I'm reading "Bastard Out of Carolina" right now. It's a really, really raw story, and I am only 50 pages in.
There's one quote that begins on page 24 (Dutton Book paperback edition, 1992)
That Earle's got the magic," Aunt Ruth told me. "Man is just a magnet to women. Breaks their hearts and makes them like it." She shook her head and smiled at me. "All these youngsters playing at something, imagining they can drive women wild with their narrow little hips and sweet baby smiles, they ain't never gonna have the gift that Earle has, don't even know enough to recognize it for what it is. A sad wounded man who genuinely likes women --- that's what Earle is, a hurt little boy with just enough meanness in him to keep a woman interested. "
She pushed my hair back off my face and ran her thumb over my eyebrows, smoothing down the fine black hairs. "Your real daddy..." She paused, looked around, and started again. "He had some of that too, and that's something I can say for him. A man who really likes women always has a touch of magic." (Emphasis added)
As I read that a man popped into my mind. A man who is a friend, and that is all I have ever seen in him, because that is all I want. I can see in his past interactions with me, and his interactions with others, the genuineness of his attraction to women. I feel like he loves the smell, the taste, the feel, the everything about women. When he is with a woman, in that moment, that woman is the one he wants to be with, maybe even loves. He is living so much in the moment that the past and the future don't even exist. It feels amazing to be with a man who is so "entranced," even though it may not be particularly you, just what you are. Of course when a woman (me included) is with him, what he gets back is the attention that he craves.
I almost didn't include the first paragraph above as I quoted because I don't believe he has "meanness" the character of Earle has. I did include it, however, because the women he spends those moments with even if he "Breaks their hearts and makes them like it." seem to not hold anger with him. I will fully admit that I haven't spoken to or interviewed women has has been with. I can see, however, that he is loved in our community, and thought of as a kind man, a fun man, a smart man, etc. I don't think women/people in general examine his motives or question his behavior.
In full disclosure I will admit that I haven't interacted with him for awhile. While I am not heartbroken, I do feel a loss. I'd be willing to give him the admiration and the feminine attention he craves for a few moments, an afternoon, an evening in exchange for the feeling of being touched by that magic.
Sweet Cherry Chutney
4 days ago