Musical Love

by Regis Boff

We played musical chairs in grade school. I would guess first and second grade. There would be chairs sitting in the middle of the gymnasium in an oval. We would all have one to sit on. The teacher would take out one chair.

Beating up girls never happened in my hometown. Grown men did that. If you did hit a girl, you would be swatted with a paddle that hurt badly. The lesson for us was not about hitting women. It was more about being a sissy. To a young boy sissy meant to be like a girl. The message was that if you hit a girl you were like a girl.

After the first chair came out, the teacher would start the song on the record player. We would slowly march around and around until the music stopped, and then all bets were off and we battled to get a chair. There were strategies though I suspect they were at best flimsy. The further you were away from the empty seat the slower you would move. The closer to it the faster. It wasn’t Sun Tzu.

If you loved the girl, you walked behind; occasionally a chivalry would reveal itself. You would let her win. We did not know then that the girls did all the positioning.
Men learn about petting by shoving. It is a potent concoction of the two things we crave most, violence and touching women. I don’t remember what I was thinking then. I know though that when a girl wrestled with you, it meant something. It was erotic and committal. Girls know what it means. Boys can only imagine. Men live with uncertainty and advantage all their lives. Woman deal with certainty and disadvantage throughout theirs.