How to capture a woman (with or without a butterfly net)

Telluride Daily Planet Sunday, August 5, 2012

First of all forget everything you thought you knew about women.

When you and your friend were talking in a bar last night, and you told him you that you were sick of trying to figure women out and that if they couldn’t like you for exactly who you were, including how you dress and how your hair is cut, it wasn’t worth it because those things weren’t about to change — remember what he said, beer in hand (which I’m sure you’re trying to forget)?

“Dude, just stop trying to figure them out.”

And that bugged you because some guys, including him, seem to have figured them out. And beer-logic dictates that if one man can figure out women, any man can. Hahaha! Put the beer down. Have some strong coffee and wash your face.

I agree with the part about not trying so hard to figure them out, though.  Because, for one thing, you’d just be using residual beer-logic, which is like trying to fill in a crossword puzzle with pieces of fruit or spit or something.  Beginner mind: critical element.

To catch a woman, you have to watch and listen because it’s just like catching anything else, right? Pretend you’re a hunter — that shouldn’t be so hard. You are stalking the wildest, most ephemeral thing in the metaphorest, so begin by being still — very, very still — whether you’re actually in a neighborhood coffee shop, in the quinoa section of a supermarket, or on Piazza San Marco in Venezia.

When your prey – using man-language here – appears, remember this one thing: it’s not 7th grade anymore, it’s adulthood. What is adulthood? It’s lots of things.  It’s a desert island; it’s the pavement meeting the soles of your shoes; it’s a blooming field of thistle, a swimming pool, an elevator.  It’s the sunrise.  What is it not? It’s not 7th grade and your obsession with Mindy Jameson, whose own obsession, unfortunately, was with Adam Kelner. It’s not how you recently Googled her and decided, in closure, that she really hadn’t “amounted to that much.”

Reality is not then or anything to do with then: it is now. It is not your wounded 7th grade heart. It is your heart beating fresh, deep-red, oxygenated blood, sometimes many more times than once a second. Blood made of about 82 percent water, which is the same pure and mysterious substance that spills down rocky waterfalls and into rivers that change every second whether they are gushing or wending. So. Anyway.

There she is, flapping her beautiful-to-you wings. Don’t even think about moving. Not before you’ve cataloged a few hundred details, things you can later build on and use for 1. Conversation 2. Compliments 3. Understanding 4. Your own pleasure, as you roll them around in your rock-polisher man-mind.  Nothing wrong with polishing rocks.  In fact, whoever said “Dumber than a box of rocks” did not have a clue. Calling a rock dumb is like calling a tangerine annoying. I hold that our gems of thought are more like polished rocks than gems: simple truths we cradle for their smooth weight.

Okay, now get out of the crouch position and stand up slowly, take a step and then another step, and get closer. Breathing deeply, start walking, deliberately, as if you are as much a natural part of the Piazza as any of the pigeons are. Get as close as you can, remembering all the things you should remember from the thousands of past lives you’ve had with women you’ve loved, some more successfully than others. Which is impossible, but you can ruminate on the possibility of having been smarter once upon a time, can’t you? Make your approach. Do your magic, whatever it is, whatever mojo is yours and yours alone. If you don’t know, ask someone who loves you.

It may be a conquest. You may succeed. But here’s the rock-like nugget to polish in your tumbler-brain: every day is a hunt, is a conquest. Are you ready for that? Because that’s how you catch a woman. Every day. Same steps. That’s what your friend knows, as he stands at the bar, beer in hand.

Instructions are the same with the butterfly net. You may look silly, but you will never forget for one minute, stick and mesh in hand, how difficult something as simple as catching butterflies can be.

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