Posted by: zhak39 | August 18, 2009

The Law of Attraction

A couple of weeks ago I watched the original Omega Man.  This was a pretty big step for me.  You see, when we were young there was this thing called a drive in theatre.  Friday nights, Saturday nights young parents would pack the kids in the back of a station wagon and head for a field with a great big screen.  They would park next to a post that had a speaker about the size of a coffee can and connected to a long wire.  This would hook on the inside of the driver’s side window.


The sequence of events those long ago nights never varied.  We would put on our pajamas after dinner and get in the car.  Dad always drove and he would find us a good spot.  Although we had assigned places on the long bench seat in the back and we did have seat belts we did do a certain amount of rolling over each other (kind of a weebles wobble but they don’t fall down thing).  If we got there early enough we would get to run down to the playground under the screen.  There was a slide and some swings, enough to burn some batteries and work out the excitement of being out of the house in our nightgowns.  Once the fire flies started coming out and the bats swooped on some luckless mosquitoes we’d run back to car.  The movie was starting!  First there would be a family film like The Swiss Family RobinsonThe Computer Wore Tennis Shoes or The Love Bug.  This was way back in the day when Dean Jones looked like all the fathers in the neighborhood and before Kurt Russell tried to put a quarter’s worth of gas in his car to take his girl for a drive.

There was a longish break between the first and the second feature.  Families needed time to reorganize.  Parents went to the back where they lifted the hatches and let down the tailgate.  There’d be some sleeping bags or just some wool blankets.  Each of us had brought the pillows from our beds and these were arranged. Sometimes it was hard to look away from the intermission display of dancing hotdogs and happy faced burgers.  Once we were deposited in what we used to call “the back back” (as opposed to the back seat),  I’m sure there was a certain amount of “he’s touching me!” and “eeeew.  Get your foot away from my face!”  before we settled in.  That was the deal.  Playground, movie, go to sleep.  No variations, that is how it is done.

Except when it’s not.  See, the second movie was not put out by Uncle Walt.  This was mommy and daddy’s time and sometimes mommy and daddy get to watch movies kids wouldn’t be interested in.  Them’s the rules.  You get in the back, get comfortable, go to sleep and you don’t peek over the seat because.  (This was an era when ‘because’ occurred regularly at the end of a sentence.  Because equated with reality and what is, is simply because.)

Only we did.  That’s how my sister ended up seeing Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.  That’s how I had the be-geebies scared out of me watching The Omega Man. Man, for years I freaked out about this movie.  The lead character played by Charleton Heston intrigued and repelled me.  When he needed a new car he just broke into a dealership and drove a new car through the plate glass window.  That was naughty!  But it was kind of cool.  And for the longest time I would look out my window at night and think that I saw ashen face people with iris-less eyes.  Brrrr.  Creepy.

So a couple of weeks ago I decided it’s time.  I am going to watch that movie again and see if it really is as scary as I remembered.  I was going to sit through that sucker (OK, with all the lights left on high and the doors securely locked and maybe I’ll watch it during the day, yeah) and I was going to enjoy it.  And I did.  It actually is a pretty creepy movie.  It has its moments, it has its merits.  It has a pretty good story.

So I was talking to my mother and told her about it.  But I had to share with her something that I didn’t pick up on the first time around.  You see, this movie was made quite awhile ago, in 1971.  While I was too young to be aware of it, there was a whole context in current events and fashions and politics that went unnoticed by a child.  (Yes, this was before there were designer clothes and runway fashion shows for five year olds).  What I noticed about the movie this time around was that Robert Neville, the doctor-hero played by Charlton Heston took several opportunities to take his shirt off.  And generally it was after he had done his daily exercise routine so he was pretty sweaty.  And this is what he looked like.

Let's Go Shopping!

Let's Go Shopping!

I mean, a wee bit creepy.  Maybe worse than the vampire people.

So what’s the point.  Well, it occured to me that this was the image of masculine attractiveness from my early youth and my mother’s young adulthood.  Taking a good look, things have changed.  Here’s a hefty guy, kind of looks like he smells a bit, a little paunchy.  But that’s not the clincher.  I told my mother how my boys are particularly self-conscious about, well, body hair.  You want to really freak a teenager out?  Just say out loud “back hair.”  Talk about distraught, you’ll get a look that is both appalled and slightly nauseated.  Really.   Well, my mom needed to think about that.  She hasn’t really given a lot of thought to what makes macho or who’s the latest hotty hunk in a while.  She has a keen artist’s eye and it doesn’t rest on the superficial.

