The trouble with good and decent is: it so often sets you up for a fall. You think it's good and decent, you're sure you're on solid ground, and then it turns around and PUNCHES you in the face.
Like the time a male co-worker - one who I'd thought was a good, decent man - revealed that he'd compiled a list of all the female staff based on who was the most fuckable. Or the time a bunch of other stuff happened that I'm never going to talk about because it's more like a battering ram to the kidneys than anything as tame and survivable as a punch to the face.
And then of course there's the world. The world telling me constantly that men are bad, men are evil, men are Ray Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond. Men treat their wives as slaves - just watch Wife Swap! You'll see! Men prefer golf to talking to their wives and children! See, it says there on every sitcom ever. And people think these sitcoms are funny and true and some man actually writes them, so it's not as though I can dodge this idea by saying "oh well it's just a TV show". Plus, you know. TED BUNDY KILLED 150 WOMEN.
But the thing is, though I try to let all of this sink in and get me down and make me believe that there are no good and decent men out there - hell, that there are no good and decent people out there - I can't.
I can't, because of my husband.
I keep waiting for my husband to prove me wrong. I keep waiting to feel less safe, less secure - to have the rule proven: believing in good and decent only sets you up for a fall.
But the problem is, I don't think he's going to prove it. I've even stopped checking the horizon for the punch that's coming, because he doesn't choose golf over me and I'm not even sure the idea for a fuck list is in his head, and when he speaks to me it's like he wants to hear what I have to say on this or that or the other. It's like what I say matters.
I feel real, with him. Like I exist. I'm not just a collection of parts, waiting to be assessed and told their value. My brain is real and it has stuff in it and the stuff matters. When I say what I know about films or literature to some men, it's as though I've started talking another language.
But that's never the case with my husband. He plays a game with me - he calls it the guess it game, and I suppose to him it's just something silly we do together. He just turns the television over to a film on one of the movie channels while my back is turned, and then I have to tell him as quickly as I can what film it is, just from hearing the music or a line or sometimes I have to look and guess what it is from the cast list at the bottom of the screen.
Sometimes all it takes are the first bars of the soundtrack. I can get Terminator or Aliens or Die Hard within a couple of seconds- though the point of this is not to brag about my film knowledge. The point is: my husband loves the fact that I can guess. He thinks it's amazing, like a parlour trick.
I don't think I can ever tell him what this means to me. It would sound stupid. It sounds stupid as I'm saying it now, to all the hundreds of probable OGAG readers. But I want to say it because my husband is proof that there are men out there who are good, and decent. He's not just proof, either.
He obliterates all the "I bet you love chick flicks" "I don't value you as a co-worker, I just value you as a blip on my fuck list" "get back in the kitchen" motherfuckers out there. He is a cleansing fire to my soul, a shining beacon of everything men can be - and are.
Because I know it's not just him. The "can't you take a joke" crowd try to tell me otherwise, but I know the real score. Good, decent men are everywhere. They're writing books that keep me going (Stephen King) and making TV shows that show me how awe-inspiring, how wonderful, how brilliant men can be (Joss Whedon), but most of all they're sat next to me on the couch, saying okay, close your eyes now.
Close your eyes and guess.