Sunday, June 6, 2004

Faith, Hope, and Clarity

“Jewelry is a distraction, a ruse designed to divert a viewer’s eye from the flaws of the wearer. It is for the realm of the older woman, much like vertical stripes, oversized sunglasses, and hats with their own zip code.” My friend Faith paused from her slurred diatribe long enough to take a sip from her 3rd Bloody Mary. Luckily she wrapped up her babble by gushing how I was far too young and beautiful to need jewelry, so I knew she was still sober enough to buy the next round.

Not need jewelry? Since when does “jewelry” have anything to do with “need”? It is one of the few things that not only doesn’t have a justification, it refuses to acknowledge that one might be required. When Faith says she “simply must have that emerald brooch,” it is not because it holds her scarf together oh so nicely. She needs it because she wants it. To venture further down that “why?” path only invites catastrophe.

Enter the modern male, replete with his invitation. He blinks, stares and shrugs, ensuring his demise. Or worse, he gets it completely wrong.

A long-suffering friend was once asked by her goombah boyfriend whether she preferred platinum or gold for Christmas. Thrilled, she told everyone she knew that he was finally going to get the hint she had been klonking him over the head with and, you know, ask her. Christmas morning, the look on her face was unforgettable as she opened her new platinum blender. It was, he added gleefully to his emotional dungheap, so she could make protein shakes for him.

Clue number one - when the better half is about to launch a key announcement, there is a hitch, a shift in the voice. Sometimes a weighted pause announces that something BIG is in the wind. It is clear from the tone a Woman uses that Man needs to sit up, suck up, shut up, and take notes.

Yes, no one likes to have instructions force fed to them. But for once, let’s look past the initial uncomfortable event. For the sake of argument, let’s say Man took notes and (gasp!) acted upon them. Emerald brooch in hand, he delivers the precious sacrifice to his female shrine. What would happen? After so many, many years of lowered expectations, of phony smiles and broken dreams, a dim light would flicker. Hope would warm the caverns of Womanhood again. And Man would be, well, happy. Men, proceed to your happy spot and remember that feeling. Simplistically, for your sake, jewelry = happy spot. Fair enough?

For a while anyway. Eventually the brooch would get dull and Woman would need a shiny new one to rekindle the light, so off Man would go again, if he knew what was good for him.

“Jeremy is a distraction, a rube designed to divert a viewer’s eye from the flaws of the world.” My friend Faith pawed at her emerald brooch that was a gift from her 3rd boyfriend this year. Jeremy the Man kept Faith very well distracted. For a while anyway. Eventually he would get dull and Faith would need a shiny new one to rekindle the light, so off he would go again, if he knew what was good for him.

Brooch stays, Man leaves. I can dream, can’t I? By this time I’m dwelling in the realm of mystic fiction, but that’s where Hope lives, alone, but with a marvelous collection of jewelry. And this I do know – she welcomes visitors, anytime. Especially those bearing gifts.

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