THE WAYS THINGS ARE
By Colette Ni Reamonn Ioannidou
People have asked me why I never remarried as I was widowed young. The answer is simple: it’s hard to find the right man second time around. Looks don’t really matter, nor does money… although I’d be lying through the few teeth I have left if I said I didn’t care about money. What does matter is intelligence, respect, humour, love of music, books, Art, shared interests and, being introduced to his interests, which open new horizons. Most importantly, a man who can make me feel his world would be void and empty if I wasn’t in it. A rare species!
Nature engineered tempestuous volcanic sexual urges into us, initially to go forth and multiply when young, which the human species has done very successfully. It would be nice to think that when the temperature has cooled and we no longer need to procreate that nature has allowed us the reward in later years of a sex life that is freer, gentler, age and ailment accommodating, hopefully with the right partner. Men in need of ‘action’ are not hard to find. Even this battered old relic has her… I hesitate to say admirers; rather men who give off signals that they are available should the person they assume is in need require their services.
Hero number one tried the ‘Nice dog,’ opener. I said thanks and hurried on. His dog is tiny and mine is plump, so the trot-area for our canines is limited therefore, we were bound to run into each other from time to time. It occurred to me he was always ‘there’, popping out like a jack in the box at various corners attempting to open a conversation that lasted longer than ‘Hi.’ And then –
‘I live near here, would you like to come to my house for a coffee?’
Cheapskate! If a man wants to invite me for a coffee, there are plenty of cafes up and down the main avenue. Meantime, his Chihuahua is mincing on his chopstick legs barking aggressively at my bemused fatso. I’ve seen this wee thing whose brain is probably the size of a walnut go for a huge Rottweiler with the same invitation. When his master tried to foist his phone number on me I said two words: ‘harassment’ and ‘police’. Bye, bye No.1.
When Number Two sees me coming he adopts a pose, one hand up on the trunk of a tree, the other cradling a cigarette. Subtitle: ‘I’m so cool I could chill a Polar bear’s bum!’ His faded bathrobe looks like it might have come from the costume department of a long gone production of Joseph’s Technicolor Raincoat. This is tethered tenuously with a thin cord below a bulbous belly, wide open from navel to chin displaying his grey pelt of a chest. I hope he has his Mike Tyson’s on. Still, I keep my eyes on the tree top just in case. He grins coyly,‘Hi Doll.’ (!) And wriggles his hips, (Elvis is back in town!) a move I sincerely hope is not intended to air his nether regions as a bargaining ploy to entice the old girl with his er, charms. Some hope! He can take root alongside the tree before that happens.
Last but not least, there’s Clint, an Eastwood type, slim and rangy with a handsome, weather beaten face. He has his own small construction business and does jobs in the area. I also run into him at the kiosk and in the supermarket. We smile, his glance lingers and we go our ways.
One day while reconstructing a neighbour’s kitchen, he crossed the road to hand me his business card – in case I knew anybody who needed his services. Slow smile, lingering glance. I tucked the card away in my card holder and that was that. The next time I saw him I had the impression he was miffed because I hadn’t called him. His smile was gone and the glance was cool. Fine. If he’s waiting for me to call him he can take root beside Elvis.
‘Perhaps,’ Stavroulla said, ‘he’s been hurt and afraid to ask you directly.’
‘Maybe,’ Susie added, ‘he’s got low self esteem, scared of rejection.’
‘Could be he’s lonely and shy,’ Cassandra nodded.
‘All the maybes in the world make no difference,’ I said. ‘The last thing I need right now is a complex or damaged man. I’m in need of some fun, some good conversation over a nice meal out with a guy who has a life. Not someone who hopes I’m going to be a shoulder to cry on or whatever in exchange for a homemade coffee, or the glimpse of a hairy belly.’
The thing about being alone is to face the loneliness but never allow it to become desperation. Heroes don’t come easy so they are worth waiting for.