Just because a man pulls out your chair for you
and takes your coat at an elegant restaurant 
is no guarantee that he really loves you. You know this,
and so whether he burps or farts over the dinner 
like some sort of Chinese compliment 
does not much matter to you, whether he subscribes
to the high sanctimony of the right thing 
leaves you unmoved and lonely. Once, 
like a Turkish princess, you were feted and dined
by all sorts of mannerly people, in a high castle 
on the cliffs of Scotland. Now, so many thank-yous
and sincerelies later, it's the things unsaid, 
the warm rudities of late night, that most move you 
and you are wild for slurped sounds of the truly decent,
the I-chew-with-my-mouth-open look of the one 
you will love forever. Whatever it is that might be said
for the predictable thing, the good manners 
you were taught in childhood, it's more and more
the case of the auspicious oddity that excites you now,
the cool flippancy of the one who invents 
his own decencies. Darling, I say to you, 
fall to the floor all you want, I ain't pulling 
chairs out for anyone. But what I'll whisper to you later, 
in the orderly dark that comes every night like a good butler,
 will be sweeter than all that, believe me, 
something you can write home to mom about
as if I were the man who had sent you a, dozen roses
on Valentine's Day, or smiled in the pretty picture, 
or paid you the most beautiful compliment in the world—
only more slovenly, baby, more kind. 

From Against Romance by Michael Blumenthal, published by Viking Penguin, Inc. Copyright © 1987 by Michael Blumenthal. Used by permission of the author.