Since I started this blog I’ve been getting a lot more random attention from men. It’s like the magic that makes you more likely to get a new job when you already have one, or simply, like I said to my friend Sophie,
“Men can just feel it when someone else wants you.”
Her eyes didn’t waver from the ancient episode of Sex and the City we were watching at three in the afternoon on a weekday.
“Yeah, they can smell it,” she said.
So it’s about pheromones and territory marking? They want to piss all over you. Great.
But then, when I think honestly about it, I am 100% guilty of the same thing. I get an disproportionate kick out of knowing I have someone other women, or men, want. Over the years I’ve been variously berated for being looksist, vain, shallow, short-sighted…the list goes on. Once, I invited a boyfriend my family hadn’t yet met to a friend’s wedding. Afterwards, my mum said, “We knew he was yours the second he walked in.” “Yeah,” my brother said, “he was the prettiest. You’re so predictable.” I was a bit pleased until a few hours later when my brother added, “He doesn’t care about you, I can tell by the look on his face.”
Anyway, I digress.
My friend Anthony in London always used to call me out on my attraction to men-in-high-demand. “Antonia,” he would say in a grave tone, “you do this because you are looking for validation due to your massive insecurities.”
“Yes, I know” I would say. But then, I can’t suddenly pretend to be a worthy person and make myself fancy boring, unattractive people out of nowhere, can I?
Apparently not, because here I am on a different continent, some years later, still being dysfunctional and still really enjoying it. I recently introduced my best guy friend (who is gay) to a new paramour of mine. As soon as the latter got up to go the the loo, my friend turned to me smiling and said,
“I just want to smash your face in.”
See? It’s that kind of jealously that makes me squirm with pleasure.
This increased interest from men has definitely been a feature of the past few weeks. From the guy who has suddenly appeared in my life in a fantastically illicit way, to another work friend (married, late 40s) who keeps pestering me to go out. I asked Paula of the latter, “What the hell can he possibly want?”
“Some people are just delusional” she said. I’m hoping she meant him.
But all my needing of an added frisson-factor makes me wonder yet again what happens when you settle with one person? How to maintain that ‘wanted’ air into the future? Will you always need to flirt a little bit with the mail man? Or maybe let that crap guy at the office think he’s in with a chance so your husband sees it at the Christmas party and remembers, “Ah yes, my wife is a hot ticket.”
And what about me? Will I still have the hots for a husband who never gets a second look from anyone else? Is this a normal thing to need? Actually, don’t answer that. I remember realising at school that I did not have normal, healthy expectations as I looked at the other girls who seemed really in love with their boyfriends, while I was dreaming of Indiana Jones crossed with Rob Lowe (it was the late 80s). Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini – by all accounts flighty, superficial, in two minds about everything. And then maybe I really am just shallow.
The thing is, I don’t worry about it anymore. Especially since Sandra Bullock.
Sandra is someone I have always admired. Talented, funny, charming, she has said she never thought she’d get married and most winningly of all, didn’t seem all that bothered. Until one day, aged 40, she walked into Jesse James’ motorcycle shop and bam, that was it. Love and marriage. Ahhhh, women everywhere thought. If it’s meant to be, it will be! But it wasn’t, because he cheated on her.
When Paula told me about Sandra’s misfortune, we were walking with our friend Marisa through a parking lot to a bar.
I stopped suddenly.
“Are you alright?” Marisa asked.
“No” I said. “Sandra was my guiding light!”
So what to do now?
Following much discussion with friends and a little influence from the film, ‘Coco Avant Chanel’ (the very fabulous Audrey Tautou smoking like a train, having affaires and never marrying), it has been decided that taking lovers is the way forward. For me, anyway. No permanence, no everyday, no predictability. A Lover shall be enjoyed as if in a French movie. As I told a recipient of this title recently, “There will be wine and conversation and nudity and that’s about it.”
After all, how can that possibly disappoint?