You’ve asked if I would have done what Mick’s date did in When the Rain Stopped.
One freezing, snowy Friday night 15 years ago I headed out to the airport to pick up Alan, who was still my husband and the object of my fantasies, and who had been gone on business for the last two weeks. I was insulated from the elements by thick leather boots, a heavy wool coat and a long wool scarf.
The plane was late, so I waited 30 minutes in the stuffy, crowded airport waiting area. The sweat started trickling down from under my scarf, down my coat collar and along my spine. I couldn’t take my coat off, however, because, like Mick’s date, I had nothing on underneath those thick woolen layers.
When the plane had landed, the luggage been gathered and stowed in the trunk and we were in the privacy of our car with the doors shut tightly around us, Alan’s reaction made every moment of sweaty discomfort worthwhile.
But remember, this moment of revelation was in private, and in the context of a loving relationship that had already had 15 years to mature.
No, I would not have done what Cindy did.
My father taught me my most important lesson about my identity as a woman and how I fit with the world of men. He doted on his golden-haired little darling. His tender sweetness in my early years convinced me that I was smart, affectionate, fun and cute. Because he valued me for the sum total of my being, he taught me that I deserved respect and honor for all of those characteristics.
The feminist movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s solidified this lesson. Like the women who were blazing trails for the rest of us, I wanted to be loved, desired and valued for all that I was. I never wanted to be viewed solely as a body. To win me, a man had to value the sum total of my being, just like my father had.
So, no, I would never, neither in my youth nor in my maturity, have showed up for a first date telegraphing a message that was just about sex.
Now, do you think I’m a total prig?