It’s universal. Tonight I went to soak my tired body and brain in the jacuzzi and sitting on the side of the pool was a couple speaking Farsi…not a word of English, but it didn’t matter. I recognized a lovers’ quarrel. It was more than the tone of voice. I could see it in their eyes. Hers, pleading and irritated, his, utterly confused. I could see him harden as she got more animated. I am sure that, like myself in days gone by, she thought if she just spoke louder he would get it. What she couldn’t understand was his retreat. She would say “he doesn’t understand.”
There is so much that we don’t know about each other as men and women trying to live and love together. If only we could come to know what is and isn’t possible and understand why, we might have a fighting chance of lasting more than 50% of the time. The dating sites would suffer, but the truth is that we are really not the object of their affection anyway. They need us and our desperation to draw advertisers and resell the data we so willingly give them. When I heard Sam Yeager, the creator of the “Love Algorithm” speak this past year, he admitted that his site, OKCupid was free for a reason…data, not dating. This is not to say, however, that online dating is a bad idea. More on that later.
I watched tonight as they argued and I so felt for them. Most of my life was spent in relationships with men who were not good choices for me. What did I know about love? An alcoholic family doesn’t teach us much about healthy relationships, so I got my clues from the next best thing…Saturday matinees featuring Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn and those dashing, charming men who could talk their way into any woman’s life. It was like watching a sequel to my own life, but without the Hollywood ending.
I could remember how many times I pleaded for what I thought I needed and deserved in order to be happy. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was responsible for my own happiness and that a relationship was the cream on top. I also had no idea about men and how they thought, what they felt or how differently they show us that they love us. I only remembered the movies… those rooms filled with roses, so many there was no room to walk. What woman could ever forget how long Cary Grant waited atop the Empire State Building, keeping his promise to be there for her?
And now I see it. When I witness others who may not know what they need in order to find a lasting partnership, I want to break in, tell them what I know and learned from many years of not getting it right. And now, I have a chance to do that. But tonight, not speaking Farsi, I have to believe that this young couple will figure it out.