Ducky is amused by a memory.
An established relationship story.
Written: July 2006. Word count: 2,014.
Square: A formal and conservative person with old-fashioned views
Someone, when I was much younger, once referred to me as 'a ‘square'; I was amused rather than insulted. Indeed thinking about it now, more than four decades later, can still make me chuckle.
You see, whilst there is, to an extent, quite a lot of truth in it; in one respect it could not be further from the truth.
I confess that in many respects I am a somewhat formal man. My style of dress, for example, is definitely of the formal kind. When I am not wearing my autopsy greens, or my doctor's white coat, I do dress in a suit and a, what the Americans call 'dress shirt'. It is a term that at one point confused me; as to me a dress shirt is the kind of shirt that a gentleman wears with his formal evening wear.
I also wear bowties, which I confess is a very old-fashioned and formal thing to do, and I know that it is considered by some to be eccentric. After all, for most people a bowtie is what is worn with formal evening wear and not everyday wear. However, I happen to like them, and I always tie them myself, as opposed to wearing a ready made one. The habit that some men have of wearing an already tied one, quite frankly makes me shudder. And you can always tell when they do; shall I explain how? It is to do with balance and perfection. If the tie is 'perfect', it is a ready made one; however, if the tie isn't quite balanced or perfect, then the man wearing it will either have tied it himself, as I do, or will have had it tied by someone else - a task I have been called upon many times, during my lifetime, to perform.
My speech is more formal than many of my colleagues, as is the way I treat people; I admit that and offer no apologies for it. Much of that is to do with my age, I am, after all, over sixty, and also to do with my upbringing and education. Eton does tend to teach one a great deal about formality, as does growing up with servants. And although I left both behind many years ago, with the exception of a housekeeper when Mother first came to live with me, one cannot completely escape one's past. What we were will always be a part of what we are, no matter how hard a person may attempt to ensure this is not the case. As I once told my dearest Jethro, 'You cannot completely take the child out of the adult'.
So, yes, I am a formal man, a 'proper' man, in most respects; certainly in more than I am an informal one. Oft-times I do find some of the informality that surrounds the world today, more than a little trying.
I am also a man with old-fashioned views in quite a lot of areas. For example, I do feel that women need a degree of protection by men; which given the field in which I work, where female agents work alongside their male counterparts and more than match them, is a somewhat strange view to hold. I know that. However, it is again part of my culture, my age, my upbringing. I have never told my dear Jethro, but when he assigned Caitlin to protect Mother and myself, I felt a little uneasy. Not because I doubted Caitlin's abilities, she did, after all, at one time protect the President, but simply because, rather absurdly, I felt that I should be the one protecting her.
It is absurd, is it not? I, an elderly Medical Examiner, who has gained a little more weight over the years than he would have liked; who walks with a limp; who needs glasses to enable him to see the bodies he is dissecting; who once took an oath to 'do no harm'; who tells rambling stories, some of which have no endings, wished to protect a feisty, young lady in her twenties; with a perfect figure; no need of glasses; has no issues with a limp, and who was proficient with a firearm. But absurd or not, that is what I felt I should be doing.
I do know how to use a gun, and can do so quite well. I first learnt to shoot at Eton, and later Jethro gave me a 'refresher course', and himself bought me a gun. I told him that both were unnecessary, as I would not ever use a weapon on another human being, unless it was to protect one of my 'family'. However, one does not argue with Jethro Gibbs, at least I know when not to. When Jethro is determined to get his own way, and I confess that happens considerably less frequently than most people assume, then Jethro gets it; thus there is little point in arguing with him. Besides, he has several unique ways of persuading one, and I am not talking about the head slaps he gives the children.
I believe in courtesy and manners and in being polite. Of holding doors for ladies, or helping them carry things, or offering them my arm when I think they need it, and all the other little things that a gentleman was taught to do for a lady. I am sorry to say that so many people today do not believe in any of those things, the ladies as well as gentlemen.
