12 October, 2005

Conversation with a Lady

Continuing the descent of Fuzzilicious Thinking into a pedestrian personal blog...

As most of my three readers know, I am most-definitely single—very, very single for far too long. Being single at my age may sometimes be thought to carry the whiff of desperation, which certainly doesn’t apply here. People who know me well would say I’m more likely to run away from a man than towards. And more than one lady of experience has told me my standards are rather high.

Those standards are something I’ve been recently examining with a lot more specificity. It probably started with that silly little 5 Things Meme. I included “Intelligence/wit” at the top of my list of “5 Things that Attract Me to the Opposite Sex” simply because I am easily charmed by a man who can make me laugh and with whom I can go toe-to-toe in a battle of social or intellectual wits.

I can’t speak for all women in this case, but it is a man’s mind I fall for first. And the most efficient way to communicate that mind is conversation. An active, curious mind that loves a good turn of phrase, pulls from a variety of disciplines or experiences, and confidently digs into whatever is found to be intriguing will always bear at least a second look. And a man with intellectual passions that differ markedly from mine—whether mathematics, technology, art, or “The History of Warfare,” the subject matters not—is a constant source of intellectual stimulation and opportunities to view through familiar eyes things that seem so foreign at first glance. …And a chance also to glimpse the passion and fire that lurk in all of us.

And then there is the wit side of things… I remember a friend from graduate school (sadly uninterested in the fairer sex), who was always ready with the devastating bon mot, and whose ability to quote or allude to the famous writers of Western poetry and literature left me in awe. A mind like that is a wonderful thing, though unfortunately rare. And truth be told, that is not what I am looking for. Some minds are just too intimidating!

But I believe wit is the true hallmark of an intelligent mind—educated or not. Some wits are the life of every party, while others are quiet and dry, leaving one breathless with laughter at the most inopportune moments or wondering what delicious thoughts lurk behind that calm facade. And still others can communicate volumes of amusing and enticing information with the mere lifting of an eyebrow or a knowing smile.

And for me, no intellectual interaction can compare to the joy of a good battle of wits, usually framed in a flirtation. For the joy in teasing and tweaking and believing oneself to have the upper hand, can only be exceeded by suddenly discovering one’s error and having to submit to another’s teasing gaze and triumphant laughter. For the ultimate joy comes in gracefully ceding the battlefield, armed with ready material for the next time, when one will prevail and turn the tables in that delicious dance.

So gentleman, it is truly the mind that matters. For the mind controls the body, and the body can be taught. But unlike the body, the good mind grows in splendor commensurate with its age. Approach me with the bravado and certitude of twenty-five and I will find you titillating, and even passably interesting for a few moments. But set before me a man of nearly forty with intelligence, experience and a devastating sense of humor…who can make me laugh and make me cry, make me wonder why I was never interested in rocket science or guns or 17th century French literature or even antique cars, and who can go toe-to-toe in both discussion and flirtation... then I will be entranced and intrigued, and gladly sit and talk.