Sexless in the City

Sometimes reading romance novels doesn’t quite prepare you for a love life...

For this 30-year-old urbanite, love is always a misadventure: The Harvard Lickwit, Hippie the Groper, the 5% Man, and the Ad Weasel. These and many other men wander in and out of her life — but never her bed.

Monday, July 11, 2005

A mantra contra Aretha

Originally I meant Spooning Fork to be a weekly feature, but with the last one sometime in late June I’m clearly not doing so well on that. And though I have recently met an interesting and increasing crop of new men, my policy is to never blog about them ... at least the first two to three weeks. ;)

Let Me In Your Life
‘Let Me In Your Life’ from Let Me In Your Life
The genius of this song is that, for a piece with only ten short lines of lyric, Aretha & Co. manage to stretch it out to a scorching three-and-a-half minutes only a man of fortitude could survive. The secret? a) Repeating the entire song, and b) breaking for significant riffs between each line — this no doubt provided so as to give the lady ample groove time in-between, should her hips prove more persuasive than her words. While you imagine Aretha dancing, I’ll intersperse commentary.

I need someone — hey, baby let me love you
Let’s just pretend I didn’t say the first part, shall we? In any case, vulnerability’s a good thing, right? Relational glue and all that. I mean, it’s not as if I’m desperate or anything! I said, baby, let me love you — this is all about you!
Please ... don’t push me away
How can you resist my love?
Let me in your life
Who doesn’t want a good woman, who can sing and dance like me? I’m offering looooove. All you have to say is, “Yes!”
I wasn’t there when she hurt you
But Lord knows, I understand how a woman-done-you-wrong could make you skeert o’ women for good.
So why should I have to pay?
That is, why should you have to pay? By resisting my love, you let her continue to control your life, baby. Let me in!
Baby, let me in your life
Let my love heal you!
I wanna share your tomorrows
And how could that be a bad thing? I’m just a simple woman, offering simple love ... all for you!
So I must pay ______ for the day
[Line hard to discern as Aretha wails to herself]
And if she’s the cause of your sorrows
OK, so maybe I don’t know you well enough to say for sure why you’re so resistant to my love...
Be glad that she’s gone away
But if my speculatin’ is right, you could take me home with you tonight. Let me in! Let me give you love!
... And so on. Now I said this post would actually be contra Aretha’s mantra (“Let me in your life!”), so let me ’splain. While we have seen many variations on this theme — from Macy Gray’s gun-waving to Etta James’ promises of better bread — I am becoming convinced it’s a bad-news business. Ain’t no man likes a woman chasin’ after him thatta way. You gotta encourage him to chase.

For instance, instead of “Yeah, I’m feeling kinda bummed tonight; wanna grab a drink after work and commiserate?” a clever woman trails strategic hints. “Yeah, I’m feeling kinda bummed tonight. I think I might have to brave the after-work mob at a [location of office] bar tonight. Which is risky business, a single woman wading into a bar and all, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta.” (Note strategic avoidance of implying you desperately need a drink ASAP, hence might be verging on lushdom.) With any luck, an observant fellow will ask if you want a drinking partner after work. And don’t get me starting on using a blog to hint .... Ah, but I could write a book on passive flirting. Maybe I will.

Bottom line, letting the man more or less lead within the framework you’ve encouraged him to consider produces more thrills for everyone. My mantra? Don’t let ’im in your life too easy. And if that sounds old-fashioned, it’s ’cause I’m a retrosexual, damnit!