Tuesday, April 1, 2008
The Skin We're In
I was recently rereading “The World According to Garp” and was struck once again by a particular passage- Garp, having just discovered his wife’s recent infidelity as he simultaneously bathes his youngest son and prepares for a night away from home, engages her in a nasty, running, rather one-sided duel of wits. It is his intention to verbally and emotionally cripple her before hitting the door with the kids in tow in a somewhat shortsighted attempt at Payback. He begins dressing after the bath but manages to put on only his shirt when his Wife, Helen, abruptly walks into the bedroom.
He, freshly wounded, bitter and bottomless, hopes to inflict maximum pain on his now unsteady spouse as he rips into her.
She, deeply guilt-ridden yet calmly aware and gaining strength with each passing second, neatly ends the conversation with a simple, sincere plea.
“Please put on some pants.”
Helen (Irving) has come to the immediate conclusion that a Man partly dressed is somehow……incomplete, inconclusive, incorrect. Neither as handsome/masculine as when he is totally nude nor as powerful/capable as when he is fully dressed.
But a Woman…….
A woman who is only partially clothed…..
She exudes Mystery.
She has Power!
I have to agree with Irving’s keen sense of sexual dynamics although with some reservations.
Because the essential pull of the fully dressed woman is fueled exclusively by my own imagination when focused on that blissfully mysterious but achingly familiar form. The electric jolt of that small display of skin- a short skirt flashing ripe thigh, a scooped blouse offering a soft bounty, a brief top almost covering a lean belly that is leading to an eruption of hips- this is the real Fountain of Youth flowing through the streets and pumping hot blood through my veins and may it never end.
Praise to all Gods!
But what can we Older men (who the Hell am I trying to kid,,,OLD MEN) do about it?
Precious little as we watch our Youth drift away on an uncaring tide while almost every action we may take will most likely turn out to be much more than wrong.
Whistle and you’re a cad.
Leer and you’re a Lech.
Peer too long and you’re a Perv.
Reach out to touch that beautiful bounty on display and you’re open to arrest, prosecution and a public flogging or possibly a Date depending on your financial and social status- which is to say if you happen to Rich and/or Famous then it's an all-you-can-eat buffet Baby but if you're like the rest of us 40ish males then you most likely have slightly more choices than a concentration camp prisoner.
And so for almost all of us we must lean back, relax and try to recall the days (or at least review the videotape and polaroids) when we were the objects of admiration and desire and when sweet girls looked at us with open invitation instead of blatant discomfort because this rapidly fading memory may provide precious moments of solace as we watch long legs, bouncy breasts, swinging hips and kissable lips nonchalantly, painfully pass us by.
Oh… the agony/ecstasy of being a 21st Century Dirty Old Man! Publicly handcuffed in a Girls Gone Wild World...
Still virile and ravenous at 4 and 1/2 decades while simultaneously, inevitably and ever so slowly turning more grey, craggy, crabby and all too shamefully mature with the passing of each wonderful, terrible day as the world continues to become fleshier, sexier, younger and more delicious if also more distant and untouchable.
Every year young girls are encouraged to flaunt their beauty, their power, their pleasure more openly, brazenly without concern or regard and every year I get older and further from their invitations just as my mind longs and my body hungers for the taste of that lush life ever more acutely.
Yes, with each more casually revealed inch of precious feminine flesh my position grows weaker just as surely as theirs grows stronger and more vital. Trapped in a hot, sweaty city full of candy stores without a dime to my name and I can’t savvy the lingo so any approach is a no-go.
It may not be the only game in town, it's just the Best One we got.
You must realize, of course, that the Male world is full of brash talk and tough posturing about big words like Power, Control, Action, Victory but don’t let us fool you Ladies.
Lean over your desk…
Bend over at the waist to pick something up…
Cross your legs and casually adjust your skirt…..
And Our World is all Yours…..for whatever it’s worth.