February 20, 2009

The art of being wooed ....

This article was written by Ellen Gilchrist .... and I have carried it around with me for years. There's A LOT of truth in it ..... for men AND women. There really IS more to courtship than seduction ....

"Being wooed is when a man sets out to and makes you desire and love him, need him, dream of him, miss him when he 's gone. A man could give me a Lear jet and I would certainly be glad, but that wouldn't necessarily make me want to hold him in my arms or marry him or bear his children. I have had three husbands and many lovers, but only one of them ever really wooed me. He was a young musician who gave me spontaneous, original gifts from his heart, desiring me while I was doing dishes, putting me in the car and taking me to see a waterfall without telling me where we were going, bringing me a baseball shirt on the very first day of spring. The baseball shirt was white with blue sleeves and when I put it on he said, "Wear it with those velvet jeans, I go crazy when you wear those velvet jeans." An hour later, I was out in the park, watching him play softball with his old high-school basketball team. Life was beautiful and easy for this man, and when I was with him, it seemed that way to me. He included me in everything he did. He offered me his whole world.

Other men I had been involved with tried to figure out how to woo me, but there was nothing spontaneous about their efforts. I could always imagine the whole dreary process as they remembered it was about to be my birthday or Christmas and marched duly out to search for something to give me - knowing all the while , and rightly, it probably wouldn't be anything I wanted, but at least I couldn't say they didn't try. It would be an expensive scarf with a horse-riding motif, a stiff arrangement of flowers sent by a secretary and usually delivered while I was out of town, or occasionally something with diamonds that I would have to wear whether it suited me or not. I loved those men for their efforts and I loved the way they waited to be praised, but still, something inside me wanted to say:

Surprise me, serenade me, carve my name on a tree!!

The way to woo a woman is to adore her. The thing women want is to be desired. When the musician made love to me, he said, I have never known such happiness, I think about you all day long, don't ever leave me, don't ever go away.

I think the other men I loved felt this way, but they couldn't bring themselves to admit it. Perhaps men are afraid of women, afraid of their need for us, dazzled by our delicacy and beauty. Perhaps they feel if they tell us how much they love us, we will take advantage of them and of course, some of us will.

Being wooed is not the same as being seduced. When I was with the musician, I never felt I was being tricked or used. I felt something important was being made manifest. I never expected it to last forever, but I knew I was being changed by it. Even now, many years later, I remember that time without remorse or a sense of loss. I learned from that encounter, about love and its power to make the world seem wider and deeper, rich and timeless.

One reason the musician was able to woo me was that I allowed him to do it. I never let the powerful, successful men I fell in love with pursue me, because I was pursuing them so hot and heavy they could hardly get a gift in edgewise. The wooing I wanted from them was a wedding ring. When I was in love, the only thing that made me feel safe was complete commitment. I always asked men to marry me before they could ask me. My need was so terrible that it spoiled all possibility of surprise.

The musician managed to ask me first. He asked me the night I met him. It was spring and new buds were on the trees and the world seemed filled with poetry. The week after we met he wrote a song about me and played it at a performance. What woman is immune to such wooing? We never did get married, but the fact that he asked me made me secure.

A man who is not afraid to woo is a rare and lovely creature. My oldest granddaughter is being courted at the moment by an endearing young man. .She came down the stairs on Valentine's day dressed to go to dinner with him. He was waiting at the bottom of the stairs. When she was almost to the last stair, he opened a box and poured hundreds of rose petals at her feet. I think we are going to see a lot more of that young man.

There have been moments in my life when the most rigid or unlikely man would suddenly do something that seemed a dance of courtship. Once, a spoiled Southern mama's boy dove from a yacht in a dangerous river in the dark to save me. Everything I thought I'd known about this man changed in an instant. I had insisted I could swim in any body of water and had jumped into the river to prove it, but the current was too strong as he had told me it would be. When he saw I was in trouble, he saved me - and afterward he didn't say "I told you so" or get mad at me for putting him in danger. I loved him on and off for several years afterward. Nothing he did in his spoiled indulged life could make me forget what he had done when it mattered.

A writer I know told me she once fell in love with a man because he had a clothes dryer delivered to her house. She was young and poor and had to take her clothes to a Laundromat to dry them. He saw a need and filled it.

The way to woo a woman is to give her what she needs before she knows she needs it, or to give her what she needs before she asks. A politician gave me the best present I have ever been given by a lover. It was a large book, hot off the presses, of photographs of Earth taken from a satellite. He knew my interest in geology and gave me something I wanted that I didn't know existed.

I never know I need love until it is offered to me. Perhaps wooing is the way a man reminds a woman of the joy two people can give each other. Who cares if its oedipal or electrical or simple chemistry? It's still the honey to end all honeys. Its not for sale, this strange, rare happiness, but if it is, the coin of the realm is imagination."


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