We were sitting around the other evening watching Tom Selleck playing Charlie Beck as Papa Bear on the TV show "Blue Bloods" when Cinelli looked over at me and said, "You're wrong about McConaughey."
She often begins conversations that are continued from the previous day or sometimes the previous week, challenging me to recall whatever it was we were talking about in the first place. Most of the time I do not have a clue what the subject was but I agree that I was probably wrong, because I probably was, and let it go at that. Women appreciate humility in a man.
I returned to "Blue Bloods." It has become a favorite show because it dares to believe that it is possible for a man to gun down homicidal maniacs during the day and then come home to enjoy a pleasant pot roast dinner with his extended family in the evening, or every Sunday, or whenever. They like their meat bloody red and they never have anything as wimpy-ass as tuna casserole.
"He's a great actor," Cinelli said, ignoring my silence and breaking into the middle of one of those great Tom Selleck monologues where he is all somber and wrinkled and frowning so hard one fears that his face might break. "He did a great job in 'the Dallas Buyers Club' and deserves an Oscar." Period. She folded her arms and turned away.
Then I remembered. We had been talking about the Academy Awards nominations. She wanted Matthew McConaughey to win, not because of his current role but for last year's movie "Magic Mike." In it he portrayed a male stripper who pranced about in a g-string and a cowboy hat, his skinny white legs flashing like neon lights in a hooker's parade.
"You just like him because he was half-naked," I said, almost instantly sorry that I had.
Emotions run high during Oscar time. Marriages fail in the heat of opinions, dogs howl, little children wake up screaming and teenage girls run off with nomadic bikers who write bad haiku poetry.
Cinelli's expression darkened. I feared for my safety. "Is sex the prime ingredient of every male judgment?" she demanded.
"Pretty much," I replied cheerfully.
"I also loved Bruce Dern in 'Nebraska,'" she said in a challenging manner. I felt like el toro in a bull ring. "Is that sexual too? No naked white legs there."
"No," I said, "not in the usual way."
"Tell me he's gay," she said, "and I'll break your nose."
I suggested that we still had a month to go and should continue the Oscars argument later and watch "Blue Bloods" now. She shrugged. "It probably would be best after the rutting season," she agreed.
The cops had pork chops that night, with baked potatoes and a nice little salad.