No Taming Of This Shrew

Last night I was curled up on my sofa reading the Taming of The Shrew. Why? Well, it started about three weeks ago. I’d met my friend for a beer and snacks. A man I knew slightly stopped to talk to us. Although my intention had been to introduce him to my friend, he didn’t ask for her number. He asked for mine. Even though I’m 36 years old, I was elated by the simple act of scribbling seven digits onto a scrap of paper. I am willing to reveal that it has been some time since a man has asked for my phone number. Something like 18 years, in fact.

Well, I didn’t believe that he’d call. In fact, I didn’t even care. It was the thought that counted. It was the thought that made me consider buying a new bra, maybe one with a little lace – although my friend suggested a low cut shirt and my brother lobbied for a thong.

Of course, I was pleased when he actually called for a date. A man who allows his dog onto the leather seats of his prized car and who makes me laugh can’t be all bad. He even let me look through the CD’s he keeps in his car – the true road map to a man’s soul. And, yes, I enjoyed his company. Enough that I hoped he’d call again.

He didn’t. Maybe it was the gun thing that scared him away. For some reason, “normal” guys don’t like to date cops. Maybe I’m just not as nice as I thought I was. I am a Taurus, after all, and true to form. Maybe it was because I didn’t wear a low cut shirt, or a thong. I’ll probably never know. But I do know that I waited like a school girl for him to call again.

And that’s why I was reading The Taming of the Shrew. The transformation of Kate from a “shrew” – a woman who spoke her mind and was true to herself – to a “dutiful wife” is always a pleasant reminder not to pursue love blindly. Not to hunt for a man. Not to morph myself into what might attract a man who catches my eye. Not to get caught up in the fairy tale. I always laugh when Petruchio admonishes Kate that her hat is not becoming and instructs her to “throw it underfoot”. She responds by dashing it to the ground. She follows it up by chastising her female companions stating, “a woman mov’d is like a fountain troubled - muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty..” Yadda, yadda, yadda. As if. Hey Kate, talk to the hand.

“A woman mov’d” is what I am – passionate, intelligent, thoughtful and fun loving. I know what I want, like what I do, am comfortable in my own skin, and enjoy my own company. And even though I love the way men think, the way they act, and the way they view the world, I won’t pay the price Kate paid for male companionship. Not on your life.

How sad for Petruchio that he starved his wife into feeling that she owed him “such duty as the subject owes the prince”! How sad that he deprived her of the company of her sister until she was willing to “serve, love and obey”! Imagine the quality of his life if he’d had a companion who encouraged him, compromised with him, engaged him in lively conversation, and enlightened him with the contents of her mind!

When I finished the play, I regained my grip on reality. I remembered that I am not a school girl. I remembered that I enjoy my independence. I called him once to let him know that I was still interested, and then I stopped waiting for the phone to ring. After all, I was fine before he called, and I’ll be fine if he never calls again.

My friend says that he’s slime. The word she really used can’t be printed. There are moments when I agree. Still, I owe him a debt of gratitude. If he hadn’t asked for my number, I wouldn’t have been reminded of how good my life is. Sure, I’d like to share it but I’m not willing to sacrifice my self to get it. Besides, how hard can it be to find a nice man who wants a woman who doesn’t need his money, doesn’t care what kind of car he drives, isn’t desperate for marriage or children, and wants him to spend time with his friends?

So, who lost here?

You won’t need to use one of your lifelines to answer that question. He’ll never get to walk on the beach at sunset with me and our dogs. His loss. He’ll never get to meet my Mom. His loss. He’ll never know how good my chocolate chip cookies are. Yup, his loss. He’ll never know that I love Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. Or how I cry over a good book. Or what makes me giggle. His loss. And he’ll never get to see the new bra. Um, yah, his loss.

And when the next guy comes along and I consider sitting by the phone waiting for him to call, Shakespeare will bring me back to reality and I’ll get a good laugh out of how easy it is to be trapped by the prospect of love.

Jill Wragg is a retired police officer in Massachusetts.
She can be reached at

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