02 November 2015

Remembering A Long Ago False Accusation Inspires a Writing About My Favorite Topic -- Women

This is Gretchen (I'm totally kidding it's Jayne Mansfield).
I did not intentionally touch Gretchen’s breast at that party in 1975. The whole idea is ridiculous. Gretchen was not a girlfriend nor anyone I had a crush on. She was among the circle of friends I hung out with at the time. She was not unattractive but for whatever reason I wasn't "interested" in her. I remember clearly that it was a Saturday night and my roomies and I were having one of our parties complete with a keg of beer (when the keg ran out we would send someone on a beer run for cases of suds). I was standing just outside my front door — probably positioned near the aforesaid keg — among fellow partiers. At this point in the narrative I was telling a story or animatedly expressing an opinion or weaving some implausible yarn, as I was want to do then. Whatever I was saying required some gesticulating, during the course of which my right index finger came in contact with one of  Gretchen’s breasts. It was really just a grazing of the breast, no full contact at all and nothing that either party would find arousing in the best of circumstances. Pure accident.

Well damned if Gretchen didn’t express outrage at this supposed violation of her person. I professed innocence and apologized for the accidental touch. She did not except and insisted that the action was purposeful. Well I never. Why, I argued vehemently, would I publicly touch her breast (fully covered, mind you) and so lightly? Men love touching the female breast, but generally speaking we much prefer touching skin and we get nothing out of a veritable flick. To touch a clothed breast in full view of others would require a person to be good and drunk, a state which I had not yet attained that evening.

Never accepting my innocence, Gretchen went off and mingled with others. I avoided her the rest of the evening — as she did me — and indeed we never much talked thereafter, if at all. Gretchen’s circle spun out of my orbit within a few months anyway and I never saw her again. I wonder if she still thinks I touched her breast intentionally, if so she’s still way off base.

Speaking of breasts…Men are pretty naive in a lot of ways, some men more than others and some men about this thing and other men about that thing and other men about those things. We have some serious gaps in our knowledge about women. I grew up without a sister and with a mother who was mentally ill. I also grew up in an era in which boys and girls did not fraternize socially so much unless it was out and out dating. Sure we were friendly with classmates of the opposite sex, but not friends. I was classmates with Judy (last name redacted in case she wants no part of this discussion) from kindergarten through senior year of high school. She was the only human to hold that distinction (or to suffer that fate). Judy was as nice a person as ever walked the earth and we enjoyed many a chat, but friends? No. (I think it was in the second grade that our teacher had Judy give me lessons on how to properly erase as my erasing was pretty weak at that point of my life. She dutifully did and lightly criticized my efforts. I eventually became obsessive about erasing and refused to continue writing until every less hint of an unwanted pencil mark was gone. Today I am similarly compulsive about erasing white boards in my classroom and if the previous teacher to use that room has left so much as a quarter inch of a mark I am flung into paroxysms and scrub the board like it was a dinner plate. But I digress….)

I had three female cousins who I was close to as a lad, the oldest of whom has always been like the big sister I never had. Her name is Helen and she was my early model for what a woman should be like and to this day I think she is an exemplary example of her gender. Anyway my close relationships with these cousins was great but not close enough for me to fully understand what the deal was with women. Like many young boys I used to believe that girls didn’t use the toilet. Boys are frickin’ idiots.

I’m embarrassed to say how old I was before it was confirmed for me (of course by a woman) that yes, women are well aware of how much cleavage they are displaying. (I told you we were getting back to breasts.) I’ve also been given to understand that a woman does indeed know if the skirt she is wearing is quite short. In other words women are self aware in ways that I didn’t understand as a young (younger) man. They further know the effect their appearance and behavior have on men, well maybe not always, but often enough.

I am unabashed in my love of women which is why I married one and sired two. Many women would be surprised to learn the extent to which a lot of men — and I refer here to straight men many of whom are in relationships including marriage — don’t like women. You can hear it in conversations with them and you learn about it from women. I’m not a student of either psychology or sociology so am unqualified to examine why so many men don't like women, perhaps mommy issues figure in, maybe daddy issues, maybe growing up in a macho environment, maybe its an untamed animal instinct, maybe these men often feel “threatened” by women but there are a lot of men who don’t like and don’t trust women as a whole and have deep seated hatred for even those women they purport to love. And I do not merely refer to those who strike or verbally abuse women. Obviously many of these men can be found in patriarchal religious sects or in politically right wing groups and of course both. Sadly there are even women who denigrate other women. Just check out Fox News some time, if your stomach can stand it.

Women are still in many ways a mystery to me and I actually think that’s how it should be. To any intelligent woman a man is an easy read. We are simple creatures with our brains in our penises. We like food, sex, various forms of entertainment and to occasionally be flattered. I don’t know how women put up with us but thankfully they do.

Anyway this all started because I was remembering the time Gretchen falsely accused me of touching her breast on purpose. Damn it, I’ve written all this about it and am still ticked off. Give me another forty years and maybe I’ll get over it.

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