The old boyfriend [the one I dated for a year and a half, not the one who ghosted on me] and I had dinner once a week. This was before the late Brother Stilts and the very-much-alive Brother Sushi became part of my world. Frequently we ate Mexican food of one sort or another: Tex-Mex, Mex-Mex, or New-Mex-Mex.
For some people, it’s all about the tamales. And I do appreciate the effort and artistry that goes into making tamales, but I am funny [OK, maybe a little weird] about corn. I like my corn frozen or canned and far from the cob; definitely not creamed, though I loved it as a child, before Niblets nibbled their way into my heart. And I love cornbread. I use my mother’s recipe, from the back of the Albers cornmeal bag. Yankee cornbread. Yellow cornmeal, and a quarter-cup of sugar. Sliced into nine squares, each neatly subdivided into a top half and a bottom half, with a sliver of butter on each, and washed down with plenty of milk or buttermilk.
I do not like tamales. I like the fillings just fine, but not the steamed cornmeal that surrounds them. No rational reason for it. [Not all that crazy about grits, either, though LittleBit loves them; she got custody of the two small containers of grits when we divvied things up last year.] I suppose I feel about what goes between the filling and the cornhusks the way my girls felt about stuffing/dressing when they were little.
So for me, it has pretty much always been about the enchiladas. And most likely the sour cream chicken enchiladas. Last night I had enchiladas with Brother Sushi, at our favorite restaurant, the one owned by the aunt of someone he knows. Nelda’s, down on Far South Cooper in Mansfield, almost to the intersection with 287.
Bliss. I had the triple plate: one sour cream chicken enchilada, one beef in Colorado sauce, and one spinach in crema sauce. A mess of beans on one side of the plate, and a generous serving of rice on the other. Did I mention, bliss?
The old boyfriend used to say that he could watch the stress ebb out of me as we ate, starting at the crown of my head, moving on down through my forehead, eyes, mouth, and chin. And he learned that when the relaxation hit my chin, he had about fifteen minutes to get me home, kiss me goodnight, and gently push me through the doorway.
My life is significantly less stressful than when I had the responsibility for kids still at home. But the past couple of weeks have had rather more drama than I’d been used to, and last night the sour cream worked its magic yet again. I picked Brother Sushi up about 7:20 and dropped him off about 9:30. We were both yawning prodigiously at that point. Too tired to get out of the car and hug in front of his house. We both just kinda leaned shoulders in the middle of the car and laughed wearily.
I am so thankful for that man! It is such a blessing to be able to compare the behaviors of new men in my life with that of my established friendships. I can recognize that the friendship with Trainman is healthy, because I feel safe and peaceful in his presence. I can take my interactions with the Silver Fox and what I have observed of his teaching style and get a plausible outline of his character.
I remarked to Brother Sushi last night that while yes, I am rather smitten with the kind, decent, smart, funny Trainman, I am also not truly in love with him [at least not yet; wouldn’t take much to nudge me off the cliff], because I am also feeling that perk! when I see the Silver Fox.
And then there is the whole question of testosterone. LDS men, at least the ones I want to spend my time around, the ones who are more or less my age and have spent a lifetime pruning themselves to fit the covenants they have made, are typically buttoned-up. Not stuffy. Not boring. But disciplined. And I like that; it’s the same discipline, whether internally chosen or externally imposed, that draws me to military men, cops, and firemen.
I dated a man, not long after my baptism 30+ years ago, who was notable for his self-discipline. And I, trying hard to be a lady and to not make life any more difficult for him, or us, was never quite sure if there was any passion lurking under all that self-discipline. [There was no question at all with some of the men I dated back then; our challenge was to stay on the Lord’s side of the line.] I was crazy about that man, and I didn’t want to end my single years with a marriage that was merely dutiful and committed.
That hasn’t changed. I’ve just gotten smarter about which men to avoid and how to recognize when something isn’t working.
The Silver Fox is definitely buttoned-up, except when he is teaching. And then he just blooms! I suspect that he is doing what I do, channeling his energy into service, study, prayer, and wholesome activities. [I also think he might be shy.] So I am finding opportunities to speak with him briefly each week. I would really like to be friends with him, but since I think I might like to be more than friends with him, I need to treat him about the way I do the husbands of my friends. I don’t flirt with them. I can’t really flirt with him.
And then there is Trainman. The nimbus of testosterone about that man is something I am very much aware of. Do you remember the cartoons where somebody has baked a cake, and one of the characters floats along in the air, following the scent in the breeze?
My guyfriends do not lack in the testosterone department. Several of them are black belts, some in multiple disciplines. They surround me with a certain level of ambient manliness that helps me to feel safe, secure, and protected. [Brother Sushi and I joke that he and a couple of others are my testosterone maintenance program. Just enough gets through to keep me sane, but not enough to cause problems.]
Any man with whom I allow myself to fall in love, will have to have approached me, and not the other way around. I want a righteous patriarch in my home [eventually, in the good time of Heaven, not two weeks from next Wednesday], and leading by example starts at asking for the first date.
I also remind myself that if it were the right time for Brother Right, he would already be in my life. So if he’s not, it’s because he’s Brother Not Quite Right, or Brother Not Right Now, or there is something that I need to be working on. Which takes any sting out of the current situation, and in the meantime there is knitting.
Which is calling my name more loudly than any human male; I must obey...
- Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!