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SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – All my adult life I dreamed of finding a man who would share my interests; someone who didn’t mind grocery shopping, or perusing malls, and liked to cook. I wanted a man who, when the laundry basket started overflowing, understood that meant it was time to throw a load into the washing machine, and then did it; a man who, when he noticed that the toilet paper spindle was empty, didn’t cock his head quizzically and wait for it to magically reload, but replaced the roll himself.
I yearned for a man with opinions about what china pattern he liked, what color to paint the walls and what style to decorate the house. I have never understood how a man can eat meals from dishes that aren’t his pattern preference, comfortably settle into a chair he had no decision in selecting, in a house that’s been decorated to someone else’s taste.
As the years passed I became convinced that no such man existed. But, to my amazement, in the seventh decade of my life, I found such a man. He loves to cook and is better at it than I am. He accompanies me to malls, while holding my hand and pointing out clothing styles and colors he believes best suit me, and never objects to waiting while I ponder over my selections. He does laundry, vacuums, and is a sensational seamstress. He even designed and sewed maternity dresses and gowns for his former wife during their 47 year marriage.
He suggests color schemes, furniture styles and decorating ideas for the house. We shop for silverware, linens and groceries and he has thoughts and ideas about all aspects of our lives together. He’s everything I ever dreamed of and now I ask, What was I thinking?
I can’t believe I didn’t appreciate how liberating it was to buy whatever I wanted, and never have anyone offer suggestions or second guess me. If I chose to live with chartreuse walls and orange carpeting, no one cared. If I tossed all of my dishes into the trash compactor and devoted my life to paper plates, no one objected.
I knew he was different from our first communication on an online dating site. When he admitted that he was looking for a wife I said, “Sure you are; I’d like one too – or a reasonable facsimile – to wash my clothes, prepare my meals, and clean my house.” He refuted my assumptions saying he was accustomed to doing those things himself.
My heart had stirred ever so slightly.
He then said that since his wife’s passing he’d only dated young women with tight derrieres, firm boobs and airbrushed skin. It was then I assured him that we would never meet.
But, he wore me down, and we did meet, and despite my puckered skin, timeworn boobs and great-for-child-bearing hips, he wanted me because he liked my mind.
What he said was, “I could have had a number of young, firm, beautiful woman, but I chose you.”
And he thought those words would make me swoon?
So, after 23 years of marriage, and an equal number of gleefully happy divorced years, I not only agreed to get married again, something I swore I would never do, but I’m liking the idea.
Years ago I gathered all my friends together and told them that if I ever so much as eluded to words like Commitment, Marriage, or Happily Ever After, they had my permission to line up and, one by one, smack me silly.
It’s been three days since the Clobbering Ceremony and my face still stings.
Laverne Bardy is a syndicated columnist for the Shrewsbury Lantern