The Tall Ships have arrived in our city, meaning beautiful sailing vessels from all over the world have docked in Boston harbor so people can stare at sexy sailors. Oh, isn’t that the point? Tall Ships is supposed to be a trans-Atlantic race in which participants drop anchor in ports along the route. Ideally, tourists will explore the boats and learn about maritime history. But all I hear people talking about is how studly the sailors are.
My girlfriend Liz wanted to meet a sailor this weekend. She’s one of those gals who says she “just wants someone to take care of” her. And she’s always loved a man in uniform. But when I imagine a man in “uniform,” I usually think paper hat and nametag. Plus, I’m a big ol’ pacifist. Though my heart holds tight to those in the armed services, military men aren’t really my thing romance-wise. I prefer brooding, artsy, tortured manliness over clean-cut, hard-hitting manliness. Moody artists rarely tuck in their shirts much less wear uniforms.
So perhaps I wasn’t the best person to come along on Liz’s quest. When she and I headed downtown in search of a Top Gun for her to take home, I considered myself above it all. I like men for the complexity of their minds, the weight of their hearts, the sound of their marvelously bruised souls crying out. Indeed, I was only there to check out the ships.
Then I saw some sailors. And all I can say is…damn.
The square jaws. The sun-kissed noses. The hard bodies lined perfectly within those crisp uniforms. The way the guys call you “miss” and act all wholesome when you know they’re buzzing with more hormones than a rutting pit bull in a cage. Along with the navy men, there were professional sailors, those pirate-y wanderers of the sea, those mavericks of the ocean with wild manes of hair and deep lines around their eyes. They wink and reduce you to a puddle.
I’ve never seen women act more girlishly smitten, more flirtatious and just plain ridiculous than the ladies at Tall Ships. Forget rock stars and billionaires. If you’re a man and want lots of action, totally become a sailor.
True, these men do have an aura of confidence, bravery and strength guys without a uniform must have to work much harder to project. And yeah, they’re darn hot. But why? Is it the whole “females choose mates who will provide robust genes and defend her and her offspring” thing? Does the desire to be safe and protected which alpha men stir touch the most primal, most erotic, and maybe even weakest part of the feminine psyche?
I guess I’m one of those women who hasn’t wanted to admit how titillating it is to have some brawn around. But I do like a man who towers over me, I like a deep voice and hair on the chest. If he scooped me up in his arms like Richard Gere did Debra Winger in An Officer and a Gentleman, I’d definitely go knock-kneed. If he placed himself in front of an oncoming car headed straight for me, I’d probably be his forever.
However, I seek another kind of courage. A man who goes boldly into life, beating down enemies to his soul’s evolution, slaying inner demons and the dragons of fear, risking his ego to manifest who he really is, then dropping his defenses when life calls for loving. And a man who can love a woman for her own strength, this is my knight in shining armor. Of course, there are men in uniform who possess this kind of courage. But really, he could wear a potato sack for all I care.
Ultimately, Liz didn’t find her Hercules in battledress and was forced to return to the world of mortal men. Though she regretted having to give up the fantasy, she knew the uniform was only a symbol. What she really wanted was a man to protect her dear, little heart, and allow her to do the same in return. Living is hard. Only loving each other keeps us safe.
Too bad they don’t give medals for that.