Sunday, January 11, 2009

“Growing old is unavoidable. Growing up – always optional”

Any resemblance to real people and facts is purely accidental …

Not sure if you have seen or remember the oh-such-a-chick-flick movie, “One Fine Day”. In there, there is a line that goes like this: “Love your guy as you love a little boy, and one day he will grow into a man”. Personally, I think, they never turn into men, or into “men according to women’s definition of that word”, anyway: whether they’re loved “as little boys” or not, they stay … little boys …

I have always thought that sitting alone at a bar and having total strangers talk to you about their life stories was a myth. Something just for the movies, so they can have a starting point for the plot. But I have discovered that bar conversations are indeed real, and not just for the movies.

A bar could be a great stage for the human show, great venues to check out the dance between sexes, and between people, in general. People feel a tad more free, and a tad more lonely at the bar, and they are more willing to share themselves there, than say at the office, or a random party. The bar also comes, for the most part, with a Vegas-like rule about it, more so than the office, or a friend’s party: what happens there, stays there – you don’t have to share more than names with the strangers, so, free of consequences, you’re more inclined to tell your story honestly, and be whoever you are, with little censorship. After all, it’s easier to be honest to strangers, than to judgmental people you know.

Last night, a friend of mine and I went out to celebrate her birthday, and we got to chatting with Mike, Jim and Mike from South Bend, Indiana. All I know about South Bend, Indiana is that my ex-boyfriend’s ex-sister-in-law moved there a while back, and that it’s damn cold.

Mike, Jim and Mike were RV salesmen, and in town with an RV show – or as they said “they sold adult toys”. We chatted about our jobs, their jobs, their children, or lack of them, public schools vs private schools, zodiac signs and what they mean, favorite colors, and politics. Like a good ol’ Mid-western man, Mike #1 was a Republican – and he was not afraid to admit it. We pretended not to notice, and changed the conversation to sports instead.

They were friendly, and nice, and cordial, but although they were anywhere between 37 and 52, they disarmingly immature, I thought. And for the millionth time in my life, I reminded myself that … boys will be boys and I need to just accept that as part of their charm. *Sigh*. Immaturity aside, I went with the flow, because no matter how old and stuck up I usually am, I accepted for one night to be silly, goofy, light, and entertain the “boys” – because they were indeed fun, and the fun consisted for the most part in their light-heartedness and kid-like behavior.

I felt like I was a camp supervisor of teens, and for several hours I forgot that these were adult men, with wives, kids, and a serious job. They made it very easy to forget that: they were playing with one of the I-Phones, trying to make the phone guess who was playing on the restaurant’s sound system or playing YouTube videos, or looking at pictures, they were doing magic tricks, and giving silly smart mouth answers: “When is your birthday?”, Jim’s answer: “My birthday is the sex birthday” – and then he was shocked when I guessed what that was; Mike #2 was doing an Elvis impression after being told he looks like The King’s impersonator. Does this sound like we were hanging out with teens? No matter what their age, they were teens in spirit – I can assure you.

Several hours and cocktails later, in the same frat boy meets high school drop out fashion, they invited us to drive their “hot” car to Hooters. As the half of the party who did grow up from the high school years, we ladies politely denied. However, they didn’t seem to think that such a proposition was outrageous in the least.

I am telling you: no matter how long we wait, or how much life thrusts them into its “reality”, there is something so endearingly simple about boys that will never wear off. I just hope I remember that next time I might have a boyfriend and he will think it’s cool to play for hours on the I-Phone while I try to get some plans made for our next home. Reality is measured by completely different dimensions in boys’ brains, I am sure, and as much as this is a truism, we ladies seem to forget that quite often.

Our female brains develop three times as fast as theirs, it seems, and the main wars between the sexes, I do believe, starts from the fact that boys don’t ever catch up with us – and render us frustrated and helpless, when we realize our wait for them to grow up is in vain. But despite of what I thought 10 years ago, I don’t think they don’t want to grow up, but I do believe that they are not able to. It’s how they’re wired. And somehow, they get through life, have families, and real jobs, wage wars and make politics, without having to grow up and “be serious”, otherwise.

Frankly, after last night: I envy them! I wish I had the freedom and lightness in my heart, less control freakiness, as well, to switch off the seriousness that governs my life daily, and just to remember to be a kid again, and tell silly jokes, just for effect, and to watch around me, and check out the adults’ reaction.

And then, it made me wonder: loved as little boys, or not, why would they ever want to grow up, when they’re having so much fun?!

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