-“Doctor…After so many years, my husband still doesn’t open up to me.”
One of the commonest concerns of ladies in steady relationships is the one expressed by Jane X. in my office a while ago. Their partners do not show the same willingness to share their innermost feelings as they are with their bodies in the bedroom’s intimacy. And they have emotional frustration.
It is far more difficult for men, especially of mature age, to confide their most intimate secrets, fears, desires as they had been often reared with the silly motto that “men don’t cry” or that “men must toughen up at all times.” Well, we all know that men do cry and it has nothing to do with our sense of manhood as there are many circumstances in life that alter our equilibrium.
For many years I’ve been pondering whether the fabled “secret trigger” that makes males forfeit their usual defensiveness and open their hearts to a particular person exist as a constitutional feature. I know I have one. But do men of all stripes and backgrounds possess such a hidden emotional lever?
Wandering the magical streets of Venice I had the sudden inspiration to write a scene of my novel where two characters inebriated with love find it. If science cannot yet confirm our assumption of its existence, the women’s sentimentality and writers’ imagination can start to shape it in our minds.
“Chiara and Saul arrived at the ‘Ponte della Donna Onesta’, a small bridge that spans the ‘Rio della Frescada’, uniting Dorsoduro with San Polo. A legend affirms that a cutler lived with his beautiful wife nearby; a young patrician ordered a knife so he could get close to her. When the artisan was absent, he raped her. Full of shame, she took her own life with the same tool.
As they were crossing it, Chiara suddenly stopped and turned around.
-“Tell me…Can a woman love a man so much as to die for him?”
-“Hu-huh…Don’t really know…It could have been more plausible in other times when women were less empowered—much more dependent on men.“
-“What do finances have to do with a woman’s feelings?”
-“ C’mon, Chiara…. I’m not the right one to answer that—”
-“What? Can’t you appreciate the devotion of a woman in love?”
Saul averted his eyes, watching the slowly moving brackish watercourse.
-“Forget it,” Chiara said, tearing a piece of krapfen. “Open your mouth—“
Caressing his face, she gently placed the morsel inside. He closed his eyes.
A Swann moment paralyzed the neural networks of his sensory grid.
Saul is tightly holding his mother Rebecca’s hand, shopping together for groceries in the Venetian quarter, right after the Sabbath ended. After they left the bakery, she pauses. “Wait, dear… Have a bite.”
She takes a crisp pastry out of the bag and gives it to her eager son. No futile words or judgements. Only categorical motherly affection. Opening his eyes, Saul grabs Chiara by her waist and kisses her.
Chiara, the bookish spinster with little life experience, finds what his late wife did not in their twenty years of marriage: his secret trigger.
Nature’s sentimental ruse that forever attaches a man to a woman.”
What do you think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.