It’s Valentine’s Day, 2011, and Griff and I have spent our evening making dinner together and dancing to the playlist he made for the occasion. Now my eyes are closed and I can hear him running up and down the stairs and moving furniture. “What on earth are you up to?” I ask, laughing.
Silence. Then I hear the first strains of “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.” Griff is a Calgary boy, and “Ride a Cowboy” is his signature tune. (This really says it all, doesn’t it?) As soon as I hear the opening, I know exactly what he’s got planned. I open my eyes to see him, in jeans and a dress shirt, his head tipped forward, with one hand resting on a red suede cowboy hat. He’s got the male-stripper stance down cold.
As the song starts, he tilts his head up, gives me a saucy smile, and starts dancing. He’s clearly gone to a lot of trouble. His moves are choreographed; there’s that red hat that he’s tracked down from somewhere; he’s even found a strobe light. He struts his way through the song, removing his clothes until he’s down to just the hat. I am laughing so hard that I’ve got tears running down my face. Forget the flowers and the chocolates! Hands down, that dance is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.
I was thinking about that dance today, about the great lengths that Griff went to just to make me laugh. I feel so grateful to have had that delicious moment in my life, and so sad that I no longer have my very own, personal male stripper. (Every girl should have one at some point in her life.)
I was all ready to sink into a funk about the fact that I’d never, ever find another man who would do something like that for me. And then I thought about Andrew. Andrew is the man who gave me my groove back after my divorce. We had a brief, intense fling the summer after my ex and I split up. It was a long-distance romance, and in between visits, Andrew would write me long, eloquent love letters. With a fountain pen. (I know! Even now, I still get faint thinking about those letters…)
When Andrew and I split up, I remember thinking, “Where am I going to find another man who’ll write me love letters? In fountain pen?”
And then I met Griff. For all his prowess on the dance floor, Griff couldn’t write to save his life. And you know what? It didn’t matter one little bit. There were so many other lovely and good things about him that I didn’t need handwritten letters. I didn’t even think about handwritten letters.
This is a good reminder for me right now. It’s unlikely that I’m going to find another man prepared to serve as my private dancer. It’s unlikely that he’ll be able to boast that he has the upper body strength of a 17 year old. He probably won’t make me laugh in quite the same way as Griff did, or love me the same way either. But it won’t matter. I’m learning that there are gifts in every relationship. I’m learning that all kinds of things make me feel loved. I’m learning to trust that there is something even better waiting for me, for when I’m ready.
(As an aside, I texted Kira (The Queen of All the Internet Dating) today asking, “Where am I ever going to find another man who’ll strip for me?” She texted me right back: “Trust me: there are plenty of men willing to strip for you, me, or any other breathing female. If you want, I can forward you my latest naked man pictures.” I love that girl!)