I pass from childhood into adulthood, at least I think so, though be it in the safe confines of Cornell University. One notable difference is the lopsided nature of the student body. There is a preponderance of men as male students outnumber females by a large margin. Rachel had noted this phenomenon when I was admitted to the University.
“With all those smart boys at Cornell, studying medicine and law, the odds are excellent.”
“Odds for what, Ma?”
“That you’ll find a husband, what else?”
“But I’m not looking for a husband. I’m going to Cornell to study.”
“Of course dear, but any girl who doesn’t find a husband with these odds, is hopeless.”
Defying Rachel, as always, I do no shopping for a husband, or even a boyfriend. The thing you have to know about Rachel, though, is how often she proves to be maddeningly correct. This was something I suspected all along, but her perspicacity grows to monumental proportions as I advance in age. Just be patient and you shall see.
I do not look. I study, The word “husband” is not in my vocabulary.
The thing I don’t count on is the inevitable insistence of hormonal maturity, which, without my consent, sweeps me into Rachel’s prophecy nonetheless. After two solid years of resistance dedicated exclusively to platonic pursuits, a candidate, one Alexander Grossman, steps out from the multitude of males, to captivate me.
My resistance crumbles into dandruff. My knees buckle. All dedication to scholarship, feminine empowerment, and self sufficiency recedes into my meager history. Little do I know then that not only am I to find a husband, he will only be the first act of a multi part play.
Rachel, you are too good.
One summer when we are in bed resting and watching the Olympics– Sam is a sports lover—we have one of these funny chats, kind of stimulated by the program. We’re watching a gymnastics meet.
“I was wondering,” Sam starts….
“How would you say I’m doing in the husband Olympics?”
“The Olympics of marriage. How do I stack up?”
“That’s silly, Sam…
“No, really, How do I rate along with the other husbands?”
OK, I’ll bite. “Well, Alex won the looks contest hands down.”
“How about the… you know, sex contest? Who scored in the all important bedroom showdown?”
“I’d have to give that one to Oliver.”
Sam seems discouraged. “But it was close…”
“OK, he says. What about brains?
“Oh, Richard has that one tied up. He’s smart as a whip.”
“What about Michael, what did he win?
“He won the Daddy award.”
I’m quiet and I know Sam is waiting. He’s afraid to ask.
“Oh, one more award I have to give out.” I announce.
“The all-around. The all around best husband is, drum roll please…..
“You mean it?”, he says sheepishly.
“Yes, darling, no contest. The very best is you.”
I mean what I say. He is the best. Not the best looking. Not the sexiest. Not the smartest. Not the father of my children. But the man I adore the very most. It’s a zen thing. I love his pot belly and the big earlobes, and the way he puts on his shoes.
“Go figure,” I hear Rachel saying on her cloud. It doesn’t add up, but it’s true anyway.