When I was about 17, my mom went to an honors-night program at the high school I attended. Two of my English teachers leaned over to her and whispered, “You know she’s probably going to end up marrying some 50-year-old English professor, don’t you?”
Mom just nodded and laughed.
I thought of that today, as my students were watching the 1989 movie Field of Dreams in class. There’s a scene in the movie in which a shirtless Kevin Costner and his onscreen wife are lying in bed, discussing his crazy plan to build a baseball diamond in the middle of a cornfield. At the end of the conversation, they kiss.
Several of my girls loudly proclaimed this scene “gross,” on the grounds that Costner has a hairy chest.
I laughed. “That is the only time I have heard a girl refer to Kevin Costner as ‘gross,'” I said.
“But Ms. Priddy, he IS gross! Look at that hair! And they’re OLD!”
Ah, yes. I’d quite forgotten: Wise teenager say man over 30 can’t have sex drive. Ancient proverb, that; I think Confucius came up with it in junior high.
I laughed harder — partly because I am actually older than Costner was when he filmed Field of Dreams, and partly because I remembered my friends’ reactions to the men whose pictures graced the wall next to my bed when I was a teenager: Michael Crawford, Mandy Patinkin, Sean Connery, Omar Sharif. Not one of these charming devils was under 40, and most were older than my parents. I took a lot of static from my classmates over my collection of Neil Diamond albums. Diamond was 50 at the time. Given the opportunity, I would have gone all Pamela des Barres on him in a heartbeat.
Truth be told, if I weren’t married, I probably still would.
I can only imagine how much that thought would gross out my sophomores.