine, whine, whine. I'm so miserable when you’re gone, it's almost like you're still here.” Listen with your hearts, guys, she needs to talk about how she feels about the events of her day, not about your favorite fishing hole.
Most dates center around showing each other affection and talking. Try treating the woman in your life in that way. And ladies, leave the ugly looks behind. If looks could kill, the male race would have died out eons ago. Be prepared to hike, go boating, ski or some similar activity. For me, rugby is totally out, but I can offer a couple of tips for good conversation: don’t use it to punish each other, don’t use it to force the other to agree to your point of view, and don’t dwell on past mistakes. Enough said.
Honesty and openness vs. an attractive spouse is a personal favorite of mine—need number three for women vs. men. I’ve always told men, if you want a perfect girl, go buy a Barbie, while in response I’ve heard, “Time may be a great healer but its a lousy beautician.” Okay, maybe it sucks on both sides, but let’s look a tad deeper. What a man really wants is the woman he married, and men aren’t completely oblivious either. If he married a natural girl who later turns into Tammy Faye, then he might resent it. With fake tan, fake eyes, fake hair and fake nails, he might respond, “Bitch, were you made in China?”
On the other hand, honesty is a big thing for women—love is not an excuse to put up with shit that you shouldn't. Guys, screw with a woman’s trust, and you will destroy both her sense of security and your relationship. Lying sucks. Cheating sucks. Don’t do it.
Girls, there are limits on this score you should heed. After an evening fight one husband taunted, “Good night mother of three” and his wife replied, “Good night father of none.” That might be taking honesty to the wrong place. Trust also means keeping jealousy in check. Remember, love might be blind but jealousy has 20-20 vision.
Which brings us to financial support vs. domestic support. It’s the hunter-gatherer thing. Women expect men to bring home the mastodon, while men expect women to keep the cave clean and the children in check. It’s a fair balance that needs to be maintained between reasonable people. Happy couples live on what they need, not what they want. They also budget and live by it. But here’s a news flash, guys: in many modern families, both partners work. That means both should share the domestic chores too. Demanding the cave be cleaned while she’s hunting the mastodon will get you tossed out of the cave. Do your share.
Lastly, a tough one, her need for family commitment vs. his for admiration. This is like saying she and her kids are a package. Guys, you need to accept both. Being a good father means taking time with the kids, helping them mature and being part of the solution to their problems while not contributing to them. A basic rule is any dick can make a baby, but it takes a real man to be a father. The corollary is the best husbands are the best fathers.
Now, ladies, about this admiration thing, I understand the difference between men and pigs is that pigs don't turn into men when they drink. That can be a problem. I also understand the way to find a perfect man is to put on nice clothes, do your hair and make-up, cook, and then give up because none of them are perfect. I know, I know, many of you believe your knight in shining armor turned out to be a loser in aluminum foil, but if you knew that going in and the man you wanted when you married him is still in there, then he needs to be admired by you. If you show him genuine admiration, he will bend over backward to try to please you. Men need approval; don’t force them outside your relationship to find it.
Thank you for reading today. If I offended anyone, get over it. I leave you with this toast: here’s to the men who won us, the losers that lost us and the lucky guys yet to meet us,
Note: Miss Havana is the outrageous leading lady in The Substitute, a novel available in PDF from http://www.solsticepublishing.com/ and in Kindle format from Amazon.com (search the Kindle store using the key words James L. Hatch). The Substitute is the first of a paranormal comedy trilogy staring Miss Havana. The second novel, Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! is being edited for publication by Solstice Publishing. The third, The Training Bra, is currently being written.