Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Posters on the Wall

Farrah Fawcett's lustrous locks greeted me each morning when I was a teenager. As did Raquel Welch, clad in a torn and clingy-wet blouse, her bright eyes shining right at me.

Both Sex Goddesses and best-selling pin-up babes adorned my ceiling on two posters I bought at Treasure City, a local department store in Bloomfied, CT. Fawcett and Welch were the Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth of my pulsating teen years. My parents still joke that I've always had a fondness for the opposite sex. So slapping up the posters made logical and biological sense.

Miguel, on the other hand, has not shown much interest in girls at all. I've teased him a few times about potential love interests, even going so far as to choose my future daughters-in-law, but Miguel has basically and not so politely asked me to "Shut up."

I realized, of course, that if I continue to press or tease I risk alienating him and giving him ample reason to shut me out when he may need his father to lean on.

For the most part, though, girls have not been part of Miguel's social orbit. He never even approached anyone at the 6th grade school dance last year. In fact, he went out of his way to blend into his surroundings. He even ordered me not to acknowledge him in any way: no nods, no smiles, no waves, and definitely, most definitely, he said, no dancing. He also said I couldn't even tap my feet or sway to the music.

So, for Miguel, school and his social life have been about boys, sports, sports, boys, and video games, which is an extension of boys and sports.

Until now.

A few weeks back, Miguel mentioned Megan Fox, a name I'd heard but an exact person I could not picture. He reminded me she starred with Shia LeBouf in the Transformer movies.

"Dad, she's hot. Really sexy."

Huh? My son, the uber sports fan and player, expressing a serious, and most likely hormonally driven, desire for a female and turning into another kind of player? I felt the Earth tilt slightly off its axis. (And, yes, I smiled inward with pride as well. Not that I need a chip off the old block, but I will admit I appreciated his--for now--heterosexual longings.)

Then he asked me to buy two, not one, but two posters of her for his bedroom.

"Miguel, your walls are already filled up. Which ones can I take down?" I asked.

"Obama and the Red Sox World Series one (from 2007)," he replied.

Obama? Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The Red Sox? Hey, his heart has never been fully part of the Red Sox Nation, so good riddance to my Yankee-loving teen-to-be.

So the posters arrived today, and I invoked parental my authority and decided not to remove Obama or the Red Sox.

"How about if put the Megan Fox posters on the ceiling?" I asked.

"That's fine."

I am not ready to visit the wider implications of the Megan Fox posters, one of which displays an ample view of her breasts. About objectifying women. About objectifying women's bodies, especially breasts. Verna would never have allowed these posters into the house, not even the garage.

At some point in the next year or so, Miguel and I will have many conversations about young women, sex, how to treat women, how society portrays women and all that.

But, for now, I am going to let him revel in having Megan Fox on his ceiling as a adolescent symbol of lust and confusion and powerful feelings and emotions.

Farrah Fawcett and Raquel Welch's images above me didn't hinder my social development too much. And I turned out pretty well, well enough to treat Miguel's mother for more than two decades with all the respect she deserved as a woman and a person. And he witnessed that for 12-plus years. Those lessons will be the ones he absorbs most.

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