Men are NOT pigs
(Unless they are building sub-par new houses)

When Isabel Allende spoke at Memorial Hall several years ago an older male audience member attempted to engage her in a discussion about Central American politics. I couldn't really understand the point he was trying to make but it was clear that Allende was getting more and more flustered as several times she attempted to respond politely. Suddenly she interrupted herself and dismissively said, "Sir, while I have been attempting to have a conversation with you I have forgotten what I normally say to men of your age and inclination, 'I don't care what you think. You are old and you will die soon.'"

From this off-hand comment I immediately and foolishly adopted this stance toward all men over 60. I painted the whole lot with a single brush - I didn't just apply it to their politics - I applied it to their whole beings. My experience with the type was limited. While my father is a kind man, he has little patience with those who don't agree with him (and I almost never do). And also lecherous employers and teachers, who assume a young girl won't notice or care when they cop a feel (I pretty much always did). I was getting to the point where I not only hated old men, I was starting to hate men in general.

Then I met my future father-in-law, Reid. I loved him from the first moment. (I have never told my husband but meeting his parents sealed the deal for me - I knew that even if he let me down they never would.) Reid welcomed me into his family and life immediately. He let his hair down enough to allow me to see his vulnerability by confessing that he loves his family more than anything on earth. He worries that he may inadvertently slight a friend or insult a family member, which he will never do because he is remarkably thoughtful: he remembers every birthday; he buys bagels for us in the morning when we visit and, he sneaks menus out of my favorite restaurants then sends them to me because he knows how excited I get about food.

It doesn't seem to matter that on most issues we don't always see eye-to-eye. For instance, he is in love with George Bush and let's just say I am not. We tried to talk about politics once (he tried, I avoided) but it was too painful - I know what he thinks, he knows what I think - no need to get into name-calling. Amazingly, I am able to see beyond the issues and respect his thoughts.

By seeing that one man over 60 could be really great I learned that maybe many men, once you get to know them, could be all right too. Knowing Reid helped me know my own father better, which eventually allowed me to love him more. I saw that older men don't have all the answers - they have just been taught to act as though they do.

I didn't expect to love my father-in-law so much. I didn't expect to be able to get to know such a kind man. I didn't expect to learn so much about all men from one man.

Which brings us to 765 Malabu. The 33-year-old house showed me what builders are going for as they build houses in brand-new subdivisions. The living space is all useable and the volume of the two-story living room gives a feeling of spaciousness. The entire first floor is visible from the front door. A fieldstone chimney, which extends two stories, divides the living room and den. The fireplace opens to both rooms. In the living room two stories of windows look over full-grown trees and the mature landscaping of the half-acre lot.

The lower level echoes the floor plan of the first floor; a fieldstone fireplace divides the living space from an office or bedroom. Again the whole space looks out into the yard.

Upstairs the master suite contains a sleeping area, three huge closets and a bathing area. The large bathtub built from fieldstone and the most lovely pale green ceramic tile, sits under a window that looks into the trees. Sliding doors open from the bedroom to a third deck.

This house foreshadows in theory the houses that are being built today. The spaces where people live are large, such as the living room, the kitchen and the den, but the more formal and less useful spaces such as the foyer and the dining room take up little space. The bedroom and bathrooms feel luxurious and storage gets top priority. The difference: mostly new houses don't feel this solid and they rarely have this kind of lot with its large lawn and ancient trees.

I would never have noticed the house - it sits down below street level on a road that I never drive down anyway. Fortunately Realtor Sue Beard lured me to the house by telling me that I "really have to see this unique house." It is the type of house that you really have to see to understand. I didn't expect to learn so much about new houses from this house.


745 Malabu


3 and one half baths;

3 bedrooms

Contact: Sue Beard 269-7331

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.