“Get in touch with your feminine side,” she says.


By Bill Derby

“And where that is, God only knows,” I thought.

What and where is the feminine side of a man? My search started years ago and I should know by now. Growing up, I was the only male, and youngest, in our family full of grandmothers, mothers, aunts, cousins, and one sister. I was doted on, maybe as an oddity, and also picked on by my much older sister, Marcia, and first cousin, Deane Jones.

Try as I might to outrun them, those two used me as their guinea pig to dress me up like a girl on numerous occasions. They thought it was cute and laughed at their silly looking little brother in skirt and high heels. Was this what they call your feminine side?

To this very day I can’t begin to know what or where the feminine side of a male is. Heck, are we even supposed to know? I think it’s something the girls made up. Today, I am still trying to understand and communicate more clearly with my bride of 47 years.

I had plenty of opportunities to learn. My mom used to drag me shopping with her. I once even saw my first naked lady in Masengill’s Specialty front store window. They were dressing her bald head and plaster body. It made no impression on me.

Way back in the ‘50s women stayed at home. Men worked. Almost every Sunday we traveled to my grandmother’s for Sunday dinner. After a full lunch the men took naps and the women cleaned the kitchen and talked about family. I hid from my sister and cousin.

In the fifth grade my first introduction to the difference in boys and girls happened when a much taller girl told me I was her boyfriend and she wanted to kiss me, which she did. According to her, we were sweethearts. I was not very impressed with the arrangement. Again, this was probably due to the fact I was not in touch with my feminine side.

In the sixth grade, our North Side elementary school was full of girls, very cute and pretty too. The boys were regularly invited to parties with girls. I think they knew more about what was going on than we did.

Peggy Fawcett Altman was the hostess of many of these boy and girl parties. It was all very innocent and at a time when the girls were more interested in boys than us in them. We listened to Elvis records, drank tall bottled Cokes, and ate potato chips. At one point however, someone, I’m sure it was a girl, suggested we visit Peggy’s bedroom known to the girls as the “kissing room.” A few couples would sneak down the hall and sit around on the side of the bed in the dark. Then in the dark of the night with “Don’t Be Cruel” playing in the background we learned how to kiss on the cheek or even put our arm around a girl.

After one of these episodes as I was walking out of the “kissing room” one of our older classmates who had be held back two class years said, “My mother told me you can get pregnant kissing.”

She said, “What’s a pregnant?” He didn’t know either.

Not long after those parties we soon discovered what all the fuss was about. The boys learned to like kissing too. Kissing the same girl all the time had its advantages and soon you paired off going steady. Most romances lasted at least a couple of weeks, the more serious lasted months. There were even a few that lasted forever, to this very day.

I’m still searching for my feminine side. I’d better find it. Remember the Queen of Sheba, Helen of Troy, Mary Queen of Scots, Martha Washington, Loretta Lynn and others.

Women rule the world. Men just don’t admit it since we can’t seem to get in touch with our “feminine side.”


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