– “Sonnet 30,” Edmund Spenser
I’m Probably Not the Marrying Kind
do you even know where you’re going?
the voice of your fears
begs the question: are you ready, and do you know who you are?
to hands more kind and cunning, and infinitely more skilled….
the generous heart of this brave woman you’ve taken for a fool
worth more than should be granted to such an empty jar of clay
let love brush up against you with its subtle magic touch
For such a man, I’m sure there’s some reward
At least…I think
I have never been clear about what I want in a man. You know how girls have that conversation (guys, too): “he’s not my type, or ” “She’s not for you.” Some people are so advanced they have full lists of desired traits. The really smart people stay open-minded but know what their deal-breakers are, the real red flags (because – come on, you can’t treat people like that – not really seeing them, but evaluating if they check off the correct number of boxes). But not me. I could never be a part of that conversation. I don’t have a preference for height or looks or strength or size or occupation or even race. It took me a while to figure out that this meant I don’t really want a man, so I have never bothered to consider what I want in one. I don’t have a man-shaped hole in my heart….and that’s strange because I was married once (strange? sad? let’s not quibble about the appropriate adjectives). But I had worked out this much: I knew how much I would want to matter. I would want a man to play a song for me when I left (notice that I’m assuming the relationship ends at some point). Not a long song, or a particular song or even a song on repeat. But a perfect song. The notes would start when I walk away, they would linger in the doorway with me, and they would echo down the walk, the long walk to my car, while I take with me all the things that are mine, only mine, and could never be shared or belong to anyone else. I know that that’s silly. I know it can’t happen: real life has no soundtracks. But that’s what I would want: to be remembered for only those 3 minutes in only that one song. Then he could forget me, as a movie is forgotten even as the end credits play after the closing scene. Which is actually more a statement of his attention span, not my inherent worth.
Also, I don’t seem to have a very high opinion of men in general (just in general. If we get to specifics, I know some quality cats). But really: yikes.
Note: This is actually an older piece. I updated it because it read a lot like lazy poetry in the first draft…from like 5 years ago.