For some reason, as I shuffle closer and closer to seventy, the stuff of Valentine's Day is only in my dreams. Given my propensity for emotional napalm and other incendiary female devices, there are many people of the male persuasion who are thankful I'm finally down to my last sip of estrogen. Certainly my parole officer welcomes the passing of this imminent danger.
Meanwhile, last night, in lieu of a life-size, realistic, genuine latex replica of Hugh Jackman, I managed to conjure up a whole night of dreams about one of my longest, most confusing, and utterly contrary relationships. Since that describes most of them, I will have some 'splainin' to do. But first, let me digress.
The good news about having a father who had about as much warmth as an emotional vampire, is that I have a gift for dealing with very difficult men. The bad news is that I am a magnet for those very same difficult men. Go figure.
To continue this digression -- as a child of the "anything goes" sixties, one might assume that along with white gloves and pearls, all the old rules about never kissing on the first date and never having sex until he said the "L" word have not been in play for the last forty years. You would be right, of course. But with the freedom of unfettered experience comes a knowledge of male pattern badness that I like to call, "Don't play with fire."
Combine difficult men with their fire-starter capabilities and you can see my dilemma. How to insure that their smoldering eyes reflect the flames of love and not the fires of Hell.
On more than one occasion, in the safety of my sleep, I have managed to conjure up more than one guy from my past in the wee hours before Valentine's Day. One took me dancing in the clouds. Lovely. Unfortunately, those dreamy experiences are the closest I've been to real thing as the chocolate begins to melt all over the sunset of my life. [My apologies for that visual.] The good news? At least I don't have to shave.
Which brings me to my latest Valentine's Day dream about a guy who could always light my fire. But he suffered from a case of male pattern badness that was so extreme, I was concerned about third degree burns. So for years, during our up close and personal days, no matter how many times I was tempted, I kept putting him off, as it were.
Now here he was, a complete figment of my imagination, and I was still pushing him away.
Farkin-A, what was I thinking? He had even taken the time to show up in the upright and locked position. No complaints from me, since this was my imagination at work. So what was the hold up on my end? Aren't dreams supposed to be a chance to make wishes come true? When anything and everything goes. When you can be who you want. Do what you want. Or do whomever you want. [Ever notice how awkward grammar can be at just the wrong time?]
For some reason, despite many past opportunities, and obscene lack of consequences, all my dreams -- Valentine's Day or not -- are so grounded in reality, i.e., do the right thing, that I might as well be awake. Geez, what's the point of that?
My Valentine's Day dream was about someone I coulda, woulda, shoulda told, "Just do me." Instead it became a continuation of my ongoing debate with him, "I think you're very attractive, and more fun that anyone I know, but emotionally, you're like playing with a cobra." All true of course. But what a load of blah blah blah. We mustn't. We shouldn't. I can't. I won't.
WTF, Mrs. Linklater, you're dreaming. It doesn't matter.
Needless to say, I woke up sorely disappointed with my moral compass in tact on Valentine's Day.
But I'm older and more reckless now. So, I called him up. In real life. Not so much to stoke the fires of former passion. That requires effort. Let's just say I rattled his cage a little and had some fun taking a poke at the bear. The upshot?
Like Emma Stone says at the end of Crazy, Stupid, Love, "This is going to be fun."