Young Son asked a very good question a couple of days ago. He asked, “Why are men attracted to women?” This from a kid who is uncomfortable with his sex ed class, yet he manages to get right to the heart of the matter. It’s one of the great mysteries of the world because there are complex factors involved in attraction.
Husband said that attraction doesn’t only happen between men and women. Men can be attracted to men and women can be attracted to women. So we rephrased the question to become, “Why are people attracted to other people?” I launched into some of the various factors, like hormones and appearance and qualities of personality that attract people to each other. Often, we are attracted to those who are similar to us, but we can also be attracted to those who have opposing qualities because we may want those qualities for ourselves. I also said that attraction doesn’t have to be about romance. We can be attracted to someone we admire for their abilities. As an example, I told Young Son that an awful lot of people are attracted to Barack Obama right now.
The conversation continued when I tucked Young Son into bed, but this time I launched into the story of how Hubby and I started dating. We were in the same grade in school and knew each other all the way along, but hadn’t thought of each other in a romantic way. In high school, Hubby was always at our house because he was best friends with my brother. At that point, any ideas of dating were not in my head because you just don’t date your brother’s best friend.
A couple years into college, I casually said to my brother one day, “Why don’t you see if [Hubby] will ask me out.” (Obviously, his name is not Hubby!) My brother put the bug in Hubby’s ear, but didn’t mention that I was behind it. Within six months of our starting to date, Hubby proposed. We were married ten months later. Hubby didn’t know that I had been the one who had initiated the first date until well after we got married. What I didn’t know, but learned after we were married, was that he had carried the phone number of a cute girl in his wallet. That cute girl was me.
After telling Young Son this story, I told him about the things Hubby did while wooing me. He would give me these creatively wrapped gifts. One, a night shirt, was wrapped in a pizza box upon which he had written, “Love Ya Two Pizzas!” (He had plenty of access to pizza boxes because he worked at a pizza joint. I still have the box.) Another was a Ten Thousand Maniacs CD from the era when CDs came in those giant boxes. Hubby had wrapped it to look like a giant Hershey bar. Perhaps the most surprising gift I got from Hubby during this time was the bouquet of flowers he left in my bedroom while I was sleeping. When Daughter overheard me telling Young Son about this, she said, “Creeeeepy! How’d he get into your house?” I had to remind her that Hubby and my brother were best friends, so getting into my house wasn’t the issue. I was amazed that he managed to place the flowers on the stand next to my bed without waking me up.
What started out as a question that Young Son was quite reticent to ask became a great opportunity for me to reminisce, but also a chance for Young Son and Daughter to hear about the courting days of their parents. We never did successfully answer Young Son’s question, but I think he came away with the notion that not all sex ed topics are yucky and discomfiting. (At least I hope he did.)
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!