©2012, Mirror Image Presentations
I was watching a classic “silent” film from 1925. In reality, these movies were anything but silent. Usually a score and a full orchestra was engaged at each theater to punctuate the action. The title of this movie was, “The Plastic Age” starring Clara Bow, and Donald Keith. Donald Keith plays a young man named Hugh who is going off to college and of course,
loose Clara Bow plays his seductress.
The young man’s mother has just finished knitting a long pair of underwear for him. “Now son” she says, “remember to wear these long underwear only in the winter,” to which he replies, “jeez Mother, none of those college men wears these.” I wondered how he knew.
Then the father enters the scene and Ma says, “speak to Hugh now, Pa, about the things he should know.” The father closes the door ominously, as he musters up the courage to explain about the birds and the bees to his eighteen year old son. Hugh calmly takes a seat, and begins to listen to what his father has to say. It seemed ludicrous to watch an eighteen year old adult sit down to learn about the birds and the bees, but that is what it was like in an age when a young man was considered ready to marry. Perhaps the fact that their grandparents’ life expectancy was far shorter than it was today might have had something to do with the urgency.
Watching this movie brought back memories of my own (19th century) father taking me aside to explain to me the facts of life. It helped me understand why he (born in 1896) thought fourteen was the right time, but I remember how uncomfortable I felt, as I sat there listening to him, while I wondered, “why is he telling me about things I know already?”
And so it was.
And so it is.