When a man speaks of love, it is different from woman-speak. In my former blog (Dream Station: I Want To Be a Writer), I talked about my struggle with writing believable dialogue for my male characters. I have to work at it. I look for cues around me. I eavesdrop on male conversations. I read men’s magazines and blogs, places where men speak to men.
In that vein, I am copying several quotes below from The Good Men Project article “She’s the One” by Tom Matlack. In the feature, Matlack interviews men about when they knew the woman they married was “the one.” The remarks are pay dirt for this word miner. I share them with you, in case you are struggling with the language of love, as spoken by one of your male characters.
The situation was complicated. Others were involved. The woman who became my third wife was simply the kindest, most empathetic person I’d ever met. Life self-selects.
—Jesse Kornbluth, writer, editor
It was the crow’s feet on the sides of her eyes that attracted me to her. They gave her a look of kindness I had never seen before. And when she smiled, it only accentuated them further. She did turn out to be a kind and gentle person, and we have been blissfully married now for 22 wonderful years.
—Lee E. Shilo, author and poet
When I left for college, she was still in high school. I was so miserable without her, despite all that college life had to offer. Looking back, I realize the moment I knew she’d be my wife was when she sent me a box of cookies and a love note, which came in the mail when I was alone, and although there were plenty of other things to eat, I was starving for home. I realized “home” meant her. Twenty-five years later, it still does.
—Todd Mauldin, blues philosopher
When I met my wife, she didn’t need me. She had a good job and came from a loving family, so she was happy and well-adjusted to life. She saw in me things that were apparently hidden to the casual observer (like myself), and didn’t need to change me into someone else or squeeze me into a predetermined mold. But, what made me realize, quite calmly, that she was the one for me, was the fact that I found myself wanting to be a better man for her. I wanted to be not what I thought she wanted, but what I thought she deserved in a partner. That was a first for me, after a handful of selfish, denial-filled relationships. I still hope every day to be the man she deserves after 12 years of marriage.
—Jeff Davis, 46, videographer
Through the darkest lows before marriage, she always had faith in me.
When we started dating in the early ’90s, I was living in New York and she lived in Tennessee. That was a time in my life when I was too concerned with what other people thought about me. Kristi was so comfortable in her own skin. She was willing to be uncool, which made her so authentic and so much fun to be around. I remember little things, like me bemoaning the existence of shopping malls and she looking at me and saying something like, “I love the mall. How can you not love the mall? It’s got everything under one roof and you don’t get wet or cold.” This may sound so trivial, but she still gets so excited about everyday things. The world is so much more interesting when I see it through her eyes.
Her other spectacular quality is that she fights fair. She rarely says things like “You always” or “You never,” and she accepts responsibility when she’s been wrong. Since it’s usually me who’s wrong, you’d think she’d get out of practice, but she hasn’t yet.
—Rink Murray, physician
We were friends and coworkers at the local library when we met, both divorced, custodial parents. At the time, neither of us had any intention of ever marrying again. Every relationship I’d been in before started out with sex, and eventually wore itself out. When sex is all you have in common, you’re doomed from the start, because you have no real connection to the other person—just to their body. With my wife, there was a definite sexual attraction (she’s lovely), but we didn’t start out in bed. We just had a really good time together, wherever we were, whatever we were doing.
We’ve been together now for 21 years.
—James Eritano, building superintendent
I was a charmer and intellectual snob. She saw through me and my BS like mosquito netting!
—Tshaka Armstrong, writer, film/tv editor, nonprofit CEO
Gradually, I came to appreciate that since being with her, I was becoming a better, wiser, and happier person. It occurred to me one day that she just naturally had an increasingly positive effect on me. I knew then that she was “the one.” I proposed to her that same day. I can’t remember, before or since, feeling more confident about any decision.
—Dennis O’Neill, Ed.D., executive director for management and organization development
We had both seated ourselves in my convertible to go home when I said, “Do you mind if I smoke a cigar?” Alli replied, “I sure do—unless you’ve got one for me!” Sealed the deal.
—Bill Achtmeyer, chairman and managing partner, The Parthenon Group