There is a quality to some women that fills me with a humble, admiring jealousy. In real life, I have only known a few--my grandmother, for one; a friend's wife; a former co-worker. I imagine the quality in others--Meryl Streep and Madeline Albright come to mind--but I could be making it up. I start out feeling a little shy and klutzy and unrefined around these women, but they always find a way to make me forget myself.
The quality is hard to pin down, but it encompasses several things I wish I had. Poise is certainly a component, as is a particular form of intelligent, gentle articulateness. The ability to empathize without comparing pain, to listen without self-interest and without contemplating a reply in advance. The skill to meet a stranger and make her feel comfortable, welcomed, liked. A sense of humor sparkling in the corner of an eye.
Jeff and I were lucky enough to spend Sunday morning with just such a woman and her equally wonderful husband: the stunning Anna H. and the delightful BHM.
And when a woman is as kind as she, it's impossible for the jealousy not to be trumped by a sort of friend-crush adoration.