Monday, February 17, 2003

How To Become An Alpha Male in 18 Lessons: Lesson 11: Take Me

There was a boy I knew in France, we were both sixteen and he didn't have a car. All he had was a bike, but he had a lot of imagination and a terrific smile. He was an apprentice to a butcher and you should have seen his hands, a new nick or a cut or a big ominous bandage every single day when he came by after work to take me out. There were other guys with motorbikes and some even old enough to come by in cars, but I didn't let them take me off like I let this boy take me. He wore that butcher's apprentice heavy white cotton side-buttoning jacket, a bit like a cook's bleached white linen jacket and his pants were cotton as well, a tiny black and white gingham, again, a traditional French uniform, they fit snug at the hips loose at the ankles, a bit like sailor's bellbottoms. He'd removed his apron by evening and most of the blood on it, though now and then you'd see a flick of red here or there. He'd rush to see me and didn't care to change first. His chest was strong, made you think the jacket buttons might just bust. He had a jolly face, young and handsome and had two great dimples. It was easy to take his hands in a motherly way and examine them for new cuts -- but he'd have none of it -- he's shoo-shoo my attention away, throw his arm around me and explain in French that he wanted to take me somewhere. He only had a bike, but he loved to put me up on the bar and ride me around town. And he knew he could take me anywhere this boy. This was the kind of boy who didn't have to say much to get you to go anywhere with him. I suppose he showed me carnivals and churches and the river and men fishing and cafes, but I honestly don't remember. Mostly he showed me his enthusiasm and his imagination and his great love of life and of course, he was only taking me places to kiss me and I remember that.

And there was another guy in LA who would call me up and say, "Hey, let's ditch out of work early and I'll drive us up the coast, we'll find a place to eat fish and lie on the beach, whattya think?" and he had a nice car, not a sports car, not a convertible, not the best car in the world, but he was funny as hell and he knew how to take me places. He'd drive us out of the city, from Beverly all the way out Venice Boulevard, swore it was the best way to get used to the ocean smell, up Pacific Coast Highway through a low fog, the sun would burn a path for us, past old summer shacks, barely hanging on the sides of hills in Malibu, past beaches with nannies and kids and surfers and we were talking and laughing about horrible stupid excuses we'd made up to tell our bosses why we wouldn't be there that afternoon. We'd make it nearly to Santa Barbara before we'd turn back to see if the coast was clear -- and it was -- and we'd use whatever impromptu late spring beach blanket we could scrounge from the back of the car -- usually some mover's blanket made of brown quilted cotton with a red edge -- and if we didn't have bathing suits he'd dare me to wear my undies and pretend they were a bikini and I would and he'd wear his white Jockey briefs and look even more like some guy in his underwear and we'd laugh about it when people walked by looking at us. He roll us up in the blanket for privacy and we'd kiss. When it got dark, he'd take me to the Reel Inn for grilled salmon and beer and on the way home I'd fall asleep on his shoulder as he drove.

Alpha Males take you places, they just know how. Sometimes it's a risk. They know they might get turned down, but they try it anyway. They don't need the best wheels. They don't need the best road. They don't even really need to know where to take you, they just need to take you. All they need's a little imagination and a little desire. Some have taken me by train to Winter Park to ski. Some have taken me to Seattle by plane just to eat crabs. Some have taken me by limo up to Greenwich for the day to leave the hot city behind. Some have taken around the corner for pasta. The best even let me take them by the hand, lead them down the hall to the bedroom and when I ask if they'd like to take a nap, they say, "Sure." You see, some of these guys I'm quite taken by. And whether I take them, or they take me, they all know one thing, a fine day takes a little imagination, a little fun, a little risk and they always take the chance.