So the next week when we talked she was laughing.  This is what constituted hot when she was younger.

Everything should be seen in direct HD.  Well, maybe not everything.

(Everything should be seen in direct HD. Well, maybe not everything.)

She started to pay attention to what’s marketed as ooh la la these days.

Mario Lopez and some kid named Adams

Mario Lopez and some kid named Adams

I mean, don’t you think you’d slide right by these guys? Put out a hand to shake and go, zing.  They’re like, like dolphins or something.

So it’s not just young guys and not just hollywood.  How about politics.  Did you know that Putin is now a gay icon based on this shot here?

"I looked in his eyes and saw a good man."

"I looked in his eyes and saw a good man."

But see, he’s still old school.  He’s been outdone, from our very own…

Take that Mother Russia.  Owned.

Take that Mother Russia. Owned.

We had a pretty good laugh about this.  I hope my boys are OK with whatever degree of hair they sprout.  I thought that this body image was pretty much a female thing but it looks like it’s not.  So, if you are a hairy guy, you’re all right by me.  If you’re bald as a baby, that’s cool too. If you are a skinny guy, you’re fine.  If you can’t pick up a pencil with your glutes, that’s okay.  And if you can pick up a pencil with your glutes, you go.

Times change, fashions change, public opinion is manipulated.  But you know what, mom used to say something then that is just as true right now.  “Handsome? she’d say.  Handsome is as handsome does.”


  1. I too, had similar memories of going to the drive in. Times were a little tougher for my folks during the sixties, so things like drive-in movies and going to Carroll’s (a north-east precursor to BK or Micky Ds’) were special events and we had better behave, or we would never go again!
    I still can see the old folks slipping over to the opposite side of the room when our flock came in, often relieved because we behaved, or we would never go again!

    As we grew to dating age, the drive-in became a great excuse for other activities, so there were a lot of movies that I have no memory of. I do remember seeing Kentucky Fried Movie and Groove Tube as a double billing, only because my car wouldn’t start and I had to be towed out of the drive-in. ( That poor girl! The car was supposed to grind to a halt someplace else!)

    As we became more experienced with life, the drive-in started to show dirty movies. The place would be packed. I do remember laughter erupting from the whole lot on many occasions. (and the actors were soooo serious)

    As far as what passes for male hotness, I don’t keep track. (Although, why woman get all excited about mens butts is beyond me. I have asked my wife, but she just smiles.)

    If you really want to skeeze the boys out, try mentioning Brazilians and Speedos. I think that they’ll be grateful to keep any hair that sprouts.

  2. There is still a drive in theater near my parents’ house that does not broadcast dirty movies to whoever can sneak through the woods or sit up on the hill. My sister and I used to make an annual visit with our children. It wasn’t quite the same but it was always a good time. It was exciting for them and fun for us.

    The boys (and the girls) are so accustomed to bathing suits that come past their knees that they would fall out if they saw a Brazilian in a Speedo. When looking for pictures to post I tried not to be totally tacky–thus passed on the photo of Tom Jones in what looks like a bikini bottom. You can thank me later.

  3. Joe Namath in pantyhose is another hunky hairy photo.

    I think there’s something unnatural about no body hair. Looks like folks are all cancer patients. Especially Putin.

    For relatively in-shape guys, Putin and Obama have large man-boobs. To me that’s much more difficult to look at than body hair.

  4. I hadn’t thought of the Joe Namath commercial in a long time. Boy did that upset my grandmother! I see that it’s on youtube. I should send it to my son.

    Then again, my son buys jeans in the girls department at T.J. Maxx. I don’t think he’ll get it.

    • Yes, but will he take a Midol if he has a headache? As I recall, he has an uncle who had a problem with that.

  5. You have an incredible memory! I had to think about that one for a bit. Yes, his uncle was concerned about Midol turning him into a girl! Funny.

    My son discovered that the same cut of skinny rocker jeans that cost about $80 for guys at Hot Topic can be picked up (in larger junior sizes) at discount stores for $5. And I can assure you he is quite certain of his masculinity (see My Son is a Babe Magnet?).

  6. One of your best posts evah. Thank you for the eye candy.

  7. So glad to have you stop by, dahlink.

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