She’s b-a-a-a-c-k …
Once again, please welcome one of my favorite writers — fellow Write Stuff artist Mary DiVincenzo. This essay is one of my favorites of her works. Knights in shining armour don’t always charge in on their white steeds, but they’re still out there.
From time to time, another woman will have an obvious crush on your man. I first noticed this when I was in the 7th grade. We were Presbyterian and a new minister had recently taken charge of our church. I couldn’t really tell you if he was handsome or not because to me he was an old man – late 30’s or 40’s. He had a wife and kids. His wife was always polite but never looked happy. I would watch her watching him. He was often surrounded by women wanting his attention. Some simply had to speak to him and get his immediate attention. Others seemed to need his attention but in a different way. I didn’t understand all of this until years later when I was a mature adult of 20 or 21.
At the time I was living with my boyfriend, shocking I know. Brad was a year older than me, a blue-eyed blond with a mane of hair down to the middle of his back, gorgeous face, chiseled cheekbones. Frankly, he was prettier than me. He attracted lots of attention but wasn’t much of a flirt. That was my department.
This was in the early 1980’s so all I will say is that there was quite a bit of traffic in and out of our condo. As the proverbial WASP from the suburbs, I was meeting people from all walks of life and states of let’s just say consciousness. Brad’s family was pretty screwed up. He was adopted but his parents got divorced. His mom was a wonderful Filipino woman with a heart of gold and his stepdad – although Brad claims they weren’t married- was an asshole. I did meet his dad once. More about them some other time.
I worked full-time and went to college. Brad worked sometimes and played guitar but had hurt his left wrist in a motorcycle accident so would manage the bands instead of playing in them. Translation – he had little or no money and was home more than I was so he did most of the cleaning and some of the cooking. Thankfully, his mom had raised one feminist son.
Brad and I went to clubs, bars, and many Hollywood hangouts mostly to watch whatever band he was “managing” and a lot of up and coming musicians as well. Being with the band brought its own special kind of attention. Girls threw themselves at the band members. Most of the time the guys with girlfriends were faithful because they were the ones paying all the bills. One of my favorite jokes at the time was: “What do you call a musician without a girlfriend? Homeless.”
Ok back to the story, friends came and went, fans came and went. Brad, as the manager, did not attract as much attention as the other guys until we met Dori. I am not even sure Dori was 18 when we first met her. She worked as a waitress at the House of Pancakes, had a loser boyfriend who treated her like shit, and as soon as she met my boyfriend, the obvious crush was on. And she wanted to be my friend too! Almost every time she came over to our condo she had on the same tank top. At the time the custom t-shirt was all the rage, you could have anything ironed on to a shirt. Dori was a petite curvy little blond and her tank top was light blue and it said “Dori”, capital D over one boob, the lower case “o” and “r” with the “i” over the other boob, I will let you guess where she dotted it. Her self-esteem was so low, I guess she thought we might forget her name.
Wherever we were, our condo, the IHOP, various bars or clubs, if Dori was there she was making it her mission to be next to Brad. She was so cute, very nervous, she could barely speak at times. The loser boyfriend was never far behind but too stupid to realize she had a crush on Brad. I talked to her about the boyfriend many times but she was convinced they were “meant to be”. My words about the way he treated her fell on deaf ears.
The last time we saw them they were at our condo for dinner. We had a dining room table but usually ate sitting around the coffee table. Our kitchen was really small and we had one of those portable dishwashers that you rolled over to the sink and hooked it up with a hose. Brad had done the dishes and was hooking up the dishwasher. We were having what seemed to be a pleasant conversation when all of a sudden the loser boyfriend starts talking to Brad about why he was doing the dishes and his various worldly opinions about it. Brad explained that I both worked and went to college and he had more free time. Loser boyfriend explained that that was women’s work and that he had a dishwasher at his place and its name was Dori. Before I could even open my mouth to let this guy have it, Brad had rounded the corner of the kitchen counter and was in his face ripping him a new one. I no longer remember all the words he said-I do know that “respect” and “fucking idiot” were used several times, but I will never forget the look on Dori’s face. Perhaps for the first time in her life, a man had stood up for her, took her side, told another guy off on her behalf. She was scared and beaming at the same time. Brad was my boyfriend – and of course had numerous flaws – but in that moment I was extremely proud of him. In that moment he was Dori’s knight in shining armor.
I don’t know what happened to Dori. I like to think that she left that loser boyfriend and after getting a glimmer of the way a woman could be and should be treated found a true gentleman. I also like to think back on the minister’s wife and hope that at times of crisis she allowed him to be another deserving woman’s knight in shining armor.
Thanks much, Mary!