A couple of years ago, when I could more legitimately claim to be in my 30's, there was this guy. A young guy. In his mid 20's. He was one of Beautiful's friends. He fancied Beautiful. Beautiful liked him and liked being his friend, but she didn't fancy him. He didn't fancy not being fancied. The friendship ended. And that was that.
Except . . .
There was something so compelling about this young guy. For one thing, he was wicked intelligent. Very clever. Deadpan funny. And attractive in an edgy and brooding, yet vulnerable way. What's not to fancy? He and I had always enjoyed each other's company, so we kept in touch. It was all good, just the occasional chat to catch up.
Except . . .
Somewhere along the line, our conversation took just the tiniest, slightest turn in the direction of flirtation. Just the smallest hint . . .
After some time, it had become a little more than just innocuous innuendo. It had turned into something more dangerous. We were sneaking up on dalliance territory. Before outright asking Young Guy if that's what we were really talking about, I decided I had better put some thought into whether that was something I could actually go through with.
I did think about it. For a long time. Ultimately, I decided the stakes were too high. It was just too costly. Oh, I don't mean the moral and ethical costs--which were insurmountable--I mean the literal dollars and cents of the thing.
To start with, before letting another human actually touch my person, there would be the cost of a gym membership. I could stand to lose 10 or 40 pounds. And its not just the weight, but toning up. Strength, flexibility, stamina--all good things to have when venturing into an illicit entanglement with someone in their prime, right? So I figured a diet plan, aerobic work-outs, weight training and yoga classes would do it. That could all be accomplished with one gym membership. And the one-time registration fee. And the protein shakes. And the ingredients for cooking meals that are low carb, high fiber, all natural, unprocessed, nonsweetened . . .
But it wasn't going to be as easy as just a little working out and eating right. I may get the muscles all in good form, but the wrapping that holds this package together is just, well, its tired. And faded. And out of date.
In considering the actual mechanics of allowing another person close, intimate, physcal contact with the package and the wrapping, a few new concerns were raised.
Let's begin with hair removal. I had been meaning to get off the lip waxing merry-go-round for a long time anyway. To just buck up and go the laser removal route. And as long as I'm doing the 'lip', there are a few nasty strays on my chinny chin chin. And on my necky neck neck (ugh! Nobody needs to see that!) And while we're at it, how about that attractive furry trail between belly button and pubes that women earn like a military stripe for brave service to their families while bearing children. Let's get that sucker lasered off too because poor Young Guy, well, poor Young Guy . . .
And as long as we're in the region, I should probably head to the spa for a bikini wax. After all, Young Guy is accustomed to much younger women--younger women whose generation came up believing that the pubic landing strip (or less!) is utterly normal. What would Young Guy do when encountering not just a full bush but a whole freakin' patch of overgrown shrubbery? Yeah. Let's go for the bikini wax. And a leg wax while we're there so I won't have to suffer the embarrassment of him feeling the 5 o'clock shadow on my shaved legs. Leg wax. That's the thing.
After considering all that hair removal--ALL THAT HAIR REMOVAL!--I felt like a regular Yeti.
And then, there're my nails . . . Pedicure and manicure for sure. But it's not just my nails. My hands have taken a beating after all the years of cooking and dishes and diapers and gardening. Paraffin treatment. As for the rest of my skin? There's no faking the glow and suppleness and tone of 20 year old skin. But full body spa therapy couldn't hurt. Massage, hot stones, seaweed, salt, sugar, mud--bring it on.
Might as well go for a makeover as long as I'm spending this kind of dough on the skin (and as long as I'm taking it this far trying to pretend myself 10 years younger.) Perhaps a bit of a fresher look, a little more up-to-date. Add in a fresh hair style and I'm just about ready to go. Except for that other hair issue, now that I think about it. I don't have a lot of gray yet, but the texture of my hair is noticeably different as I get older. Less like a fine silk tassel, more like a haystack.
I'm sure that with the proper amounts of the proper kinds of product, I could achieve glistening, velvety hair for Young Guy to smell and touch and run his fingers through, right? It's all just a matter of forking over the proper amount of money . . .
Yeah--and other things that fade and change as we age? I do have nice teeth, but maybe I should consider a whitening treatment. Ka-ching.
And finally, let us not forget undergarments. Omigosh--do you know what they want for this stuff these days? But it is, after all, a necessary expenditure . . . Cute, frilly panties for sure. And a couple really sexy--really supportive--bras to keep what's left of the girls in check.
Oh, and a boob job.
And a babysitter.
The more noble ideals of fidelity, loyalty, and keeping the family intact never even made it to the table. The proposal lay dead on the budget committee floor. It was simple math. I could not afford an interlude with Young Guy.
I never really told him no. And he never really pressed. With unspoken agreement, we allowed the subject of our conversations to shift slightly. And then to sort of trail off into the nothingsphere.
We still keep in contact though. I e-mail him from time to time just to check in, just to know he's doing okay. And he calls me every now and again to ask me things like what kind of onions to use in his pot roast and how to remove the beer stain from his carpet. Did you catch that? What was once a scintillating and verboten conversation between a man and a woman has deflated down to a boy asking a 'mother figure' for advice. Yep, mom advice. And, as with my own grown children, I greedily (and pathetically) snap up whatever crumbs he scatters my way.