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“I’m a man.
“The Man’s Prayer”
There is one word in the Basic language that is more feared and hated than any other by men. It probably isn’t what you’re thinking, either.
I bet you thought I was going to say “commitment,” didn’t you?
Nah, men don’t fear commitment, or hate it. We commit to all kinds of things, like meeting up at the cantina to watch the big game, or to buying a favorite brand of ale, or showing up to work on time even if we’re hung over. We commit to spending weekends fixing our ships and hovercars, and we commit to cleaning up those take-out containers from the living room once they start to stink.
So ladies, here’s the thing: if you’re having trouble getting a serious relationship out of us, it ain’t because we’re “commitment shy.” Hell, no. It’s because you’re the wrong woman. You’re probably high maintenance and demanding, leaving your toothbrushes at our apartments and sticking doilies all over the place, which, to us, is a big hell, no!
Well, I’ve got the right woman, so things are great there. And Leia hasn’t worked the word “doily” into a conversation yet, which is good, too, but she still comes up with some pretty scary stuff sometimes. The day after I told her I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, I walked into my ‘fresher on the Falcon and it looked like an alien landscape. All those tonics and potions and everything everywhere…when the hell does she even find the time to use all that stuff?
And I found things under the sink that I don’t even want to know what they’re for…
I’ve never lived with a woman before. Never wanted to until now. Never had to worry about things like fights or the spark going out of our relationship. All I ever had to do was promise to call her and go home. Problem solved.
It’s different now.
Now I have to worry about things like she wants me to move the hyperdrive reactor core out of the shower. (Where the hell else was I supposed to put it? Did she want light speed or not?) She wants me to dress for dinner. (Dressing for dinner used to mean putting on socks). She says my picture of the akk dogs smoking and playing sabacc has to go. (I tried telling her it was Chewie’s but she didn’t buy it.) She found my porn stash and said that had to go, too. (I tried telling her that was Chewie’s, too, but that got me couched for the night).
Okay, okay. I know I’m sharing my living space with someone else now, and I need to be considerate of what I leave around in the ‘fresher, especially if I hope to get sex later. I’m a general in the combined Republic forces now, with a uniform and everything, and I know I’m going to have to wear it to state functions whether I want to or not. I can deal with not having the picture; I never really liked it, any way. It was just some tacky thing from some tourist trap resort someone left behind from a job me and Chewie did once. Come to think of it, I bet the guy’s wife “forgot” to pack it.
The porn…well, that just hurts. But I’ll get over it. And I’ll be more careful where I hide it next time.
Anyway, most of this stuff ain’t that big of a deal, and I can kind of understand where Leia’s coming from. But there’s other stuff I don’t get. Like why, when I’m just sitting there trying to watch the game at home, she has to ask me what I’m thinking.
What am I thinking?? It’s not much of a mystery, sweetheart. I’m thinking about what most guys think about: sex, food, sex, sports, sex, sleep, and sex. In that order. Sometimes combined.
Or the way women expect us to know what they think, like we’re suddenly mind readers or something now that we’re in a relationship with them. Like how I came through the door ten minutes ago and there she was, sitting on the couch, giving me the death stare.
“Hey, what’s the matter?” I asked her while I hung up my jacket, because we’d already established that she’ll kill me if I just set it down on a chair again.
“Nothing.” Why do they always say “nothing” when we can tell it’s “something”?
I already knew I was in for a rough ride. Against my better judgment, I had to ask again. “Come on, you can tell me. Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.” Why do they always say they’re “fine” when they’re not?
I tried to shrug it off. “Something sure smells good,” I said, heading for the kitchen. “I’m starved.”
“I made dinner tonight.” Something about her voice…why did I feel like I was in a lot of trouble?
“I hope there’s leftovers.”
“Where were you tonight?”
Then I knew I was in a lot of trouble. “It was sabacc night with Lando and some of the guys from Rogue Squadron, sweetheart. You know that. We do it every week.”
Leia gave me that narrow-eyed look I’d really come to hate. “You’ve obviously forgotten what else tonight is. Either that, or the boys from Rogue Squadron are just more important to you.”
What the hell was she talking about? “Sweetheart, what the hell are you talking about?”
What came next was the answer all men dread more than anything: “If you cared, you’d know.”
She was frustrating the hell out of me, but the thing about Leia is you have to hold your temper until you’re completely sure of what you’re fighting about, exactly. I did a quick mental check. It wasn’t her birthday, we haven’t been together long enough for an anniversary…I had nothing. “Leia, why don’t you just tell me what this is supposed to be about instead of making me guess?”
