Panache is a word of French origin that carries the connotation of a flamboyant manner and reckless courage. The literal meaning of the word is a plume, such as is worn on a hat or a helmet.
The epitome of panache and the reason for its establishment as a virtue, is Rostand's depiction of Cyrano de Bergerac. (Prior to Rostand, panache was not necessarily a good thing, and was seen by some as a suspect quality).
Cyrano's last words " ... yet there is something still that will always be mine, and when I go to God's presence, there I'll doff it and sweep the heavenly pavement with a gesture — something I'll take unstained out of this world ... my panache ".
When I first became single, after 18 years of marriage, I knew I was going to find myself in a game that may or may not be fun for me. I had always had plenty of male attention, so it wasn’t like I thought I was going to have to go out and find the men. I can’t tell you the number of men over the years (namely, my spouse’s friends) who said to me, “What are you doing with this bum? I’d treat you so much better.” And I would invariably reply, “Really? Are you so sure you wouldn’t be exactly the same after 2 or 5 or ten years of marriage?” Part of the reason I stayed married so long was because I was convinced that all men would be the same. Once you married them. Of course I knew this was not true. I have known a number of wonderful husbands.
So back to singlehood. It became very quickly clear to me that I could choose any kind of man I wanted. For whatever reason I wanted. And I liked this idea.
It also became very quickly clear to me that men, in general, are pretty sucky at knowing how to woo a woman. For instance, a man would say he would call. And then he wouldn’t. It didn’t take long for me to recall that rush of a feeling when you are excited about a man calling you, and then the desperate lonely realization that he ain’t callin. These were in the days when I had no cell phone. The last thing in the world I was going to do was sit by a LANDLINE and wait for a call that may or may not come. Nosireebob! So, when a man asked for my number and said he was going to call at such-and-such a time on such-and-such a day, I would say, “Okay, I will give you a 15 minute window. If you don’t call by then, it’s so long dearie!” Always a woeful plaint would utter from said potential suitor at this news. “But…. But…… buttttttttttttttttt….??!!” I said, “No buts (and no butts either) I happen to firmly believe that if a man doesn’t call, it’s because he just didn’t want to. I will take it to mean that. Plain and simple.” (Rita Rudner taught me that.) Again, said suitor would ply me with the “buts.” Talk to the hand.
Silly rabbits. Didn’t they know that trix are for kids?
So here are a couple of stories about how this trouble with wooing would play out. Both of these stories involve online encounters. Men would often “find” me on Yahoo Messenger. They would contact me from places one to two hours away. Then they would say something like, “Let’s meet halfway.” I’d say, “No thanks. I don’t go to men. They come to me.” They’d likely move on. I have no interest in a man who can’t even drive to meet me. If he has trouble with that, then he has BIG trouble with the idea of maintaining a relationship with a woman. That’s a freakin’ easy test. So this one man was much like many others, but I will tell his story just the same. 'Cause he’s so special. :)
The man wanted me to meet him halfway. I said no. He pressed me to explain how that was reasonable. I told him I had no intention of being reasonable. If he wants reasonable, look elsewhere.
He said he really liked me and thought we would hit it off. He was just looking for a friend with benefits. No expectations, no commitments.
I said, “Well get in line, motherfucker. You do realize that I have a number of applicants for that job. And you are waaaaaaaaaay at the back of the line.”
He then asked how he could move up to the front of the line.
I said, “What do you have to offer that makes you exceptional, standing above all the rest?”
He said, "~ insert idiotic and lewd statement here ~"
I said, “Nope. Sorry. Back of the line.”
He said, “I’ve never been one for standing in line.”
I said, “Then why start now.”
The end. (Whew! It took way to long to shake that one off, in my opinion. Which you know to be so very humble.)
Another man contacted me and we liked one another quite a bit. We chatted a lot. About everything you can think of. He lived a mere 15-20 minutes away from me. We talked about meeting from time to time, but it just never happened. He was intelligent, entertaining, sexy… you name it. He had it. Well one day, he said he had nothing to do. Not a thing on his schedule. He suggested maybe meeting for lunch or dinner. I said, “That sounds cool.” He said, “Well, let me think which would work better.” I said, “You think about it. You have 30 minutes to decide what time you want to meet and where. After 30 minutes, whatever you decide you have to stick to, or you will never get another chance.” (Incidentally, he could also choose not to meet at this point and not shoot himself in the foot. The guy was just given ALL The cards.) He laughed. (LOL) He decided on a place (near me, of course ~ he knew the rules) and a time. It was to be dinner. Six o’clock. This was around one. Around five, he buzzed my messenger again (and no, it wasn’t the good kind of buzz). He sort of yawningly said he had taken a nap and now feels all lazy. Thought maybe he’d beg off the dinner and do some laundry instead. Laundry?! Are you fucking kidding me? As if laundry were something to “do.” Laundry is something to be done in between the things you “DO.” Anyway, I said, “Sure, that’s fine.” A little later, he messaged me again and wanted to make plans to meet some other day. I said, “Nope. No chance.” He was stunned. He said, “Are you serious? Because of that, I can never, ever, ever, ever meet you? Ever?” I said, “You got it, babe.” And so… we never did. But we still chat from time to time. And he’s still an intelligent, entertaining, sexy and cool cat.
Panache Galore (her real name)