The Lament of a
by Walter Bowne
I was under no
illusions that my wife married me for my looks
and my body. When pressed, she claimed, it was
also for my laugh, but that was mere courtesy.
Did it matter that I was also read Cicero and
erudition didnt turn her on like my finely
carved donk and chiseled physique.
beginning, some twenty years ago, I was mere eye
candy, an object of pleasure. If it made my wife
happy to instruct me, while merely walking across
the room for a glass of water, to re-enter the
room, this time, in a tight white T-shirt and
tight red boxers, I complied with pride.
A happy wife
is a happy husband, right?
Then one night,
as an impulse, I surprised her in book boxers, a
fine, comfy cotton blend. I had hoped to fuse two
passions into one: books and sex. But she didnt
want to think Tolstoy while seducing me.
selected a delicate piece, black silk, cut short
in the back and tight in the front. I felt so
exposed in those, but what could I say? As
Shakespeare says, Being your slave, what
should I do but tend upon the hours and times of
It did not
embarrass me, then, in the slightest when she
said my booty could have been carved by
Michelangelo. She paraded me before friends at
block parties and church functions to show off
her prize. She dressed me in bowties
for after work socials and for family gatherings
leisure attire from Brooks Brothers. I knew how
to play the part. I was the spotlight, my wife
the one on stage. I knew my function. I knew my
role. A spotlight, after all, may dream of
reversing the roles, but for twenty years, I must
say, I had been mostly happy shining the light as
her trophy husband: a great looking guy, witty on
command, well dressed and well-coiffed.
But did anyone
ask about my opinion on Hamiltons
Federalists Papers? Or my latest insight into the
The Middle East debacle? Or comment on the latest
Sure, I made
the other ladies of the neighborhood teas and
book clubs and charity benes salivate in jealousy.
However, if I seemed too friendly or too engaged
with another woman, my wife would come up from
behind, kiss my neck, grab me from behind, and
say, Isnt he just marvelous?
A stud can
make any woman appear like a runway model.
learned that a stud possessed has no control.
Shopping on my own was verboten, especially after
the travesty with the book boxers. Fitted shirts
are not my style, but thats what she wanted.
So I had to stay so toned!
Planks at the
local gym. One hundred push-ups in the morning.
Every afternoon, I Stair-Mastered my way up an
Eiffel Tower. She enrolled me in Pop Physique -
the regimen of porn stars for fitness. Really?
Did I want this? Didnt I have better things
to do with my time, like translate Goethe?
I could never
contemplate a muffin without feeling like the top
of a muffin. She would walk through Mens
Wearhouse, grab ten outfits, and I would strut
before her like a peacock proud, but pride
diminishes the soul, does it not? I must say,
however, that her tastes are exquisite, and I
have been very very very good for her career.
Anyone who could land a stud like me needs to be
doing something right. The money is no problem,
but Im forty-five now, and a mid-life
crisis has descended like some parody of Prufrock.
Ive started finding and plucking tiny gray
hairs on my chest. And Im beginning to
think shes been eyeing up the younger guys,
ones in their early thirties.
Or is it just
even trim the hair on my chest without her
complaining of depriving her of her teddy
bear man. Why cant I just be a man?
Why must I be a bear?
complained openly about the sex, but lately I dont
think I even matter. In the midst of the passion,
I vanish; I could be just some other really great
looking guy. When shes taking command or
giving commands, Im thinking, Cant
we just discuss whether Kant was correct in his
dismissal of pure reason?
too on our kids, which I havent mentioned,
because I dont think my daughters respect
me as an intelligent human being with dreams and
aspirations of his own. What type of model am I
as a father, other than an exceptionally good-looking
(I have been
told Im a cross between Ewan McGregor and
Kenneth Branagh and Liam Neeson. All British, yes,
but alas, Im solidly from South Jersey.)
No longer do I
want to be a mere plaything, an indestructible
chew toy. After all, does a hunk of man meat even
have a brain?
But I do have
a brain, and I also have eyes, and, like Ive
said, Ive been noticing her looking at
younger males, especially at the gym and at
Starbucks and at Target. Guys in their twenties
have it easy. God, how I envy their youth! I knew
I had to keep up my healthy regimen of high fiber
(what I used to call roughage) and beta carotene
and tummy crunches whenever an available moment
arises, like waiting for the tea to boil for my
green tea expulsion. With gravity, its so
much harder now to keep toned and ravishing. The
pressures are enormous, yes, but does anyone care?
That trophy on the mantle, after all, without
polishing, will rust. A mans bloom is
Keats who said, The flower that smiles
today tomorrow will be dying?
what I feel like now, dying in a finely furnished
prison. I want to express my feelings. Im
tired of being a kept-man. There is more to life,
I would imagine, than playing golf, racquetball
at the club, and long drives up the coast in my
convertible. There has to be more to life than
this pleasure obsession, with the madness of
staying fit and young and sexy.
Oh, there must
be more than all of that, even if the dish is
fine porcelain. Life is more than a delectable
dish of glistening cherries.