My daughter has just discovered my crush on George Clooney. (I haven't broken to her the news that I could add to the list Edward Burns, Clive Owen – or that I'd even go cougar for Rob Pattinson. I don’t want her to think I’m loose.) I don’t know how it even came up - it might've been those posters I hung in the laundry - but it’s opened a little Pandora’s box of discovery about the different kinds of love.
'Does dad know about this?!?' was her first question. It seems to be incomprehensible to a six-year old mind that one can simultaneously be married and have a crush on someone else. 'I need to see a picture of him!' she demanded. Not like he’s really a threat to our family unit, but okay, no worries. And who am I to deny a curious six-year-old her wish?
Needless to say, Google supplied a glut of pictures of Georgie Boy. But none of them really seemed to capture his…je ne sais quoi, whatever it is he has. Eva was not impressed.
Eva: 'Him?! That's who you have a crush on?! He’s not that handsome.' Maybe she was picturing someone closer to the likes of the Bieber. Ugh.
Me: 'He's too old for you,' I find myself surprisingly defensive. I've never had anyone challenge me on this one before. 'Besides, part of his appeal is that he’s got charisma.'
Eva: 'What’s charisma?'
Me: ‘Well…it’s hard to explain, it’s like a combination of things. He’s funny and can talk to people easily and people say that when he talks to you, it’s like you’re the only person in the room…He’s charming.’
Eva: ‘Oh! I get it!’ Lightbulb goes on, excitement building now. ‘You mean when you talk to him, he really listens!’
Exactly. What a bare-bones definition of charming. And really, isn’t that what all women want? To be listened to? It’s a more basic part of our DNA than shoes or maybe even sex. Sure, it would be even better if the listener came in a package as nice as George’s, but that would be purely a bonus. I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had with my husband that entailed me saying something along the lines of, but not all at once, ‘Can you please just hear me out? Is it my turn to talk? Can I just finish what I’m saying?’ (In other words, please shut the f*ck up, I’m not done yet.)
Charming doesn’t mean Prince Charming or George Clooney – it just means we want some one to listen to us, dammit. Why is it that a six-year-old can get that and most men don’t? One for the ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ category.
And if you’ve ever wondered what makes someone charismatic, this for further reading: