“Man, those days are long gone for me.”
So said a friend as I finished telling her of a recent date. As she said it, her mouth tightened and she let out a sigh. “Sad, isn’t it?”
Yes, honey. It is.
Why is it that women give up the notion of romance at a certain age? Or maybe it’s just a certain number of years into a relationship.
I remember a first kiss on a Chicago rooftop, as the inaugural snow of the season fell around us in large white, fluffy flakes. And I remember thinking, “I will remember this moment decades from now because it is perfect in a way so few moments are.”
I remember champagne, sitting on the back of a convertible, watching the sun rise over the beach on a summer morning. I remember sitting on the sand a few miles north of that same spot, a fellow adventurer’s head in my lap after a long day of fun, watching the sun set and proclaiming our complete infatuation with each other. I felt drunk with happiness.
I remember 48 roses on my 48th birthday, with a card for each day of my birthday week. I remember thinking that even after a tough divorce and many lonely moons, I felt like I was 16 again. It was sweet relief after a long drought.
I remember dancing in the arms of a strong but gentle man in my kitchen, Etta James crooning, as the candle wax dripped gently onto my island and I could have cared less. I remember cooking in that same kitchen and feeling that same man’s lips on the sweet spot between my neck and my shoulder. Neither of us cared that the dish burned.
I remember a picnic on a farm, with bubbly and shared plates, in which a sweet man moved the picnic blanket—with nary a complaint–more than once for me because we had to find just the “right” spot. And told me he’d move it a million more times, if I asked.
If you saw me walking the dog, ferrying my kids to and from school, grocery shopping—none of these experiences would jump out at you. I bet you would not guess they occurred. It is the same for most of us.
But women, especially, as we age and take on more responsibility—as we deal with taxes, grocery lists, lost lacrosse shoes, homework battles, shaving, waxing, cooking, cleaning, promotions, stretch projects, yoga, shaving, waxing, aerobics, broken closet shelves, car maintenance—did I mention shaving and waxing? Women tend to focus on what is in front of them. Perhaps our aspirational side takes a break.
Perhaps it’s hard to feel feminine, footloose, worthy of wooing, when we’re bogged down by Responsibility and The Gravitas of Being An Adult.
But it should not take a divorce and the advent of dating all over again to bring us romance. The men in our lives should be wise enough to see a little romance goes a long way.
That light in our eyes? The spring in our step? It’s there, just waiting to be kindled.
So, to my sweet sighing friend: I wish you a snowfall on a rooftop, sunrise and sunset as the waves lap to and fro, and candle wax on your kitchen island.
All very necessary parts of a full life, in my mind. No matter your age.