The post-holiday season got me into a contemplative mood. After the rush and noise of Christmas shopping, a hush descended on me as I drove through virtually deserted streets on December 25. The quiet and lack of immediate demands gave me a few moments to let my imagination run wild.
I began to think about the concept of my last Blog â€“ do women really want sensitive men, those special men who are in touch with their feminine side? Or, are women unconsciously repelled by the very same qualities they say they need? Then I thought, Santa Claus appears to be a sensitive man. He’s a philanthropist of the highest order. He is applauded around the world and never even took an income tax break for charity.
So, I thought, what if Santa came into a bar where the older set hangs out and sat next to me? How would I react? Here’s the picture:
I’m sitting in an upscale bar in Center City Philadelphia. The bar is made of carved oak with a black marble counter top. I’m looking at brightly lit glass shelving holding top-drawer bottles of liquor. It’s the day after Christmas so it’s quiet. I’m drinking an icy vodka martini and chilling out. A man, two seats down, is staring at me. I give him a small smile. He moves over and sits next to me.
â€œWant to buy me a drink, sweetheart?â€ he asks.
â€œNot really.â€ I say.
â€œJust kidding.â€ He looks up. â€œHey, barkeep, give this nice lady another, whatever she’s drinking.â€
I look over at this brash man who didn’t even ask me if I wanted another drink and find his appearance pleasing. He’s wearing a navy, cable knit sweater and tan slacks. His salt and pepper hair is cut short, but several strands sweep over a high forehead. His nose is large but quite appropriate for his tall, thick size. He’s solidly built and in his early sixties.
He extends his hand, and I shake it. It is cool and smooth to the touch, not a hand that belongs to a manual worker. It’s how I picture Jimmy to be â€“ plastic. â€œOkay. Are you married or otherwise engaged?â€ I ask
â€œNope. Been there, done that and have given it up for Lent. Just want to have fun now.â€
At least he’s honest. Do I dare sound corny and tell him that I’ve been there, too, but want to have a committed relationship? I decide to keep quiet.
â€œYou’re a pleasant looking lass, he says peering down my v-neckline at my cleavage. Well, can’t say I didn’t wear this outfit deliberately. We’re smack in the era of cleavage and skin showing. I am much too old to do the hip-skin thing, but a little cleavage works wonders. Oh, why are men so simplistic?
â€œDo you know why your marriage or marriages didn’t last?â€ I ask.
â€œIf you want to count that I wasn’t home much because I’m a workaholic and when I was around I watched sports on TV, you might count that against me. What man doesn’t do that? I just didn’t get the woman who would tolerate that? But I’m not changing.â€
â€œDid you enjoy intimacy? Were you a good listener and give your wife quality time when you were together?â€
â€œHey, that’s chick stuff. I’m sure I was a good husband. I’m not good with domestic stuff. As I provider, I did the best and loved my kids. Isn’t that enough?â€ He shook his head. â€œLook, if you want to have fun, I’m your guy. I’m good in the sack.â€
So, I’m face to face with a man who has the bad boy syndrome, and, I must say, it has some appeal. Why not be carefree and enjoy every second? No strings attached. Hey, next year arthritis might get me or some other damned illness.
Thudding footsteps sound behind me. I turn. Santa Claus is standing in the middle of the marble floor, removing his big, white mittens. He walks over and sits next to me.
â€œCan I buy you a drink?â€ He asks. His beard had several tiny icicles hanging from it.
â€œSure, Santa. What are you doing here?â€
â€œNo one is home. I haven’t publicized it because it will upset millions of children, but Mrs. Claus passed away last year. The elves have gone to visit with their own families. I’m lonely.â€
â€œSanta, you’re a super star. Thousands of people would invite you to dinner.â€ Jimmy, seemingly not surprised by Santa’s presence, moves away and sits next to an attractive woman.
â€œIt’s one of those oddities. You see, because I was busy pleasing everyone, I never developed close relationships. Children love me, parents love me, but with limits. It’s sweet and pleasant, but I’m not really an integral part of their lives.â€
The bartender delivers the drinks. Santa had ordered a mint martini. We click glasses.
â€œI realize since my wife died I was remiss in our relationship. I used my enormous fame and generosity as a ploy to keep from getting close to her emotionally. We only talked about my work and the stresses that go with it. My wife complained that I didn’t listen to her, but that used to make me angry. I insisted that making toys for children superseded her demands for attention. So many people depend on me.â€ His expression turns weary. â€œIt’s only since she’s gone that I see how I feared love because it would make me vulnerable. The woman of my life meant so much to me, gave me everything within her capacity. I cut her off so that I might devote myself to the world. Giving my all to others was easier than working on my marriage with the one person who mattered most in my life.â€
I finish my drink, grab his unfinished cocktail and down that quickly. Was this real? Or was I having a psychotic episode? I admit to being a bit strung out from guzzling bourbon eggnogs yesterday, but this was beyond hallucinating.
â€œI opened up to one woman since my dear wife’s passing,â€ Santa continues. â€œShe had champagne waiting for me when I came down her chimney. She’d heard about Mrs. Claus’ demise and thought we’d get along. I poured my heart out, telling her that I’d reevaluated my life and knew I’d missed so much in the pursuit of success. I wanted to change now, discover who I really was under this hand-tailored, red suit. I wanted to discover poetry and learn to cook. I let myself cry in front of her, told her how upsetting it was to always act strong even when I don’t feel it. I lived in constant fear someone might not like me and became the epitome of a crowd pleaser. I want to be off of all those greeting cards. I would willingly trade my celebrity for obscurity if I could fine a passionate love interest.
â€œSuddenly, this woman got a look of horror and said she had always suspected my relationship with the elves and was I having an affair with one of them? That did it. With a clatter, I zipped back up the chimney. As I sailed through the air in my sleigh, I decided that I wouldn’t let her attitude stop me from seeking answers within myself. Somewhere, a woman exists who truly wants a sensitive man. I’ll search even if I have to miss next Christmas.â€ He sighs and his blue eyes get a mischievous twinkle. â€œWhen I first saw you, I thought you might be that kind of woman.â€
I look over at Jimmy. He sits alone now, gives me a big smile and a small wave.
I stare at Santa, little beads of water from melted icicles cling to his brilliantly, white beard.
â€œI’d love for you to dance through life with me until the music stops,â€ he says
Or my tits fall off â€“ whichever comes first. I say a little prayer in hopes that Santa is a vegetarian. Then I remember his fondness for his pet reindeers. â€œSanta, do you want to come back to my place?â€