“You hear that? She’s not very good at slushy stuff? That, to me, is a problem, as it would be to any male who heard Dusty Springfield singing ‘The Look of Love’ at an impressionable age. That was what I thought it was all going to be like when I was married (I called it married then–I call it ‘settled’ or ‘sorted’ now). I thought there was going to be this sexy woman with a sexy voice and lots of sexy eye makeup whose devotion to me shone from every pore. And there is such a thing as the look of love–Dusty didn’t lead us up the garden path entirely–it’s just that the look of love isn’t what I expected it to be. It’s not huge eyes almost bursting with longing situated somewhere in the middle of a double bed with the covers turned down invitingly; it’s just as likely to be the look of benevolent indulgence that a mother gives a toddler, or a look of amused exasperation, even a look of pained concern. But the Dusty Springfield look of love? Forget it. As mythical as the exotic underwear.
“Women get it wrong when they complain about the media images of women. Men understand that not everyone has Bardot’s breasts, or Jamie Lee Curtis’s neck, or Cindy Crawford’s bottom, and we don’t mind at all. Obviously we’d take Kim Basinger over Phyllis Diller, just as women would take Keanu Reeves over Sergeant Bilko, but it’s not the body that’s important, it’s the level of abasement. We worked out very quickly that Bond girls were out of our league, but the realization that women don’t ever look at us the way Ursula Andress looked at Sean Connery, or even in the way that Doris Day looked at Rock Hudson, was much slower to arrive, for most of us. In my case, I’m not at all sure that it ever did.
“I’m begining to get used to the idea that Laura might be the person I spend my life with, I think (or at least, I’m begining to get used to the idea that I’m so miserable without her that it’s not worth thinking about alternatives). But it’s much harder to get used to the idea that my little-boy notions of romance, of negliges and candlelit dinners at home and long, smoldering glances, had no basis in reality at all. That’s what women ought to get all steamed up about; that’s why we can’t function properly in a relationship. It’s not the cellulite or the crow’s feet. It’s the… the… the disrespect.”