University of Baltimore Asst. Prof. and Bohemian Rhapsody Columnist Marion Winik meditates on men she has loved and the value of sexual chemistry.
Though most of us grew up thinking we’d find true love and mate for life, many didn’t make it very far. Some picked the wrong person in the first place. Some had relationship ADD. Others were cheated on, widowed, or hounded out the door. Some joined cults, some drank, some gambled, some changed beyond recognition upon becoming parents.
Still, I know a fair number of people who are floating like swans toward their 30th anniversaries. One of these, an old college friend, came from Texas last month to check on my health situation (much better now, thank you). When I met Miss E—, I was straight outta Jersey, a 1970s Snooki on her way to whatever trouble was available in the Ivy League. Miss E— was a private school girl from Dallas, on her way to a life of spirituality and service. She was in both my Hinduism and Russian history classes, and we were fascinated by each other, having previously encountered such specimens only in books.
By the late 1980s, both Miss E— and I were raising families in Austin. She had married a guy I didn’t click with very well. I imagined their relationship involved a lot of praying and volunteering at the soup kitchen. One day when our kids were small, she was recounting some mildly annoying thing he had done and I burst out, “How do you put up with him?”
Miss E— was quiet for a moment and then she said, looking down, “It’s the man-woman thing.”