What is a married girl to do? what am I to do when I know the things that attracted me to my husband are naturally going to be attractive to other women , and while yes, I realize that this works both ways – that yes, men are and will be attracted to me too sometimes, though perhaps not often, but regardless, enough that I notice, what am I to do about those women who are insistent – those who keep knocking on the door and won’t go away and seem hell-bent on barging into my home and smashing every little precious thing to tiny, little bits? I realize i am not alone in this; that this is every marriage or any long-term or committed relationship or any relationship in which you are, quite simply, smitten – in love, wanting. You want to keep what is rightfully yours, you think. No one will take that away. This is what i speak of here – and while people are yes, free, we belong to one another in ways that are hard to define and i won’t try here, for these ways often defy language.
It hurts. It hurts to think that anyone would do this, and it hurts even more to know that a lifetime ago, I fell in love and did a similar thing to someone who, thank god, forgave me and is now one of my best friends.
How odd that my husband’s ex-wife should be now one of the people I care about most in the world and how stranger still that she could find it in her heart to forgive me. To do this must take practically superhuman or inhuman levels of forgiveness and understanding. I think really she is a candidate for Dalai Lama. I mean, why not? If she can forgive me, then she can move mountains, and i mean this truly.
These days, we have people knocking at the front door, the back door, the side door. Men, women, children, boys, and girls, all of them wanting a piece of our marriage. As for me, I do my part and dutifully turn away those who perhaps wish me well and wish to invite me to their next Dungeons and Dragons game or into their weird erotic fantasy in which I feature as Lara Croft (because I wear my hair in braids, a – ha!). None of this means anything; not to me, and not even to them , though they may not know it yet.
I try to tell them, really, if you knew me, I’m much more like Martha Stewart without even the criminal element bit, which makes me even duller than dull. Worse, I couldn’t even tell you what a flan is, let alone bake one or whatever it is you do to make a flan. I have this image of a flat round thing that is sort of rubbery – that’s my impression of flan, which could be dead wrong – but if I could take this flan I would place one on the face of every one who is at every door, securing the flan on all sides of their face and tell them in no uncertain terms to buggar off, because if the message hasn’t gotten through yet, perhaps a flan-secured blindness will be of some assistance.
But I can only do this with the help of my husband and while I make it clear that I am married and more, make it clear to whom I am married (in other words, he’s half Sicilian and while he may look writerly and scholarly, fuck with our marriage and out comes the Al Pacino “Scarface” element that otherwise lies dormant in his personality.) I tell people I’m married because I’m proud of it, proud of my husband, who he is and what he’s done with his life and is doing. I find him interesting… so naturally, I talk about him.
I fear he finds me less interesting, for recently when some salope came knocking on our backdoor, baby, when I asked him if she knew he was married, he looked rather bewildered and asked “Why would she know?” then added, “I assume she knows” , this because of a mutual friend they have, who I now assume, stands on street corners saying like a barker shouting Excuse me! Hear Ye! Did you know that Sadi Ranson and Mark Polizzotti are married, that they are the Ranson-Polizzottis – Yes, the Ranson-Polizzottis.. Shouldn’t my husband make it clear to other women that he is not available, assuming that is, that truly he is not available? I don’t mean wear a t-shirt, but perhaps casually slide it into a conversation if the other party seems at all interested or tres Duran Duran Hungry Like a Wolf etc etc.
Of course he doesn’t do this, so this woman likely has no idea that my husband is my husband. He never told her (it never came up), and I doubt the mutual friend said anything and now here she is inviting him out for drinks in the evening and he seems surprised by it all, as if there were some trick to it, some mystery behind the asking, because really, what is to stop her – she thinks he is single, as it would seem, and even if she knows he is married, he never told her about it so how much could I possibly mean. Frankly, I can see her point, if that is indeed it.
Either way, there is no mystery here to why this grey and flaxen haired baby-boomer with her bottle of Evian and her Reebok sneaker’s is suddenly running after my man hoping like hell he’ll settle in for a night of semi-passionate, semi-illicit flirting or more in which they can listen to the “oldies” station and maybe even do a few lines of coke while listening to Steve Windwood. She may even forgo her weekly highlights appointment for an afternoon of great sex, should the occasion arise, though it seems doubtful given that my husband is here telling me about the whole mess, and it is a mess.
Don’t get me wrong. He did come to me with this quandary and told me the whole story, to his credit, and told me that he didn’t know what to do about it because he a. didn’t want to be rude, and b. didn’t want to embarrass their mutual friend whom this person works with. So it puts us all in a rather awkward position that perhaps could have been avoided if she had been told in no uncertain terms from the get go that he is married. Taken. Or perhaps I should stamp this in indelible ink on his forehead, the way one marks books as one’s own etc.
No. To so would be degrading. To treat one as property and lord knows, I do not view my husband as my property – he is a free agent, and if he saw fit even to go out with Miss Evian and her New York ways, then I would be the last person to stand in his way. I do not believe that love can happen by force. I believe in the old Maryland t-shirt saying, “If you love something, set it free…” and so on, with the little seagulls taking off in the background. That he has come to me with his quandary bodes well for the future and would seem to say that the will do the right thing by us…. note I do not say the Right thing with a capital R because there’s no right or wrong here. There is only what is right for us; for him, it may be better to go off with Miss Reebok, who knows. Not I… but I can say that I doubt he will do that since he’s been forthright, unless this is some sideways trick and I’m a fool.
What I will say is that in every marriage there is someone knocking at the door almost all the time, for the very things that made your partner so attractive to you, whether you are married or simply going out or whatever, these are the things that are going to make others come knocking and trust me, the more qualities, the more wonderful your Mr. or Ms. Wonderful, the more Miss Evian’s or Mr. Reebok’s there will be knocking at your door. Sadly for me, most of these women tend to be Baby Boomers whom in my GenX way I will never compete with, mostly out of apathy more than anything else, and because I naturally assume that I’m better than they are and I believe I am right. I do not need to carry around a bottle of Evian or wear Reeboks to show that I’m important. Fuck, I don’t even have to know how to make flan or anything else. All I have to know is how to say No and say it in every language possible and thank god, I do.
Let’s pray my husband has the same courage and strength of character. I believe he does. I believe he will say No to drugs, No to Evian, no No to Reeboks, No to a night of bad Boomer sex, No to stupid flirting over whatever the latest trendy drink is – No and No and No and No.
Just say No.