Saturday 03 Dec 2016

Love: a contact sport
Sjef Frenken

As we were having our lunch at Bayshore a few days ago, I noticed that Jack wasn't really paying attention to the very interesting argument I was making. His eyes were focussing somewhere behind me. I turned around to see what was drawing his attention. I should have known: two very good-looking young women were talking together, standing in line in front of Vanelli's -- the pizza place.

The two girls were looking back in our direction. Which is not surprising. Jack has a sort of Jack Nicholson twinkle in his eye. Besides, he isn't bad-looking.

It is a truism that women want a rake and a rascal for a lover, and an honest, faithful and dependable man for a husband. Well, Jack belongs to the first category. He was married once, in fact he has two children from that marriage. But fidelity is not one of his strong points.

I said: "Jack, I was talking to some people about you, and telling them that you had quite a way with women. One man wanted to know the secret of your success. I had to admit that I didn't know. I only knew that you've had loads and loads of girlfriends over the years. And now I and other 'inquiring minds' are anxious to know how you account for your success with women?"

Jack said: "Well, for one thing, I don't take the long cut."

I said: "What do you mean, 'the long cut'?

Jack said: "Tell me, how do you chase after women?"

I said: "First of all, Jack, let me set the record straight: my chasing days are a thing of the past. I've been faithful to Jennifer for the past 26 years and don't regret it one bit."

"Bully for you, Mr Two-Shoes," interjected Jack. "And just how did you put the make on Jennifer, and the others before her?"

I said "I guess I went about it the same way most men do: you get to know the lady; you take her out to a movie; next time you take her to a restaurant. You send her flowers on Valentine's Day, that kind of thing. Maybe write her a poem or two. You start doing things together, until both of you feel comfortable enough to ... well you know."

"See," said Jack, "Now that's the long cut. I take the shortcut if I want to score."

I said: "Jack you make it sound like a sports event."

"It is," said Jack, "but if you don't like "score" maybe you'd rather I used 'drill,' 'ream,' 'hammer,' 'nail,' or 'screw' instead.

I said: "Now we're at Home Hardware. Anyhow what's your shortcut?"

"If I think a woman might be a good candidate for -- call it a shortcut," said Jack, "I just go up to her and I say point blank 'Wanna fuck?"

I said: "Jesus Jack, that's a rather crude approach, isn't it?"

"It saves a lot of time and money, let me tell you," said Jack. "I get slapped in the face from time to time, and quite a few say something like 'maybe some other time, but thanks for the offer.' or something less polite. But you'd be surprised at the number who say 'Sure, what the hell, why not? It's worth the odd bloody lip."

I said: "Here I thought that you had some special line, some subtle conversational ploy, some clever patter that would get you what you were after. So that's how you do it. I must admit I'm a bit disappointed."

"Too bad," said Jack, getting up. "Well now, what do you know -- I'm still feeling a little peckish. I think I'll go get me a slice of pizza. Can you clean up? See ye next week."

Jack hurried off.

I picked up our trays with our leftovers and other detritus and dumped them into a waste bin.

As I was on my way out to the parking lot, I noticed Jack in conversation with the two girls.

I must ask him how he made out. So to speak.

(Incidentally, I don't recommend Jack's approach to anyone. In the wrong hands, and that means most men, it might well become a drain on Canada's health system.)

Sjef Frenken is a renaissance man: thinker, writer, translator and composer of much music. A main interest, he has many, is setting to music the poetry, written for children, during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Nimble of mind, Sjef is a youthful retiree and a great-grandfather. Mostly he's a content man, which facilitates his relentless multi-media creativity.

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