I was cruising along in my car the other day when a song by the Bee Gees flowed out of the speakers, instantly transporting me back to the eighth grade and one of my biggest crushes.
As soon as “How Deep Is Your Love” began, I shrieked a little, turned it up and sang all the lyrics, memorized back in 1977 when I somehow determined it was “the song” for my short-lived love affair with Matt.
I met Matt in fourth grade when I moved to a new area. His cornflower blue eyes, curly blonde hair and self-confidence made him irresistible. A schoolgirl crush of epic proportions ensued year after year until finally, in eighth grade, he asked me to “go” with him, the 70s version of going steady.
By this time, Matt was already being shipped around to different schools, marked as a disciplinary problem, and his beautiful blue eyes were often tinged red from smoking pot, but I didn’t care. He finally wanted to date me!
I remember meeting him in our small downtown district after our respective buses dropped us after school. He presented me with a silver metal ring, which I immediately donned, thinking I’d never part with it. Those early moments were filled with the thrill of his kisses, the feel of my hand in his and a sense of importance just for being his girlfriend.
Sadly, those fairytale moments soon gave way to him pressuring me to travel down roads I wasn’t ready for, including smoking weed, drinking alcohol and having sex. I was a mere girl of 13. Against my better judgment, and I believe in desperation to keep him interested in me, I did try getting high. When I drew the hard line against more advanced sexual activity, he promptly dumped me.
I was devastated.
Listening all these years later to “How Deep Is Your Love,” I had to crack up a little. This song was probably playing during a make-out session with Matt and stuck. I’m sure I thought it stuck for him too at the time, but I’d bet a million bucks if Matt heard this song on the radio today, he wouldn’t think of me at all. He’d probably switch the station.
This got me thinking about how men and women are polar opposites. It seems like girls seek connection to a mate from their earliest years. We place significance on a one-month anniversary, or a sappy song or a sign that we take to mean something it might not mean at all. Endings are agonizing, tearful drawn-out affairs.
In contrast, boys seem less invested, almost aloof, about mating, to a degree, in their younger years. Nothing seems to have much significance. They just show up for however long it suits them and when they want to move on, they make the break and keep moving, almost without breaking stride.
After dating and enduring a number of break-ups in my formative years, I felt rather like a war veteran when I finally met and married my husband, to whom I’ve been happily wed for 25 years. In that time, I’ve studied my three sons with the tenacity of a real scientist when it comes to their relationships with women. Frankly, it’s been rather fascinating—not only in studying their romantic interactions and attitudes but their all around behaviors.
While I can’t necessarily make sweeping generalizations about men on the actions of those I dated or know from being related, it does appear men are hard wired differently from women. Men are more pragmatic, women more emotional. Men are more ambivalent, women more caring and empathetic. Men tend to be more solution oriented while women need to talk about feelings and issues, sometimes not even caring about a solution so much as being heard.
The rub, of course, is that oftentimes, these opposing forces are attracted to one another. So while the women are getting their hopes up that a particular guy might be “the one,” nothing could be further from the potential suitor’s mind.
And once there is a union between two possible mates, the girl is busy cherishing songs that lull her into falling in love while the boy is probably thinking about something a lot less…er, wholesome, in addition to the latest video game.
Somehow, we work out those conflicts as we get a little older, more mature and yes, smarter. I know I finally found a good mate. No matter where he is when our song plays on the radio, he calls to play it for me. That’s how deep our love is for real!
This column appeared in The Journal on Sunday, March 12, 2018.
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