(originally published on February 7, 2011)
American boys have nice eyes. And eyelashes that go on for miles. They wear baggy jeans, Timberland boots, baseball caps and hoodies. Sometimes all at once. They drive pick-ups, Yukons and Escalades and their dogs like to stick their heads through an open window, tongues and ears flapping in the breeze.
Some of them are more open about approaching women, some less. But they are respectful. They are outdoorsy and athletic and active. And they like to drink, too. They say hi when you smile, and smile when you say hi. Some are quite shy, and not in a childish way. Some have drawls, some twangs to their speech. They don’t put up a front.
Those raggedy jeans take away from their exterior and make it more compelling to look into their eyes: I have pierced through to find more kind hearts than I had expected. They work hard, and don’t slack off. Cab drivers, bartenders, professors, athletes, dog trainers, bank managers, college students, repairmen. They are not defined by their jobs. They beat addiction with will power.
They put themselves through college. They pick up their kids from school and get groceries for their wives. They cook and know how to use the laundry machine. They set up businesses, and if they fail, they dust themselves off and try again. They go for waffles after church on Sunday. They dream of moving out of rural PA, but not before their kids are grown up and ready to face the world as children of a broken home.
They don’t get any sympathy when their relationships and marriages break up. They deal with their pain on their own. Some face alcohol, some depression, some rebound. But they don’t make a spectacle of it. It is what it is. Their children are wiser than their years, and their ex-wives keep their names after divorcing them. They are independent, averse to melancholy, and used to picking up the pieces of their broken hearts.