Twilight Times Feature
by Becky Ruff
Do you think the world is ready for an Erma Bombeck of the divorce crowd? I might well play the role with five – count them – five marriages under my belt. So often we of the “failed union” sect have been coerced into a sense of inadequacy. The word failure means a lack of success, an unfavorable outcome of a venture. I wonder if that is true in divorce - in all divorces, at any rate. A continuation of the marriage was not created, but the result is totally within our control to map our own futures. Universal laws exist which may be explained by the actions of cause and effect. We are accountable for our choices, and by accepting this responsibility, we reclaim the acts, their precipitated results, and therefore our own individualized power in the creation of our own lives.
At one time, the need to circumvent divorce offered a protection for the woman whose sole livelihood fell upon the shoulders of a male spouse. Today’s culture paints humorous and sometimes painful offshoots to this premise of old; often, women take the brunt of the financial burden. The line from the movie, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” comes to mind where the knight guarding the Holy Grail quietly states the obvious. The villain, having chosen the wrong chalice from which to drink, dies horrendously. The knight matter-of-factly explains, “he chose poorly.”
Having experienced this phase of the contract myself, I find myself not bitter, but with a distinct longing for “romance” with a capital “R.” It would be glorious to be valued for the unique and even eccentric woman that I am. Even as a liberated female, I still believe that the partnership formed by a couple bolsters the strengths of both, galvanizes the union as a safe haven as well as the base from which to explore and “try our wings” as a unit and as separate entities. This unity provides the accessibility of communication, which serves as the platform for new creation as well as sustaining the status quo of day to day living.
If the dream exists for the format of a union, holds enough viable drive for its manifestation, and can be guided with thought toward the best of survival for both parties, the ripple-effect should prove beneficial for each person, the couple, and all the peripheral life forces touching the couple. We need not lose ourselves to become part of a partnership. Each individual brings unique qualities. I suspect that we woman have not always been valued for the continuity, beauty, and structure which we supply.
I have noted with some interest that in this struggle for feminist actualization, we may have lost some footing in this arena. Often women seem to be valued for the posts they may hold, the income they might provide, and their physical beauty. As individuals, we possess souls, thoughts, emotions, and drive, too. We might choose to revamp society’s emphasis.
So, what do we of the unwed set do to initiate contact with someone who might be just the right compliment to us? It is funny to me that we hear so much about the world growing smaller. I live in a small town in a state based on rural economy. The financial balances of this area mandate working in a slightly larger city about twenty miles away. Women populate my job arena and my personal slot of activity takes place in nocturnal solitude.
Therefore, I am trying my wings – with common sense – on the Internet via personals. One of my most charming and delightful communicants exists with a man beyond this continent. A brush with psychology might indicate the freedom of this liaison to be its very nature of the unattainable – distance and the cost of travel. The plus reigns as a boost to my libido and jaunt into “possibilities.”
Although this could be the magical component to romance with a capital “R,” my ideal connection precipitates “real time” shared life experiences. Of course, there can be only ONE first meeting, but the ultimate goal remains to create the monogamous romance newly. I met a marvelous gentleman – bright, witty, challenging, an intellectual with a pronounced enjoyment of physical intimacy.
Our contact occurred through a literary friend who thought our senses of humor and writing styles posed a symmetry of sorts. He was absolutely correct. The gentleman and I exhibited marked “heat” in our meetings. Surprisingly to me, after validations of love were voiced, the fellow admitted he hoped and needed to “end “ his search for the ideal mate with a woman possessing all my inner characteristics, but also the physical attributes of a magazine model.
How could I respond to such a wish when I look like the character in the movie, “The Truth about Cats and Dogs”, in which the rather plain heroine, albeit intellectual and funny, is mistaken to be that of a gorgeous female. The male lead falls in love with the “package,” experiencing confusion and a sense of betrayal upon learning that the spirit of the woman for whom he has become enamored does not reside within the body of a model. In the film version, the man finally discovers he loves the essence of the less than beautifully perfect, but bright and humorous lady – and her physical attributes become secondary in importance. Reality offered another scenario in my case. The gentleman decided to continue searching for his “ideal” woman, to include the ravishing exterior.
I wonder just how much this says about our culture. I fell in love with this man through our emails, telephone calls, and sharing of written documents telling of our innate philosophies and ethical responses to life’s challenges. I had never before experienced the connection radiating such an effervescence of life energy. Deriving insights, the two of us dropped our defenses, bared our souls and fragile ideas, and evolved into a mutually appreciative friendship involving trust and honor. Our “real time” meetings could have produced sparks with our linking of the spiritual and sexual appetites.
The bond between us expanded each of us, but it fulfilled only me. The gentleman sought more idealized physical beauty than I possess. Short of plastic surgery, I am unable to comply and thus, cannot fit the bill for his life-long “mate.” So, how can I explain my loss of the union I felt to be an actual “calling”? Because the man is far from shallow (despite my description of our estranged needs), I suspect two points developed for him: one was that he became too involved, making the next step of a commitment the only direction for his path to propel him forward, and two, by clinging to his ideal of “perfection,” he could not move forward with me, the entity possessing some of his dream characteristics but not the entire illusion’s “shell.”
Needless to say, pain radiated on both sides with this realization of our predicament. I struggled valiantly, attempting to convince him (and me) that I was a desirable woman as well as enlightened and that our union would benefit us both in all areas, including the bedroom. The tale did not conclude in a storybook ending. Each of us slid to the point of forgiving the other for our personal preferences and desires to be able to create “all of our illusion.” “Casablanca’s” script line of surrender; “we’ll always have Paris” seems appropriate as an ending. We have our strong and loving friendship.
Hope does indeed spring eternal! The closer I move toward antiquity, the more knowledgeable I become about me. Surely, that must promise the successful outcome of an appropriate union – one of appreciation, respect, physical intimacy, responsibility, and lots of laughter! A quote from Bix Bender comes to mind, “a gate only works if a corral comes with it.” Let’s make our own corrals worth opening the gate.