The Maturation of the Romantic Heart & Mind
eighteen for everything soirees for everyone
and flash stiff jazz solo women in love
one evening play again courtship
accuracy bonds the promenade
summer hazelnut coffee winter
book of letters unfulfilled briefly a great distance love broken.
Each month thousands of young men move to New York for the first time. They are all eighteen to twenty-something. They are all ready for everything that the city has for them. It is rare that the cruelness comes first. “There she is” they say. “There she is” and they all fall in love with some “her” that they’ve found. Some act quickly. They speak directly and are rejected promptly. They move on quickly to some one else. They succeed. They fail. They succeed. These men are thrill seekers. They attend soirees and dance at them. They buy rounds for everyone at the bar. They have friends that they cannot remember the names of. Often they were very good at some sport back where they call home, the best in their school.
They have arrived at university in New York on scholarship. They have practice in the morning. Their big game is next weekend. They have seven women cheering for them and only them. They respond to deathly serious questions with gigantic smiles. It doesn’t matter. They move at one million miles per hour. Their twenties click and flash by as an extended guitar riff or stiff jazz trombone solo. Women fall in love with them in one evening. Women never want to speak with them again when it ends. They are the lucky ones. They learn to do better. They slow down. They push all of their chips into the center of the table. They lose. It’s one game. They play again. They get back on their feet.
There are men who move slowly and gradually. They have been well-trained in everything that is courtship. They make projects of women and tend to their various assignments with wondrous efficiency. They believe in numbers and persistence and patience. They wait but they cannot sit still ––– waiting ––– endlessly ––– for one woman. These men are business majors. They endorse the proofs of averages and medians and means. They adopt these mechanisms into their lives. Subconsciously they construct charts and graphs and ven diagrams with titles such as “How to Most Efficiently Find a Wife.” They frequent Friday evening after work happy hour socials. The women there have perfect mascara.
They tell stories of former professors and listen just close enough to these women’s impressions of fashion or music or their favorite place in the city to watch the sun dip beneath the horizon. These men remember one thing that these women said the first time they met and make a point to bring it up the second time to show how closely they were listening the entire time. It works. Women fall in love with these men because they are reliable. They are consistent. They have plans and execute them with admirable accuracy. They have savings bonds and investments.
These men go on dates. Arm in arm with women they walk the Promenade that sits between Brooklyn Heights and the East River. If it is summer they show these women their favorite spot for ice cream. They insist on ordering two cones of two scoops of the Hazelnut toffee. They say it’s the only flavor.
If it is winter they know just the coffee shop to walk toward after dinner. These men have good strong jobs in the industry. They are not afraid to talk shop with these women. They are not aware that these women are bored by such talk. At times these women themselves are not aware that such talk bores them. How could they be? It is so rare that they speak with the men who fall madly in love with one woman.
These men are repeatedly well-proud to have at long last found her. There she is they all say and at once cease looking for anyone else. She becomes their one great enterprise. These men have ideas about the world. They are always just about to make their mind up about something. They are mischaracterized as hopeless romantics and mis-labeled as dreamers. They cease being able to see the beauty of other women. The sight of her is a jolt to their entire aura. They become intertwined with someone whom they know just enough about.
They fill in all that is unknown with incomprehensible beauty. They offer careful hints. Months if not years later they make absolute and un-shaking declarations of desire: twelve unsolicited poems, a book of letters to their beloved, one shame-filled plea that their unfulfilled prayer for love is met.
They admire from a great distance and allow their relentless imaginations to produce beautiful realizations of their long-awaited union with their beloved. One evening before their eyes it all shatters. Another man has his arm around her, kisses her dearly. She has missed his hints. These men bury the thought of her so briefly. The next morning they write the first seven pages of the book that will win her back. Their desire renewed they prepare for her return. Women who fall in love with these men love them eternally. But there comes one great sweeping all-encompassing and unavoidable catch. These men with all of the innocence and vibrancy and uncertainty of their youth are impossible to fall in love with. They are broken by women often. They need time. The romantic heart and mind need maturing.