Tuesday, May 22, 2007

After the VH1 Debacle, He Gives Me Hope

Once upon a time when I was in college, I met a fine, well-built, and handsome fellow. We discovered that his mother and mine taught Religious Ed together years before. They'd remained friends. He and I also became friends and shared a fondness for going out for lunch, discussing politics, and goofing on various professors.

We took a fiction writing workshop together, and I could always count on him to give me an honest (sometimes blistering) opinion on one of my characters, or their behavior (let's put it this way, they didn't believe in the double standard. I learned later that my friend hadn't been sexist; he just didn't believe that people should carry on as if life was a giant episode of Grey's Anatomy).

Our fiction workshop included a man who once served as Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper and had publicly drawn and quartered me over a piece I'd written lampooning celebrity culture. As this former editor earnestly read his latest story to our class, my friend muttered, "I can see Scatman Crothers playing that role."

This resulted in shoulder-quaking hysteria. We could not stop cackling and snorting and hooting to save our lives, which earned us sharp looks from both the editor and our esteemed professor, William S. Wilson, III (recipient of a Best American Short Stories award in 1975 and the author of Why I Don't Write Like Franz Kafka).

Since then, my friend and I have kept in touch loosely. No romance ever existed between us, and we've since married other people. Yesterday, he responded to my email wishing him a happy birthday by saying he'd recently passed the bar. Fourteen months ago, he and his wife adopted not one--or two--but three girls ranging in age from eight to 10 from Russia.

He attached photos from their baptism, which took place last month.

When women tell me that decent men don't exist, I always think of this guy. He was funny, handsome, smart, and definitely decent. If he exists, surely others like him exist, as well.


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