Remember when we were little girls, and boys had cooties?
Now, I wasn’t a prissy child. I played with frogs, pollywogs, and worms. I did outdoor tasks, such as raking leaves, shoveling snow, and the correct flip of the wrist with which to toss dog poop into the acre of weeds which surrounded our house. In summer, I made roads in the gravel of the driveway and built houses in trees, so I was no stranger to grub, grit and summer sweat.
Nevertheless, little boys were gross. They smelled funny, like members of some other tribe—which, of course, they were. Their hair was cut short in those days, so their big heads and pink scalp was always in view. Lots of them picked their noses. They sneezed and burped and farted—and then laughed about it. Their ears might be full of wax. (A girl’s ears might be full of wax, too, but she at least had hair to hide it.) Boys were rough and loud, likely to break out in a match of pushing and shoving as easily as just stand there and wait for the bell which signaled that it was time to leave the playground and march back inside.
Then the inevitable change happened. We all grew up. Suddenly those bare-scalped boys—some still not as tall as we girls—became, for the first time, extremely thought-provoking. Friends started to-- “like” was the euphemism--certain boys. High School Romances began. The participants traded each other like cards, one by one, entering the School of Drama & Heartbreak. Sometimes a girl was popular and sometimes she was not, mostly depending upon how dreamy/eligible was her boyfriend. Boys became men and we became women. The mating game began in earnest, with all those triumphs, tragedies, ecstasies, and Nymph-and-Satyr-Aphrodite-in-her-nightie lusts and longings.
And it’s easy to do that, now that I’ve reached the Crone age. All the organic bits that made the other sex desirable--so lubricious and exciting--have withered and shriveled or been excised by the good docs. Men and women have never been on the same page as far as our methods of communication go, and now, once again, men have regained their old status as an alien species.
Some women, I know, do not share this experience, but I mean, really! I sure as heck don’t look hot anymore, with all these wrinkles and sags and neither do my age mates of the masculine persuasion. I have one of these fellows at home, who, despite 50 years of marriage, of pleading and/or nagging, is still pretty much in the classification of “bear with furniture.” I see other males, too, in and out of the a.m. gym for the Silver Sneakers © programs, or bored and wandering about the supermarket with their bill hats and their flannel shirts, their “chests that have fallen into their drawers,” as the Grand Olde Oprey joke goes, bellying up to the deli counter. “Testosterone burns,” have inflicted hair loss, sometimes resulting in an unfortunate style choice which I call “the Atoll,” greasy long hair which encircles a desert island-like bald spot. But even if they’re the lucky old dude with a great wardrobe and lots of Country and Western curls, men, as a group, have, once again, taken on an alien aura reminiscent of my childhood.