One of my favorite songs is Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl. The beat, tune, lyrics…all of it makes me smile. I suppose it’s because when I was a girl I dreamed, as most young girls do, of spending my adult life with someone to whom I’d be uniquely special, someone who would call me his brown eyed girl. We’d spend time laughin’ and runnin’ – hey hey – skippin’ and jumpin’…with our hearts a-thumpin’ as the song goes. It’s a lovely idea, even now.
I don’t spend very much time dreaming of living a Van Morrison number because most encounters with men leave me feeling more like Orianthi’s insightful Think Like A Man.
But, every so often someone saunters by dishing out enough flattery to linger a few days like the sweet scent of quick blooming lilacs in spring. Tonight, I encountered one such someone.
While waiting for my friend to show up for dinner, I had enough time to catch up on some emails so I pulled out my laptop and started chipping away at the mounting inbox. Next to me was a table of three men who appeared to be long-time friends. I honestly hadn’t noticed them because I was so acutely focused on my work even with the gregarious crowd all around me.
One of the men leaned over and asked me how I could possibly focus amidst so much noise. Truthfully, I just block it out. He complimented me that I should be so disciplined and introduced himself and his two friends. A few minutes passed and then the familiar happy birthday song rose up as a low toned ballad from their table, to which the surrounding patrons quickly joined. These guys are singing to their friend in public. How fabulous is that? Minutes passed. And then the conversation resumed.
Would you like some birthday cake? What, you don’t eat sugar? Well, that just means you’re beautiful AND smart. What do you do for work? So, you plan parties? Yes, I plan big parties. What do you do for fun? I love to travel. Where is your favorite place to go? Where palm trees grow. Do you ski? No, I snowboard. What would it take for me to get you to go skiing with me? Uh…glance up to the right…then down to my hands wringing around…umm…pause…well, I don’t know. He smiles with friendly, steady eyes.
It’s as easy as the confidence young men don’t have. Young men may ask the same questions but there’s a depth in the voice of a man with unbridled, humble, playful confidence that simply doesn’t exist in the distracted approach of a tentative man. I am complimented by any man courageous enough to ask. I never assume it’s easy to pose such a question to a girl. But I am flattered to blushing rosies by a man who asks, smiling, without fear in tow like a choral delay.
In the end, I am my dad’s brown eyed girl. And, I probably will never think like a man. It’s quite possible that, widely speaking, America’s men have forgotten entire verses, melodies, and harmonies of courtship. But, when you meet one who knows the words and will sing it fearlessly, it’s sort of like laughin’ and skippin’ and dancin’ around.
Do you remember when…we used to sing? Sha la la…la te da.