There are certain rituals to autumn. Of course, with cooler weather, one gets the nesting instinct, and is tempted to begin bottling fruit and making soup. I have successfully resisted that particular urge, opting, instead, for pizza delivery. It’s simpler and cleaner.
Autumn is also the season of reunions and homecomings. We seem to gather when the air is chilly and the apples are crisp.
As grandma to six millennials, I am deeply vested in everything that concerns them. This includes a code of behavior. It’s simply the stuff grandmas are made of. Can’t help it. I am greater than the sum of their parts.
And so it was ironic that my high school reunion and Abram’s first-ever date to high school homecoming were just one weekend apart.
Oh, the memories that have been made, and were about to be made.
There was so much I wanted to tell him, so much wisdom I wanted to impart, so much counsel I wanted to dispense, all accumulated since I was a was a sophomore.
I wanted to share with him little essays on Time, Beauty, and The Meaning of Life.
I wanted to advise him to look beyond assumptions, that kindness is power, and to decorate his soul with goodness.
All of which was well-intentioned, but apt to produce auditory hallucinations. The kid would have become stuporous with boredom…just as I did when I was sixteen.
Well, I get that. It’s just that I was still aglow in euphoric rapture following my reunion, encapsulated by memories that become more precious as time passes.
Reminiscence has a particular texture, a patina, that is the result of time.
Now I don’t want Abram to genuflect at the altar of adolescence, but I DO want him to savor these fleeting moments that are oh, so brief.
But this kid is a sophomore and an athlete. So instead of erudite rhetoric and eloquent poetry, I opted for a paroxysm of blunt commandments, at times indelicate, and occasionally profane. This is known as “bubba-izing” the true meaning of life.
So here, in no particular order, are my rules for successfully getting through one’s first date.
Civilization is the mastery of violence, the triumph, constantly challenged, over the aggressive nature of the primate.
Resist your own nature
Try not to imitate or perpetuate the conduct of the great ape. (Great start, Joan. Keep going.)
RULES FOR CIVILIZED SOCIAL BEHAVIOR:
1. Do NOT scratch any region that itches if the irritated terrain lies south of your belt buckle.
2. Do not scratch any area remotely near your underarm.
And, PLEASE, do not simulate flatulent emissions with your hand cupped over said armpit, tempting as this might be.
3. Do NOT insert fingers, digits, or foreign objects into any facial orifices, especially your nostrils. The guys will guffaw, but the girls will gag.
4. You may be the apex predator, you may be at the top of the food chain, but do not beat your brains out with your tongue trying to retrieve a morsel of food that has inadvertently found its way to the top of your head. (This is why you are routinely provided with a white foldy thing we, in polite society, call a napkin.)
5. Remember, sweat has a shelf life. I understand that perspiration has a certain “trophy” value, but there is a definite infamy to underarm rings. Shower after soccer practice and apply deodorant liberally before you call for your date.
6. Do not engage in rigorous insult bombs with “da guys.”
7. Do not resort to the “jaws of life” to extricate the last chicken wing from your partner.
8. Don’t forget. There is a specific neuronal wiring that distinguishes us from other animals. Ergo, do not touch, squeeze, puncture or otherwise pop pustules. LET IT GO!
9. As admirable a performance as it may be, refrain from belching the entire Olympus High fight song with your buddies. I’ve witnessed this phenomenon, and I’m so proud of the “Burp Brigade,” but heed my word, this is NOT a chick turn-on.
These young men are the perfect synthesis of form and youthful good looks – just like we were when we were sophomores – before the clock altered our abdominal contours and disrupted our proportions and unity of space.
I know I sound like a refugee from feudal times, but I do know about amenities, and what chicks like. If you observe my advice, you will always have the illusion that you’re in control of your world.