Monday, May 02, 2005

Chapter 4 (part IV)

So much of what I thought was a suave bon vivant in S. turned out to be a put-on. He’s Catholic— in the worst sense, occasionally going on and on about “redemption” and “suffering,” and most of all, the forgiveness of sin. Seems the more he worries about sin, the more irresistible it is to him. My father’s Catholic, but my mom and her relatives snuck me out to church to be baptized Protestant while he was at work (and before her in-laws could bring the priest by the house). No, there’s no redemption in the DiMarco house: you bring your suffering on yourself through the choices you make and it’s your responsibility to clean up any mess.

Despite his shortcomings, I enjoyed the verbal sparring— so much that I would fidget in the morning waiting for S. to walk in the door of M & A. Keeping things lively and risky, without actually crossing any real line, was a delightful challenge to my bored brain; my terribly unchallenged boring life found an outlet in him for my pent-up dreams and ambitions to be more than just a secretary in the Yale Library and a mental door-stop for the people using it— and me.

“What do you think the nature of attraction between men and women is?”
I had to keep on my toes, his questions were thought-provoking and he acted like my answers mattered.

“Sex, of course! No seriously, it has to be a meeting of souls.”

“Souls and a good figure,” he looked me up and down with the same comic broadness I’d always laughed at with Art Carney and Jackie Gleason in "The Honeymooners.”

“You’ve never been attracted to someone that wasn’t good-looking?”

“Well, the French do have an expression: laide mais merveilleuse, it means 'ugly but marvelous,' they use it for women who aren’t good-looking, yet have style and sexual animal magnetism.”

“Ah, yes, S.A.M. Should I change your name to Sam?”

“Ah, flattery will get you many places, Mis-sus Campbell.” He always divided the “Mrs.” that way for emphasis, it was one of the little German things I found adorable about him.

“But let me ask you this? Would you choose to be alone on a deserted island, or with someone you actually disliked?”

“I don’t know, would you prefer to be on that island with somebody who was good looking and obnoxious, or unattractive yet pleasant and compatible?”

“I would have to be with someone who turned me on physically. There is, after all, a mechanical difference between men and women: my equipment has a mind of its own when it comes to performing.”

“Is that why it leads you around by the nose? I’ve always suspected a man’s mind dangles between his legs?”

“Hmm, I don’t recall a woman ever giving me mind! Come on, women are different from men, they look at the face first and through the eyes, into the soul.”

“That’s bullshit! A woman will just a likely respond to a hunk in tight jeans as an intellectual with a bouquet of flowers.”

“You’re a sage, Mis-sus Campbell, a veritable sage!” and he winked with the a leer and a knowing nod, then we both laughed to the point of tears. Did I want to sleep with him? I wasn't thinking about it, at least not on any conscious level. Not then.

to be continued (check back often)