Wednesday, October 09, 2013

"Rich she shall be, that's certain..."

"...wise, or I'll none;
virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her; 
fair, or I'll never look on her;
mild, or come not near me;
noble, or not I for an angel;
of good discourse, an excellent musician,
and her hair shall be of what colour it please God."

 -Much Ado About Nothing, Act II, Scene iii

I took the above shot in the parking lot of the library, while I was picking up my next book ("Jefferson Davis, American"). I was leaving the library and saw the moon, hanging in crescent shape just above the lights and horizon. And below it (between the tree and the tallest lamp) was a bright unwavering dot. A planet? Perhaps. Venus, shining in glory, it turns out. I don't think it's very visible in my photograph - cell phone cameras are not awesome.

Crossing to my parking spot, I opened the door and stood, practically transfixed. I sat down inside and closed the door, then started my camera. I opened the door again and stood outside, taking the quick shot you see above me. It doesn't really capture the majesty of the scene, but I wanted at least an inferior rendering for this entry.

Because while I was looking at that scene, I had a personal realization. It is an answer to a question that has dogged my steps my entire dating life: what do you want in a woman?

I've given lots of answers over the years. Some were well thought or particularly inspired in the moment, others were lame and filled with holes that people nitpicked. But none of those answers has been as simple nor as profound as what I arrived as the twilight crept away.

While I looked at the crescent moon, I thought about the fact that we've been looking at it for as long as we've been a species. It has always been there, and it will probably long outlast my lifetime. But somewhere up there is the space station: a little bubble of air flying around the world at thousands of miles per hour. Right now, there are men and women zooming around up there, sleeping in a place that is sometimes closer to the moon than any other humans.

And I thought of the desolate majesty of the lunar surface. The colored jewel of Earth, hanging in the star field. I thought of all the poets and saints who have ever lived having stared at the moon at some point, appealing to it for answers, seeking solace in its continuity and aloofness. And then I realized I'd been watching the moon for minutes with my car running.

That is what attracts me. A woman who will catch herself staring at the moon too long, contemplating everything and nothing about it. A woman who, every once and a while, finds herself captivated by the absolutely ordinary sight of the moon crossing the sky. A woman who never fails to find a little bit of wonder and majesty in the moment. A woman who is never so much in a hurry that she won't notice the celestial ballet.

I'm not saying this is the sole recipe for marriage material. It ignores lots of other things about what we should all be looking for in prospective partners. It doesn't address matters of practicality, honesty, compassion, duty, and other important traits. It is simply a one-point list of what I want. Anyone can lose themselves in a list like the one from Benedict at the start of the entry. A list which proceeds through line after line of things that anyone in their right mind finds attractive. Rich? Sure! Wise? Great. Noble? Why not!

So I've provided a list of one thing: must have had a stop-time moment of watching the moon in the past year. Is it the secret to my heart? No. Is it a guarantee that trumps other points? Nope. Is it even really something that tells me a lot about what that woman thinks or feels? Probably not.

But the woman who can lose herself watching the moon one evening... that's someone I want to know better.

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