Men In SpringMarch 12, 2011 No Comments
“In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love,” as Tennyson had it. Yes, a man’s sap certainly does start to rise at this time of year. And it’s not just the young ones – men of all ages feel stirrings of a primal nature in spring. And it’s not just love they’re thinking of – watch the a weighty and meaningful bounce creep into their step with the first sight of an exposed female ankle or neck, as the piled wrappings of winter are shed in the fast-warming air, and you’ll know it’s about more than that. Whereas the onset of winter makes a man seek refuge from the weather and sees him hauling home stocks of booze and fat to last out the winter in a cave-like fug of stupefaction, the first glorious daffodil and sprightly lamb once the snow has melted away bring with them the return of lust to the top of the agenda. The male experience of spring is pretty much governed by sex.
The thing is, though, men quite often don’t handle all this very well at first. It takes them a little while to adjust to seeing women no longer unencumbered and hidden from view by heavy layers, even if their last experience of this was only a few months before. They’ve got used to everyone looking more or less the same, all bustling past each other in the street with only a strip of screwed-up face between hat and scarf to differentiate them, as they battle wind and scouring sleet. And with spring weather bursting out like a geyser through tarmac, as it is wont to do, there are suddenly very different shapes on the street, many more curves and points to take in. And some of those shapes reawaken thoughts that have gone unthought for quite some time. Sometimes this combination of reawakened urges and the female form newly on display – a double-whammy of instinct and visual stimulus – can lead to problems: staring, walking into things, lost trains of thought and conversation, and … erm … and … sorry, where was I?
Anyway, spring is in fact quite a risky time for men. It’s not just that they might get caught in a brisk shower from the tail-end of winter while wearing an overly hopeful windcheater and last year’s plimsolls. There’s the physical risk I’ve just described – falling down a manhole while instinctively swivelling one’s head to catch stockinged calf; piling into the car in front when admiring the silhouette of a lady pedestrian using the crossing ahead; pouring soup in one’s lap on catching the eye of a fellow diner mid-spoonful. Spring is hazardous. And it doesn’t stop there. Added to the threats posed by still unsettled weather and distracted navigation, there’s also the probability of considerable disapprobation from the objects of all this uncontrollable gawping. A lot of women find this sudden increase in attention threatening, demeaning or just a bit creepy. And it would be at any other time of year; it’s just that most men don’t really know what they’re doing during this initial phase. They’re like proto-robot humans, negotiating life and social interaction running on a few basic punchcard programmes. It takes time for them to gather feedback data and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
So please don’t be offended or intimidated at men’s springtime artlessness – it’s only nature. And we’ll get it under control; just give us a couple of weeks. Or a month. Well, definitely by the autumn. That’s a promise.
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