I know my courtesy often irritates and puzzles Officer David. I do not know if this is simply because of her upbringing, training for a Mossad agent is very difficult, and her firm belief that she is as good as, as strong as, as fast as, completely equal to any man, and sometimes, no make that often, that she is in fact better. I also do not know if part of her puzzlement is simply because she has never been treated this way before; she does not know how to respond, and Office David does not like that. She is intelligent though, because she has clearly already ascertained that one certain way of annoying Jethro, more than she does anyway, would be to show too much of her irritation for me. I'm far too old to change now; she and others will just have to accept that it is my way.
Jethro, although twelve years younger than I, also shares many of my views; although he of course has had to adapt more in order to be able to do his job. I once said to my beloved, at the time following our dear Caitlin's death that 'or us, men and women will never be truly equal, until they are equal in death. I meant no insult to the fairer sex, none at all. I did not mean, nor do I believe, that men and women are not equal, of course they are; I merely meant that for people like Jethro and myself, whilst losing a male colleague hurts, losing a female one is so much more difficult; because it is our job to protect those females. Again, it is absurd, but I cannot help how I feel.
It is the 'conservative' part of the definition of 'a square' that courses me the most amusement; although again in many respects, it is fair to say, that the label is true. Certainly, my upbringing was Conservative, insofar as political belief and affiliation went, and the medical profession was, certainly when I became a medical student and later a doctor, very conservative. And in matters pertaining to certain opinions and again dress, then yes, I am indeed conservative. If one attends the opera or the ballet or a concert, one dresses in evening wear - a dinner jacket and trousers, the British dress shirt and bowtie. It is what one does.
However, the part of the label 'conservative' that causes me to chuckle, even today, has to do with my sexual preferences. You see I am, and always have been, a man who prefers the company of other men to that of women. I enjoy wining and dining a young lady, taking her to a concert, sharing cultural things with her. I like the company of ladies very much, but company is as far as it goes. For an emotional or sexual connection, my choice is, and has always been, other men. Or I should say one particular other man. I do not believe that I need to mention the name of my long-term lover, who also happens to be my dearest and closest friend, do I? I think it is obvious from several things I have already said, especially the terms 'my beloved' and 'my dearest Jethro'.
Yes, it is true, Leroy Jethro Gibbs and I are lovers, and have been for nearly three decades. Our relationship has survived four marriages, all of them his, and several other close relationships between him and redheaded women. Some might wonder why I put up with it for all those years; in fact my dearest is one of them. But it is as I've always told him, when I fall in love, when I love, it is for life; I am rather like a swan or a wolf in that respect. It is not something that I can just shrug aside and move on from. Besides, as I also always told him, I knew, from the first time he persuaded me to take him into my bed, that the day would come when he would be prepared to admit what both he and I both knew from that our first night together. And on that day, Jethro would be mine, and only mine.
And that day did come; as I knew it would. When he returned from Mexico, it was to me whom he came. He now shares my home, and doesn't care who knows about our relationship. He placed a ring on my finger and exchanged vows with me, as I in turn placed one on his. And just as I knew that he'd one day be truly mine, I also knew that he would not do so until he was certain that he would not lie to me. I sometimes feel guilty that I am the only one of Jethro's lovers to whom he has never lied.
So, as you can see, whilst 'a square' does in many respects suit me, in one vital respect it could not be further from the truth. I -
"Are you ever coming to bed? Or do I need to come and drag you here?"
He never has needed to, and I cannot see the day arising when he will ever need to do so. "No, my dear, I am about to join you now."
"Good. Now come here, Duck, and let me tell and show you just how much I love you."
I shall gladly do both. Being in Jethro's arms, being kissed by him and kissing him in turn, being caressed by him and caressing him, being made love to and making love, is my favorite occupation. Please note I say ‘making love' not ‘having sex'. Jethro and I have never done the latter; in fact we make love all the time we are together, whether we are enjoying the physical side of our relationship of not.
However, as much as I shall enjoy going to his arms, as much as it will give me immense pleasure; there is no need for me to do so in order to be told and shown that he loves me. You see I know he does. That is one thing of which I have always been, and always shall be, assured and certain. I wonder just how many people - square or non-square - can say that. How many of them can be as categorically certain that they are truly loved? I fear it is less than one might think.
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