I Have Been There
I didn’t notice the change as it happened.
I no longer laugh when men make fools of themselves in public. This is a symptom of age, I believe; that I can watch as they squeeze past tables in cafes and sit in awkward positions next to couples that were previously engaged in affectionate displays. I can observe, uncritically, they who walk into the ladies toilets or spill coffee down their freshly washed work shirts. I can watch as they sweat profusely, and as they twitch in their football shirts and jeans. The spectacle of mishap is gone.
It is always men.
Something to do with the utter gracelessness of their bodies.
I can also watch the uncivilised actions. Habits and tic’s. The men who stare into space while picking their nose, who readjust their underwear or leave smears of food around their mouths. I no longer find it something to turn away from or share a conceited laugh about. That kind of repressed laughter of youth has gone, and I far prefer what I have now.
It changed in my early thirties, I suppose. A shift of perspective that comes with a knowledge that cannot be gained through books or study. An acceptance of the world, and of myself.
So nowadays I try to catch their eye, passively. Just a tiny connection. The smallest possible. A passing glance or look of recognition. An understanding smile, to let them know.
I am older now. I have been there.