I wanted to laugh even though my stomach dropped to the floor. Loosely translated to Basic, do’ruchal’at is Corellian for“True Love Day.” For Leia’s purposes, it also meant “You’re A Big, Stupid Oaf, Han Solo, For Going Out With The Guys Instead Of Staying Home And Paying Attention To Me” Day. It was a day when Corellian women expected to be wined, dined, and gifted, and Corellian men learned how to live without a month’s worth of wages if they knew what was good for them. I could never figure out how even smart, sane women like Leia fell into this kind of thing.
“How did you know about that?”
She started talking through her teeth. “Because when I fell in love with a Corellian, I took the time to learn about his homeworld and traditions and customs. Apparently you can’t say the same thing for your own…or for me.” Wait, was she going to cry?
I forgot about her hurt feelings for a minute, because there was something in there that was really pissing me off. “Hold on just a minute. So you’re saying that you expect me to drop everything for a holiday that was cooked up by the Merchant’s Union just to make people spend more money—a holiday that’s a load of bantha shit—even though every time I see something I think you’ll like, I get it for you because the last thing I want is to see you do without something you want or need?”
Celebrate our…?! “Oh, I get it. I have to show you how I feel because the calendar says so.”
There was a loud slap when Leia dropped her hands to her thighs, the way she does when she’s frustrated. “I put some effort into tonight. I just would’ve appreciated the same.”
Effort? Effort? I’ve lied, cheated, and stolen for the woman sitting in front of me—for her, and for her cause—and she wants to talk about effort? I have killed for her, and I’ve damn near died for her hundreds of times over, most of them before I even liked her. And she’s done the same for me. All of that makes this stupid holiday look cheap and flimsy by comparison—like doilies. So I told her all of this, because I just didn’t know what else to say.
Then she really did start to cry. “I guess it does sound stupid and selfish when you put it that way.”
Finally I moved over to the couch to sit next to her, put my arm around her. “Nah.”
Leia gave me that skull-piercing look, the one she uses when she knows she’s being lied to.
“Well, yeah, okay…maybe just a little. But listen, I know that some of this stuff is going to be important to you, birthdays and anniversaries and stuff. I get it, I’ll try, but I’m a guy. I’m gonna screw it up sometimes. Women are better at all that stuff any way, dates and schedules and all the little details. Guys just care about what’s important.”
She looked hurt. “And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“Aw, don’t take it like that, sweetheart,” I tell her. “I’m just saying sometimes I lose track of time because I’m too busy living in the moment. Like the first time I ever made you laugh. I remember everything about that day—what you were wearing, what we were eating, all of it—but I couldn’t tell you the date.”
“You remember all of that?”
All I could think of to do is shrug. Women like that mush stuff, but you can’t be too mushy.
“I’m not even sure I remember all of that,” she admitted. “Wow.”
“Yeah,” I agreed, half expecting an elbow in my ribs. “The thing is, I don’t want you to ever feel like I don’t care just because a date slips by me or some goofy holiday comes up and I don’t send flowers. You always get them when I see some I know you’ll like.”
I thought I was getting through, but she was still fighting her nature, like she always does. She gave me a small smile. “I guess I just never realized how differently men and women can think about some things. Tell you what: in the spirit of compromise, you can keep the dog picture.”
“Can I keep the porn?” I asked hopefully.
“Absolutely not!” It wasn’t until then I saw that she’d been holding the palm-held imager all this time. I must’ve looked confused, because she explained without my asking. “But maybe we can make our own.”
Just then, I got it: her do’ruchal’at present for me. Maybe this holiday ain’t so stupid after all.
Every time I think I have Leia figured out, she surprises me. I gave her that grin she likes, the one I spent three years wearing her down with. “Now I know why you’re the galaxy’s top negotiator,” I told her. “You’ve even got me liking this compromise thing.”
Maybe men and women don’t think that differently after all. Or maybe it’s just that Leia and I don’t think that differently, at least if you don’t count stuff like scheduling and dates and planning ahead.
This living together thing isn’t going to be easy, but I can hang in there. I think.
I sure hope she charged those power cells.
I could use a sandwich.
I can’t wait to watch this later. I hope she doesn’t get shy all of a sudden.
Can’t forget to get the smashball scores.
Are those thigh high stockings she’s wearing?
I have a feeling we’re going to be sleeping in tomorrow…