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« Nature v. Nurture | Main | Oil Painting and Sex »

February 25, 2003

Humbled Again

Friedrich --

The Wife and I were out at dinner the other night with a woman friend. We talked of this, we talked of that. Then the Wife and our friend discovered that as girls they'd both been horseback riders. They'd both owned horses. They'd taken part in competitions in California within a few years of each other. They compared notes; their eyes shone; they imitated the sounds horses make; they made cute faces and burst into giggles; they talked about how much they missed their horses; they looked at me pityingly ...

A man will never be anything more than a poor substitute for a horse.



posted by Michael at February 25, 2003


I live in a horsey California community. My daughter has taken riding lessons and been in horsemanship competitions. As best as I can tell, horses, while beautiful animals, are sort of like large, fragile dogs--not too bright and very prone to injury. One neighbor's horse actually choked while eating supper; it took a $300 vet visit to un-choke the damn horse. (I mean, we're talking about an animal that can't even chew and swallow here.) I can't summon up too many feelings of inadequacy compared to a horse.

On the (presumably implied) topic of sex and horses, however, I noticed one thing while dragging my daughter to various riding lessons: riding attracts a large number of fit, attractive young women (wearing quite flattering outfits)...and almost no men. If I were 16 again, I'd head for the riding ring!

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on February 26, 2003 12:03 AM

I tend to feel I can keep up with most horses intellectually, and I suspect that I may be a little less prone to choking than they are. But that look women and girls get when they talk about horses ... I dunno. They probably talk about you and get a glow. But if any woman has gotten such a look on her face while talking about me for even one second I'd be amazed.

What a good question: if we were 16, knowing what we now know, what would we do differently so far as girls go? Well, just about everything, of course. But concretely, hmmm. Oh, I know one thing: I'd take ballet classes. Straight men in ballet make out. Ballet class in the morning, baking class in the afternoon, then relaxing at the corral...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on February 26, 2003 1:00 AM

I dunno much about horses, other than hearing half-seriously somewhere that the words a father of a pre-teen daughter dreads hearing most are, "Daddy, I want a pony!" But what would I do differently about the opposite sex if I were 16 again? I suppose I could find out easily enough. My Beloved Lady Companion and Comfort in My Later Middle Age first met me when I was 14 (then after high school we didn't see each other for about 30 years). I could just ask her, "What was I doing so wrong way back when that made all the girls think I was a scary geek from Mars?" But something tells me I may not really want to know that. However, more generally, I think you hit on something with dancing. I recall reading an interview with Gene Kelly where he said he took up dancing partly to meet girls. I then slapped my head and said "D'oh!" I never liked dancing, never was very good at it. But the girls liked dancing. They would dance with each other if the boys were too busy trying to look cool on the stag line or were smoking in the alley out back. Relatively few boys liked dancing for its own sake and most seemed to regard it as a dreary chore they had to submit to in order for the girls to like them. It was the human equivalent of bower birds, where females are driven by evolution gone mad to demand absurd lengths of absolutely useless displays by the males. But that's just it. The girls liked it, and they're the ones calling the tune here. If I'd swallowed my teenage male dignity (or come out of my shell of intellectual geekdom) and taken up dancing, I would have gotten to meet more girls, gotten to know the girls I did know better, picked up some social graces...

Posted by: Dwight Decker on February 26, 2003 1:02 PM

Hey Dwight -- The things we could have done better ... You raise a good point about the absurd sense of dignity teen boys have. Would we have been able to do things better even if we'd known? Or would our fragile and ludicrous untried egos have gotten in the way anyway? Hey, you got her anyway even if 30 years late, so you did something right.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on February 26, 2003 1:31 PM

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