The charms of the passing woman are generally in direct proportion to the swiftness of her passing. Marcel Proust (1871–1922)
With that in mind it becomes a whole lot easier to understand how a married man can be infatuated with an ephemeral woman. Only the passage of time can teach us such an adept craft. The purpose of a seemingly longing gaze is not necessarily the promise of consummation or hollow flirting. It’s something endlessly beyond. Such a man would not be seeking a clandestine affair, nor driven by foolish vanity or the illusion of resurrecting his slipping youth. The capacity to appreciate beauty in its abstract sense separates a gentleman from a womanizer. It’s basically the difference between an art aficionado and a tourist standing in front of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, each looking at the painting from the exact vantage point for dissimilar reasons with consequences world apart.
What allure does a passing woman have over the mind of a happily married man to make him stop in the middle of his track and silently emits a bewitched gasp. With or without a drop of the jaw, there are certain women out there who have this satiable effect on men. Who is she that can affect me so?
First, I’m not any smarter than Marcel Proust and accordingly she should walk in then out of my life rather swiftly. If she stays any longer than the essential period required to feel her under my skin and I’m still rapt, then I’d better admit that I’m a tourist after all. It could be that we are in for a long evening in a public place. I’d be looking in glances spread over time, barely long enough to rekindle the feeling of wonder and magic.
She must be seductively chaste. After all “there is no aphrodisiac like innocence.”* A woman who realizes that she’s exceptionally attractive but doesn’t work at all toward that end is a femme fatale. Many women are sexy at the nightclub level but a few are endowed with a perceptually sensual aura. Such a woman brings warmth to the heart of men while holding hands with a husband or companion and displaying a clear signal to all that she is already beyond reach. Yet, she emanates the splendor of being feminine beyond words. To be overly conscious and meticulous about her gift is the unfortunate gaffe committed by scores of beautiful women. It’s the difference between a natural jewel of unimaginable perfection shining in the deep of a dark blue ocean and a cut stone on a ring flaunted on an elegantly manicured hand.
A woman with an inexplicably mysterious smile often graces the dream of a man. A poet would dare elaborate on such a smile and I’m afraid that whatever I may say further would only distract from its exquisiteness. A smile which conveys an appreciation for life yet betrays a sense of a dormant sadness that is utterly private. The lips alone cannot convey a smile without a twinkling glow in the eyes. They could be the color of the sky, of virgin forests or akin to the dark of night. They are unimaginably clear, unfathomably deep, holding untold fables from a thousand and one nights.
And finally, I want this woman to acknowledge that I have taken her within my inner sight. I wouldn’t regard it as an invitation if she accepts my enthrallment through a gesture of the hand, a blink of the eye, or a caress on a loose hair strand. She could nonchalantly and without a spoken word say thank you for appreciating me and for being chivalrous enough to keep the flame well within the bounds of good manners yet to make me feel silently and pithily desired.
* "there is no aphrodisiac like innocence" quote by Jean Baudrillard (b. 1929)