mardi, décembre 20, 2011

Man-at-war (and the woman who loves him)

Blame it on Mr. Rochester.

Well, a girl's got to have a romantic hero while she's growing up, doesn't she?

It didn't get much better after that.

My romantic hero in my twenties (and probably still, if I'm honest) was a certain noble, Francis Crawford of Lymond.

A Scottish second son, Lymond traveled all over Western Europe and the Arab world (back in the sixteenth century this involved ships, swordplay and harems) wrestling with his past. And oy, did this sexy blonde guy have a past.

It didn't prevent him from seducing, and even fathering a few children with a succession of women (some of whom met unfortunate ends) until, at last, he met up with his true love, who was actually from his past...

But that's a whole other story. In fact, that's five whole other books of roughly 500 pages long. I highly recommend all of them.

Just don't let them influence your idea of the ideal man.

Don't be too hard on me, o.k.?

Some women go for the "bad boys." Others of my sex yearn for guys who can take them to expensive restaurants.

I have a thing for conflicted men.

Probably the quickest way into my heart, if you are a man, is to confess to struggling with some problem. It should be one that's occupying a lot of your time, or wounded you in some way.

It shouldn't be life-threatening.

But it should be just tough enough to give you that slightly careworn, Byronic air that hints of secret sorrows.

You think I'm joking?

Just take a look at my resume.

Now, most of these haven't blossomed into full-scale relationships. And before you draw any conclusions, ofttimes that decision was mine.

In fact, it's highly debatable as to whether many of these guys were really ready to have relationships.

I'll leave that to wiser heads -- many of us keep therapists in business.

All I know is my weakness for the man who, while successful in his career, and stable in the rest of his life, struggles with an unresolved conflict.

One of the wonderful blessings in my life is that a few of these men are friends -- old friends, new friends, somewhere-in-between.

Some of them have resolved the issues they had when we met, and moved on to other issues. Some of them continue to grapple -- because it is part of their personality to wrestle with big questions.

I'm a wrestler myself myself -- so perhaps it's a case of like being drawn to like.

I dunno. All I can say (hey, it's late at night) is that, instead of liking my men a little on the trashy side, I like them a little bruised.

Not enough to be ugly, mind. Just enough to draw my empathy -- and my quixotic, nurturing heart.

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