Having dipped into only my mother’s side of the gene pool—save for the traits I have outlined above—I have long been aware that people in my family do not live very long. Those who haven’t died in car accidents, or been hit by trains or shot in the back by cowardly, jealous husbands, have had the bad fortune for the most part, to fall over at a relatively young age with deadly, fatal heart failure.
This aside, I have never been short of candidates, all things considered. I do, however, question the accuracy of my antennae de amore. I am attracted to dark-haired, olive-skinned beauties with brown eyes and fiery tempers. I have always been attracted to these women, have walked into telephone poles ogling these women and have always been thankful to have had the opportunity to date a colorful variety of these women. All obvious variables that would seem to add up to a trip to South American, Italy, or Thailand, a quick perusal and kick of the tires, followed by a safe return home, new bride in tow, capped with a long, tempestuous, yet passionate marriage lasting a lifetime.
Instead of the logical trip to Venezuela or Calcutta to find my life-mate, I married two sturdy blondes. The first was an intellectual woman who was studying for the bar and became a successful attorney shortly after our marriage and, in a lottery-like coincidence, whose father owned a beer distributorship. The problem here was that she was a lawyer, a tiresome, over-achieving type-A personality, who could (and often did) force her tastes and beliefs onto those around her just by the sheer stamina of her personality. It wasn’t that she had a powerful or even charismatic personality—she would simply outlast any in her sights with nothing more than a dogged stubbornness and willingness to wait out the opponent. Regardless of the costs.
Problem A: I am, and always have been, a rather free spirit—some might call it lazy, I would not—who would rather be motivated by muse, or by the sun or the tides, certainly not by being harangued and goaded and browbeaten into submission. As most who have opposed any attorney worth their salt in a court of law can attest, this is the way of the lawyer. Counselor at law is only a title that was made up by a lawyer—attorneys do not counsel, they grab and tear and growl and hang on until their prey has been vanquished and do not quit until there is no sign of life left in the bloodless carcass of their victim. But she had a winning smile and for a brief moment, I thought we might be compatible.
“I hate to hear your car pull into the driveway,” I said, somewhat sheepishly, one afternoon, shortly after hearing her car pull into the driveway.
“What?” She asked, scooping a lap dog into her arms in an uncharacteristic display of anxiety.
“I’m just not happy…” I said.
“Well—I’m happy,” she retorted, shifting into lawyer-mode.
“How can you be happy when I am so unhappy?” Gavel rap. Case closed. Win for the little guy. Fuck you, Perry Mason.
Problem B: She was blonde and fair skinned, her flesh Nordic in color and her mouth surrounded by the thin lips of the Eastern European. Pretty, even desirable by some, but, as previously stated, I prefer my women to be of a darker, sultrier ilk. Give me a peasant woman with sturdy hips and eyes ablaze with passion and keep your educated, tenacious daughters of beer barons. Of course I would miss the free beer, but the marriage was doomed.
Wife #2 was also a sturdy blonde. She was not as intelligent, overbearing or tenacious as Wife #1, but her slow wit and surly disposition made up for it. The fact that she turned out to be a lesbian I only discovered after I left, otherwise, I could use it as an excuse for the end of the marriage as we knew it. A damned fine excuse, too, if you want my opinion. But I had to make a decision before this card was offered in the game, and opted for the following: Reason A: No sense of humor. She was also dour and moody and never cleaned anything. In the old world, she would have been beaten and thrown into the muddy streets by her husband and outcast by the rest of her village. She would have eventually left the village when she tired of living on scraps and died in the forest, victim of her own laziness.
“What do you mean you’re not happy?” She asked, her dim eyes glazing just a bit further.
Picking up a crayon that had nearly caused me to break my ankle the night before, I drew a face on the piece of paper that had also facilitated the nearly ankle-breaking slip. I drew a frown on the face. I showed her the face.
“Really?” she asked. Doomed. I wondered how she would survive, but being the world as it is, I knew I couldn’t allow myself to go down with this particular ship. Survival of the fittest.
Reason B: I do not like blondes. Did I mention that? Though she definitely had some peasant-like qualities that could have easily been mistaken as attractive, she was a poser, too lazy and surly to ever have survived long-term in the true peasant world.
Bottom line: The marriage was doomed and should never have been consummated.
I began to wonder how may times I may have turned my head or walked past a woman who would have been of a perfect compatibility in my pursuits of these who were now no more than a bump in the unpaved, rocky alleyway that charted my love life.