As Kierkegaard once wrote, ”What do women want?” Well, Cordelia Ashcroft knew what she wanted: She wanted Tyler Jefferson Harrison III, and she wanted him with a passion known only to women who have drunk of the cup of life and have found the wine to be intoxicating yet insouciant. She wanted Tyler for his piercing intellect, which could appreciate the poetry of Swinburne, the psychological intricacies of Freud, and the brilliance of her own insights, such as those she had included in her never-completed master’s thesis, ”Kitty Cats in the Parlor: The Sonnets of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.” She wanted him for his manly good looks, which made her womanly insides glow with incandescent pleasure, like a night-light left on in the hallway so a little child can find her way to make wee-wee in the middle of the dark, spooky night.
Cordelia wanted Tyler deeply, fully, incessantly. But, alas, Tyler — like all men she had ever known, harbored a coarse and brutish streak that rendered him incapable of resisting the cheap charms of any common tramp of a woman who called herself ”Kiki” — well, Tyler had recently informed Cordelia that he would be busy for the next four months brokering a deal to supply the former Soviet Union with high-grade athletic socks.
And in the interim Chick ”Hoops” Bodett was phoning her up every night, pestering Cordelia with his unwanted, ungentlemanly attentions, inviting her out on unsavory dates. In fact, just last week he’d had the nerve to phone her on a Saturday night — a Saturday! — with some new, cretinoid invitation.
”Wanna go Achy-Breaky dancing?” he piped up, just as she settled in for a quiet evening with a glass of crisp, fruity California Riesling and chapter two of Women Who Run With the Wolves.
”Oh, Chick,” she had to dissemble, ”that’s really sweet of you. But I just gave away my rhinestone-studded, stone-washed jeans with the ankle zippers and heart-shaped back pockets to Goodwill, and I’m afraid I don’t have a thing to wear.”
Men! She humphed to herself, shaking her blond, pre-Raphaelite hair as she hung up the receiver and turned on her answering machine. Have they no… couth?