We Need More Mystery Between the Sexes

In Battle of the Sexes on October 16, 2012 at 12:05 am

I’ve decided that one of the things we are missing in today’s society is some mystery between the sexes. We no longer leave anything to the imagination. Every day, we are confronted with shameless adults on daytime talk shows who tell all or oversexed teenagers who show all. What ever happened to great actresses with mystique like Greta Garbo who “just wanted to be left alone?”

I remember when almost everything about the opposite sex was a mystery. Boys and girls lived very separate lives and didn’t even begin to show an interest in one another, let alone have “relationships” until they were in their mid-teens. There were no philosophers asking “What do women want” or  psychoanalysts telling both sexes what they didn’t want. This is going to date me, but when I attended high school in the early 1970s, there weren’t even coed health or physical education classes.

I will never forget the day our health teacher announced that our class would be holding a joint session   with the boys in in the corresponding health class. The purpose of this special session was to allow students to ask one another questions to help us achieve a better understanding of the opposite sex.

We looked forward to the event with great anticipation and some anxiety. Our teacher assigned us to prepare some questions beforehand to ensure that there would be no inappropriate topics or awkward silences.

When the day finally arrived, the boys were herded into our classroom and directed to their seats. After some brief remarks by the instructors, the time was turned over to the class for questions. The usually boisterous students became strangely still. No one said a word for several minutes until one brave girl, in the back of the classroom, raised her hand.Heads turned and eyes fixed upon her.

“Yes?” said the relieved teachers.

“There’s something I’ve always wanted to know,” the girl said, ” but I’ve always been afraid to ask.”

“It’s all right,” cooed the teachers. “That’s why we’re meeting together today.”

“I don’t know,” the girl said. “It might embarrass the boys.”

“We can take it,” the young men replied in unison. “We’re almost men and we’re tough.”

“It’s something really deep,” whispered one of the girls. “She’s a straight “A” student, you know.”

I observed all of this in silence, wondering if she was about to address, and finally solve, the age-old mystery of what Scots wear under their kilts. We all waited for her question with baited breath.

“All right,” the girl finally said. “Here goes. What I want to know is — why do boys spit on the sidewalk?”

The girls stared at the boys and the boys stared back, while everyone waited for someone to answer the question.

“Well,” ventured one of the boys, “if you’ve got to spit, you’ve got to spit.”

Somewhere in the back of the room, there was a snort. Up front there was a giggle. Then, everyone began to laugh. All of the tension in the room disappeared and it was replaced by comradely. I don’t recall any other questions that were asked that day, but, I believe that along with a little more mystery, we also need a lot more laughter between the sexes.


Family Reunions: A Great Way to Meet New People

In Family on October 6, 2012 at 12:52 am

I have a friend who defines family reunions as “eating in the park with strangers.” One of my cousins, Deanne, would agree with that definition. Several years ago, she and her husband, Richard, made plans to attend his family reunion at a park in a nearby town. The day of the reunion, Richard was called in to work and so Deanne and the children decided to go without him.

After arriving at the park, they followed the directions provided in the family newsletter to the pavilion that had been reserved for the occasion. Deanne and the children sat down at a table with a group of people who seemed friendly and voiced no objections to sharing their food. After a short time, Deanne came to the realization that these “relatives” were total strangers and that she had “crashed” another family’s reunion.

I suspect that this is the reason that some family organizations issue tickets that must be produced before reunion attendees are allowed to belly up to the food table and load their paper plates with food.

The only thing worse than going to the wrong reunion and finding yourself surrounded by strangers is to go to the right reunion and be cornered by people that you wish you didn’t know. One of my distant relatives and his adult daughter attended a reunion in their home town. The old gentleman had a wonderful time renewing past acquaintances and spent most of the afternoon conversing with another gentleman of about the same age.

When it came time to leave, he pointed to the man he had monopolized and told his daughter, “I need to get that fellow’s name so I can keep in touch with him.”

“You already know his name,” the daughter told him. “The two of you grew up together.”

Upon hearing the name of his new found “friend,” my relative swore vigorously and then scolded his daughter. “Why did you let me waste all of that time talking to him. You know I’ve never been able to stand that guy.”

Reunions are a great place to learn interesting tidbits about the family. There is something about mingling with your kin that jogs the memory and loosens the tongue. One of my uncles once explained to me why our branch of the family prefers casual attire. “We don’t wear neckties became so many of our ancestors were hanged.”

This same uncle was interested in genealogy and he donated regularly to the family genealogy fund. When someone told him the family researcher had discovered we had a connection to Sir Francis Drake as well as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he replied, “I didn’t pay all of that money just to find out that we’re related to a pirate and a damned Democrat.” I found his statement most instructive on two points. First, he left no doubt concerning the political leanings of some members of our family. Second, he taught me an invaluable lesson on the importance of proper emphasis. He didn’t say a “damned pirate and a Democrat,” but rather a “pirate and a damned Democrat,” leaving no question of his ranking of the two.

Visiting with family members who are older and wiser than you are can give you a different perspective on life. When I confided to one of my uncles that I was worried about our nation’s future, he responded, “I’ve lived through the Great Depression, two world wars and countless political scandals. America has survived them all and she’ll continue to survive. I believe he’s right.

The Doctor’s Not In, He’s Way Out

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2011 at 2:13 am

Someone once said the hospital is no place for a sick person. I have made numerous visits to the hospital during my lifetime and I can attest that this is true. On one occasion, I was rushed to the emergency room because I was suffering from excruciating pain, vomiting and diarrhea. After laying on a gurney for more than an hour while emergency personnel took turns questioning and examining me, I decided that veterinarians are more skillful than doctors in diagnosing their patients’ problems. If you don’t believe me, stop and think how many times you’ve heard a veterinarian say, “What’s wrong with you?”

I eventually had to be admitted and remained at the hospital for several days, where I endured additional poking, prodding and innumerable blood tests. When my attending physician was unable to come up with a diagnosis, he finally asked me in frustration, “Have you ever had this before?”

“Yes,” I said. “Last year.”

“Well, you’ve got it again.”

Every time I hear of other people’s negative hospital experiences, I totally sympathize. When one of my friends went in to have her gall bladder removed, the surgeon asked her, “Are you a donor?” He followed up that comforting line with the question, “Do you have a living will?” I told my friend that if I’d been on that operating table, I would have replied no to both questions but assured them I knew a darn good malpractice attorney.

It has been my experience that hospital visitors can be as obnoxious as some physicians. I will never forget the time a girlfriend walked into my hospital room and after staring at me slack-jawed, she said, “You look awful. I once knew a patient who looked just like you and she died the next day.”

Visitors like this are minor nuisances compared to those helpful souls who think the are smarter than the doctors. I have one relative who believes every illness can be cured by a massive dose of cayenne pepper. She also thinks she can determine what is ailing you by feeling your feet. One day, while I was convalescing on my couch after recently being discharged from the hospital, this woman paid me a visit. After a few minutes of small talk, she suddenly lunged at me and grabbed one of my toes.

“Ouch,” I cried out in great pain.

“Does that hurt?” she said with obvious satisfaction.

“Of course it hurts. Leave my toe at the end of my foot where it belongs.”

“You’ve got female trouble,” she said knowingly.

“I’d agree with that,” I said. “Females seem to give me the most trouble when I’m sick.”

There’s one good thing about my extensive experience with doctors and hospitals. I have developed a life-long love of history from reading out-dated magazines in my doctors’ waiting rooms.