Do you remember that 1971 song by Tom Jones, called She’s a Lady? Click here to refresh your memory. Anyway, he sings of this wonderful woman, who’s got “style” and “grace” and always “knows her place” (which is presumably right beside him). He says, “she’s a winner and she knows just what to do and how to please [him],” and he’s so proud of the fact that, as he puts it, she’s his.
In school back then, I had big crushes on several teachers. So I imagined going out on dates with them. I loved fantasizing about the teachers as that song played on the radio. Each time it aired, I refined these crude visions, and eventually they came to define what my dream girl means to me, who she is, and what she’s like. Through this and more that year, my dream girl was born. I wanted Her to be mine too, and yearned for the day that she would be, just as little girls dream over and plan their weddings,
This is when my love quest began in earnest, for it was sometime during 1971 that I met Her for the first time. Tom Jones’ words taught me a lot about Her too. Like in the song, She is someone graceful, who has poise, and whose quiet sophistication screams smarts and intelligence. But also, She is humble; never, ever believing that She’s God’s gift to men, though She is in fact just that. In 1971, I began longing for Her, and arranging my life so that someday, she’d come and and want to stay forever in the warm spot in my heart that I had been preparing for Her.
Through the years, She’s appeared in movies, on billboards, and in our living room as babysitters or as some of Mom’s friends. I’ve heard Her talked about in other songs and books, saw other men walking with Her, and noticed how grateful they were to have found Her. I wanted that satisfaction too. Even at ten years of age, I needed that brass ring of love; otherwise, I’d never be as happy as I could be. So, I looked for Her. The quest became my life’s primary mission.
The trail of the love quest lead me through Pittsburgh, Dayton, Las Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia, New York, Vinalhaven, and Altoona. I’ve sought Her in bars, dance halls, field trips, hikes, bus stops, and at numerous malls around the country. I’ve observed Her through beer goggles, as well as with a clear head. I’ve dated many too, but only found Her in a few of those women. I’ve written at length about Her and told my friends everything I could think to say about who I think She is. I’ve thought about Her too, for thousands of hours by now. I’m sure I’ve rehearsed meeting Her in my mind over ten thousand times, since first imagining Her in fifth grade. Sometimes, I thought I had met Her for real when in fact, I had not. At others, I had Her in the flesh, but due to difficult circumstances, could not keep Her. These experiences taught me where to look and what to look for. She’s visited my dreams, oh so many times. I’ve held Her hand, savored Her words, and watched Her smiling at me for days. In this way, I’ve come to know my dream girl quite well; much as you’d know a close friend after forty years of togetherness; a friend that you’ve spent hours with every day. In fact, I know my dream girl better than any best friend, because I’ve spent more time with Her than anyone else. She and I go way back.
We learn to recognize dear friends and fantasies, instantly, don’t we? No matter what they’re wearing or how they’re acting, no matter how old-looking they get or how much they change, we still know them immediately. The years do not blur our vision. Usually, we’d know them anywhere; day or night, winter or summer. The more time spent with them, the more deeply we know them, and the quicker we recognize them. I instantly recognize my dream girl because I know her so well, and for nearly forty years too. I’ve talked with Her every day, and loved Her all of that time as well; I love Her, even when I have yet to meet Her. She’s the one stranger that I know and love more than any best friend, including you [Mentat].
So when I first see Her in real life, I know Her immediately, as though I’ve seen Her five thousand times before. I watch how She walks and listen to Her voice and Her words. I smell Her and feel Her, and I look for compassion. Unless She’s a convicted felon or mean-spirited, I care not what’s in Her history because I already love Her. A deep love such as this, can survive most any skeleton she might pull from her closet later, so long as she loves me too. When She smiles, I melt immediately. That’s how I instantly recognize Her. Meeting Her in the flesh feels like we’ve known each other for decades. Ironically, this is true in a sense because I have known Her for decades; even though we’ve just met. I fall for Her so quickly when we meet, because I already love Her before we meet. This love therefore, doesn’t just happen at first sight. In fact, it occurs way before that initial glimpse.
Perhaps this is the true essence of Love At First Sight (LAFS). It’s more than simply falling in love with someone we’ve just met. Rather, we discover at that instant, that we’ve loved them all along; that we’ve loved them long before ever meeting them in reality. So calling this phenomenon Love At First Sight is a bit misleading. Don’t you think? We might more accurately dub it Knowing At First Sight (KAFS). If you think about it, dream girls are not strangers, because of how long we’ve known them, and how deeply we’ve loved them. LAFS does not mean falling in love with a stranger about whom we’re clueless. Rather, it’s instantly recognizing a stranger as someone who is not a stranger; someone that we already love quite deeply, and know very well.
I immediately recognized [Linda] upon meeting her, as the lady Tom Jones was singing about in 1971. [Linda] is a dream girl, hands down. So, yes, I love her. I have loved her for four decades. This is as certain as two and two equaling four. But the challenge is, how to convince [Linda] that this love is for real. The problem is that I know Her so well, without really knowing [Linda] at all. Perhaps knowing [Linda] better will provide some good answers. Will she allow me to know her? I do pray so. Stay tuned.