I want the husband who lives two doors down. Oh, not because he’s a reasonably good looking for a man of his dubious age of fifty-something or because he tends to walk around without a shirt in the summers, showing off a good set of pectoral muscles and chiseled abs. And not because he’s still got plenty of dark hair on his head that he wears long, just brushing his shoulders. Nor do I lust after him because he’s got a confident walk that says he can slay all the suburban dragons and lawn slugs. He’s got a baby-smooth chest, too, that’s been played on a lot; you can tell this is true because it’s void of all hair except for a fine, dark line under his navel that points downward towards the Forest of Forbidden Fruit. That’s an old joke about no-grass-growing-on-a-playground, but what do you expect from an old woman doing the voyeur thing out her kitchen window?
No, I want this guy because he does what turns on most women of all ages. He works. He hauls stones and landscape timbers around and splits logs for his fire pit. He feeds the tomatoes and the birds, pets the neighborhood cats, and he walks back and forth behind a Toro lawn mower. And—be still my heart—he shovels snow in the winter. Almost every night in the summertime I can glance out the window and see this guy with his wheel barrow filled with sacks of bird seed or fertilizer and I get this warm fuzzy feeling like I’m looking back in time to when Don, my husband, probably gave the neighborhood ladies a thrill as he did manly things in the yard. Oh, no! I’m dating myself. Forgive me, all you female lawn service people and other women who like to compare weed killers and sprinkler heads over your back fences. I truly don’t believe in dividing hobbies and occupations up by the sexes.
We have a lawn care service. I’d like to fire the guy, but I have no real reason other than I don’t like the way he wears his wrap-around sunglasses and he treats me and Don like he wouldn’t be caught dead smiling at old people. He makes his helper do that. Mr. Too-Cool-For-Words is a long, lean bad-boy type. Late twenties, owns the company, a jerk-face who does a great job on our lawn but who needs a personality transplant. By contrast, the fifty-something neighbor smiles, waves and goes out of his way to talk to my wheelchair bound husband and he once told me to let him know if I need any help. He’s a mechanic by trade, so if I ever need my battery jumped—on the car—I have a go-to guy. He reminds me of Don before his stroke…always busy, but always friendly with a soft spot for helping his elders. Yes, what is there NOT to lust over with this guy?
I’m hoping, of course, that you all know that I use the word “lust” in a metaphorical way. I’m not really lusting after my neighbor. I just like the way that word rolls off my tongue and I use it often. I lust after peanut butter sandwiches, for example, or fresh corn on the cob at the farmer’s market. These are tiny little lusts but they still cause a breathy sigh in the pit of my stomach. Nah, no way is there a self-destructive drive for pleasure that is out of proportion to its worth in this household….unless maybe we’re talking about the chocolate brownies. Lust (as in one of the Seven Deadly Sins, a sin against the virtue of self control) is just a pleasant memory at this point in my life. Few of us get to be over six decades old without clicking those deadly sins off on our fingers and saying, “Got that one under control,” or “I still need to work on this one.” You can’t study the likes of Dante and St Thomas Aquinas without picking up a pointer or two about controlling genuine pleasures for maximum effectiveness without damaging your soul in the doing. Lust, so say the purists, will kill the soul by suffocation.
So, all you wanna-be good people of earth, tuck your desire for power, sex, money and personal glorification into one of those automated pet feeders that will dispense your lust back out a little at a time. Do it and someday in your old age you, too, will be able to look across your back yard and say, “that guy or gal has a nice ass,” then smile with contentment and go back to your typing. ©