Not All Margarines Are the Same

As you may guess, the title sentence isn’t mine. It’s been playing on the TV over and over again, so it’s not a surprise that last Wednesday I woke up to the emphatic margarine sentence ringing inside my head. I had had a very traumatizing Tuesday, from the moment I was diverged from my morning routines by the news that something precious to us had been stolen from our front garden, requiring police and further steps we are forced to undertake so that a similar situation doesn’t happen again. I couldn’t imagine a worst day than last Tuesday.

I think our minds are programed to cope with stressful days by feeling inexplicably well the next day or at the next little reason we have to justify our need to feel happy.


It was a very grey Wednesday morning. I usually would have felt down, but I didn’t. Instead the “not all margarines are the same” kept playing in my mind, only it wasn’t about margarines but men. My mood didn’t change. I was so charged with hope that even the sun came to shine all through the rest of my Wednesday morning.

I think I don’t admire men in general. This is a bold and very hard statement but I have my reasons. I believe my “no love thing” is related to this non-appreciation, from where I cannot escape since I have no attraction whatsoever for women. I do admire many women, but I cannot feel the connection required to love one of them the way love is meant to be.

I believe it started with my father. I grew up hearing of his admiration for a couple of movie stars and of how many common women adored him. My mother, in the middle of all this, was just a nebulous figure presiding our routines. There were signs, here and there, that my mother was more than a mother and a faithful wife. When I was nine, I remember she had a secret admirer and I discovered a beauty contest book where, under her picture, was written “first runner-up”.

Because I never felt the admiration she deserved from my father, I grew up ignoring my mother physical attributes. The only compliment he paid to her was about her faithfulness. The worst is that her self-esteem was very little and she forgot how beautiful she really was. For you just to see how this is troublesome, I only heard someone referring to my mother as a beautiful woman when I was more than 30 years old, during a visit to South Africa, where I met a couple who had been with my parents in Portugal, before they left to Mozambique, and also, for a short period of time, in Ilha de Moçambique, where we spend a small part of our childhood. The interesting thing is that my love for her increased with the awareness of her beauty, not because of the beauty itself, but because I realized she had been wronged for those who knew her well… me included.

Men suffering from the same type of rude approach towards the woman they should love and admire are too many to mention. In fact, I kind of feel sorry for them because, meanwhile, I realized they just don’t know what they want. My father cherished my mother’s faithfulness because he wasn’t faithful to her. He couldn’t pass the fact and see beyond that. He was blind to any other aspect and made those around her equally blind. I suppose he wanted more than her faithfulness, but I don’t know what he wanted and I doubt he knew it. Probably he was divided between “the vamp” and “the faithful wife” and so he would never be able to appreciate either. If he had been married to a vamp, he would have resented the fact that she wasn’t a devoted wife.

I was lucky to know at least someone sure of what he wanted. At the same time, I was unlucky not to feel the same for him. All kinds of prejudice blocked my feelings. I regretted losing him for a very long time. I don’t regret any longer because, even though he wasn’t a common margarine, he wasn’t the margarine for me. Even without knowing, I wanted both. Not only a good margarine but one suiting my taste buds. I still want the same with the difference that now I know what I want. I had to hear me saying it: “That’s not what I want for me!” And it’s not only about me. I am sick and tired of all the unappreciative men out there. Each time they over-appreciate another woman they are under-appreciating you. Each time they show interest for someone else, they are undermining your relationship. Each time they embark in any inconsequent adventure, they are ruining your chance of happiness. In reality, I don’t think that a man behaving like this is capable of appreciating a specific woman or even women in general. What a decent man (for whatever reason no longer loving and admiring the woman he is with) should do is to stop that relationship and wait for someone to love.

All my past experiences came down to that Wednesday morning and the certitude that all margarines are not the same. It’s good just to know it. Whatever my opinion about men, at least I met someone different from the flock and that gives me the confidence to think that there are possibly others like him. They are the exception. The margarine we want to taste and stick to.

This is not only addressed to me (the summit of my experiences) and, obviously, to any occasional reader. This is a message to someone having eyes for too many potential women and not knowing what he really wants, a worsened version of my old man:

“Don’t lose any other second with me. You are not the margarine I want. I’ll wait for the right brand.”