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Can't Beat the Real Thing

I just spent a delightful weekend with an old friend, his ex, and her son, at their charming home, where I gave a workshop. I had no idea how that potentially fraught soap opera would play out, but to my amazement, everybody got along great with everybody and I believe a good time was had by all. We conversed over dinner, by which I mean everybody wanted to hear my stories. We loafed naked in the hot tub under the stars, which gave me quite the opportunity for exercising my poker face. I believe “drama” was once defined as “the characters in the scene do not all have the same information.” --We chatted in the kitchen and went for long heartfelt walks along the beach at sunset. It was all implausibly real.

I was not expecting to be liked by my friend’s ex and her son, but, surprisingly, I was. That made life pleasant.

It was sweet to be liked by a young boy at what is an infamously challenging age. Thirteen, goodness, the beginning of everything, and yet still there are wraiths from past little-boy-hood clinging, even little vestiges of babyhood from not so long ago. Upon reflection, I was delighted that there was the larval state of a future Man out there, being exposed to someone like me and imprinting this as what “Woman” could mean. And to be esteemed and admired for such as I was!

What happens between thirteen and forty, that turns men from innocent appreciators of Real Women into terrified rabbits who run screaming at the least indicator of any kind of independent female voice?

And how can we reverse this tide?

“I really like her, Mum,” the son said. “She's really real. She's authentic. She's different from all the other tango teachers.”

Let that be written as my epitaph, and I can die proud, knowing that I have shared the Good Stuff with the world and shown it the way.

U2. Even Better than the Real Thing.