Monday, June 2, 2008

Venture - part 3

This is a continuation of my May 11 and May 17 posts. Susan and I were having dinner in an Indian restaurant, during which she’d been grilling me about Venture’s heroine, Lydia. I had explained that Lydia was a composite of several women. One of whom is the woman pictured below in a photograph taken when we were on location in Lydia’s hometown. She’s a witty, marathon running, MD, who shares a lot of characteristics with the fictional Lydia.

Now read on…

We finished our meal, and the waitress returned with the dessert menu. Susan patted her tummy lovingly in the same way a pregnant woman would, but I knew it meant she didn’t want to put on unnecessary pounds. Not that she need have worried. Her dress size was the same as Lindsay Lohan’s. “I’ll just have an Irish coffee,” she said.

The waitress gave her a look I interpreted as: “We’re not in Boston,” but she didn’t comment.

In deference to our surroundings, I ordered the banana fritters and an Indian beer.

“Are you okay with beer?” Susan asked when the waitress had gone.

“One beer isn’t going to affect my driving.”

“It wasn’t your driving I was concerned about. You’re not the male lead in Venture, who can drink everyone else under the table then make wild passionate love with the heroine all night.”

Wow, that hurt, even though it was true. “I thought I made him sound fairly believable.”

“You made him sound like the kind of guy women drool over. Well, this girl, anyway. That automatically makes him a totally unbelievable fantasy guy.”

“So what do women want?” I asked.

“Don’t you know?”

“I want your opinion on it. Pretend I’m researching it for my next novel.”

“Is this how you get your girlfriends to pay for their supper?”

“Yes, and the delights I’ll be serving up later.” I laughed to show her I was kidding. From my experience with Susan, the opposite was more likely to be true. She was a hell of a sexy lover.

Our orders arrived. She stirred her Irish coffee, licked the cream off the spoon, and ran her tongue across the Cupid’s bow of her upper lip. I imagined my tongue performing a similar motion but on the inside of her mouth.

To show her I was serious about soliciting her opinion, I extracted a small notebook and pen from my jacket pocket. I placed them by my right hand, which I now used for the more important task of eating the fritters.

“Well, first-up, he must have good table manners,” she said, rolling her eyes. “A girl doesn’t want the guy to embarrass her in a restaurant or in front of her parents.”

“What did I do?”

“You’re supposed to cut the fritter with your knife, not tear it apart with the fork.” Susan was good at setting me up as the straight man for her to deliver the punch-line. She had a “gotcha” expression on her face.

“Continue, madam,” I said, trying to sound exasperated.

“You realize there are two different answers? What a woman wants in real life versus what she wants in a romance novel.”

“Yes. Do the real life one first.”

“Okay, but this is going to be pretty superficial. It’s a complex question.”

“I understand,” I said, but wasn’t sure I did.

“He must have a good job and be kind and considerate. He likes chatting to me, has a sense of humour, is a handyman, and a skilful lover. Personally, I want kids, so I’ve got to imagine him as a good father. Hey, you’re not writing this down.”

“I have a good memory. Is that list in order of priority?”

She screwed up her face and narrowed her eyes, signs that I knew meant I should listen carefully. “Those ones are about equal, but ahead of them is…” She paused to sip her coffee, eyeballing me over the top of her glass.

“Is what?”

“You’re hopeless. Commitment!”

I switched the fork to my left hand and picked up the pen to write the word commitment then swiveled the notebook around so she could read what I’d written.

“Well done,” she said. “But being able to spell isn’t important.”

“And physically what must he have?” I asked, returning my attention to the banana fritters.

“His abs, gluts, and pecs must be sharply defined. My favorites are the gluts. Last night when you were face down and I was sitting on your bum massaging your back, I told you to tense your gluts didn’t I?”

“Now you mention it. Yes, you did,” I replied, delivering the straight line again.

“It’s because it’s nice for me at the same time. If you know what I mean?”

“Oh is that why you were squirming around? What about when I’m facing you?”

“Size? Men are soooo hung up on it. But I won’t divulge that secret here. There are too many people within earshot. I’ll save it for later.”

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