I admire men who treat their women well. Every day of their lives together, my father made my mother a glass of tea in the morning before he left for work. He often worked much earlier than her, but she would awake to find her tea, ice gone melty, beside her bed waiting for her. This, more than a rose or a love note, was true love. This was romance. At work, I often overhear conversations between my coworkers and their friends, family or who knows who? Usually, because we’re in a room full of people, I get no clues about who my coworker is speaking with – there is no change in tone, very few words whispered hurriedly and no terms of endearment. One exception stands out: a rough hewn gentleman who’s voice goes soft as he tenderly talks to his ‘baby’ about dinner tonight or how she feeling. It’s very sweet and endears him to me.
I would like to say that I admire women who treat their men well, but I don’t think that way. Perhaps because, as was my first instinct on pondering that, most women (that I know) treat their men well, so it’s no exception. This suggests that the men I’ve used as examples are…well, exemplary…and I think they are, but I could fill a book with the sweetnesses of men. My own dating history is filled with such wonderful treatment that my friends in college asked what I was doing to get such treats and treatment from my boyfriends. That might be it or it might be that I appreciate on behalf of my sex the kindness of men towards women. It’s certainly true that I also appreciate women who are more friendly towards other women and less catty. Maybe it’s also that I like to treat my men well with the gifts I have to give: warm regard, fun, acceptance, laughter, delicious food and affection, so other woman providing similar seems unremarkable.
I remember one boyfriend in college that I met too soon. He was conservative in a way that has nothing to do with politics. Weeks of dating and we never even kissed – instead we talked about religion and politics – passionately, but never confrontationally. We held hands and walked in the park, we went out to dinner, we danced, we laughed. I was just crazy about him, but eventually ended the relationship because I couldn’t handle the differences in our dating cultures at that time. In later conversations, we both acknowledged that he had treated me like a queen. He complained that I hadn’t treated him as a king. At the time, I had no idea that he was unhappy with my treatment of him – maybe he really was, maybe it’s only in retrospect or maybe it was because I rebuffed his advances when we met up years later. In any case, I remember those words only too well too, and try to do better.