I went back and had another conversation with Jeanne because I’m having trouble getting over the age difference:
“Jeanne, how do you feel about Josh?” I sipped my cup of coffee.
“You mean how should I feel about him, or how do I feel about him?” Jeanne looked at me, woman to woman, simpatico. Both of us wore summer clothes, and only those who knew us would recognize us as highly educated women.
“I need to know how you feel about him if I’m going to write this correctly.”
“He’s an impossibility. I’ve studied sociobiology, and everything I learned tells me that there’s no possibility our relationship should exist. I’m not of childbearing age, so he shouldn’t be attracted to me. He’s not a provider type – “
“Do you know that?” I asked.
“Guilty as charged. Let’s just say he’s a writer, and you should know by now that he’s never going to be rich.” Jeanne chuckled and set her cup down. “If the whole purpose of the human race is to provide another generation of humans …”
“But you don’t believe that,” I challenged Jeanne.
“First,” she emphasized, “I think sociobiology is garbage. The same sociobiologists who assume that the sole purpose of life is procreation assume all human enterprise – travel, art, architecture – exists so that the male of the species can attract the attention of a bed partner.”
“And you’re not waiting for some guy to write a sonnet for you.”
“Oh, God,” Jeanne lamented. “I’d love it if Josh wrote a sonnet for me. How far gone am I?”
“You tell me,” I grinned.
“As I said, Josh is impossible. He made the first move; did I tell you that? I’m sitting there with my computer, and suddenly, I look up and there’s Josh sitting across from me. With this grin and the hair falling in his eyes. I shouldn’t think this, but –”
“I’ve never gone for the traditional. If I wanted a scientist, I’ve been surrounded by them for years. None of them have ever agreed with me – what a statement; they didn’t interest me, especially when they did the ‘Howdy little lady’ thing and told me why I should let the men take care of things. I think it made me more open-minded.”
“And?” I ask. I’m rather enjoying this.
“Josh isn’t typical. He’s not that warrior-hunter type sociobiology tends to promote. He’s bookish, so it’s wonderful to have conversations with him. He’s devoted to his aikido and his writing. He’s – well, he’s not a big guy. That may be an understatement; I don’t think he weighs 130 pounds. Okay, he’s absolutely beautiful, and it drives me crazy because I’m not exactly beautiful.”
“What does he think?” I probe.
“I don’t know. I don’t know if he knows it’s getting serious enough in my mind that I wish we were dating, with all that implies. He hugs me and I’m curious. I have no idea where he stands and I don’t want to scare him off.”
“So you’re going to wait for him to say something first.”
“I don’t know what else to do. I don’t want to be like a cougar or something, and – God, I think he’s a virgin.” Jeanne rubbed her forehead.
“Well, if he’s as bookish as you say he is, then I suspect you’re right. Is it that scary?”
“It’s a lot of responsibility.”
“It’s a lot of fun,” I shrug. We both break out laughing clandestinely, as if caught in something naughty.