When I was a mere prat growing up on the Carolina coast, there was a Top 40 disc jockey using the unlikely (yet nonetheless unoriginal) name of Charlie Brown, whose on-air shtick included references within the twenty-second weather reports to the "Charlie Brown Skirtwatchers Society, checking those winds." Perhaps this sort of sexist drivel, which presumably peaked around the time Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) came down with The Seven-Year Itch, has become passé — a search of Alta Vista for "skirtwatcher" produced no hits at all — but surely somewhere it took root, because even today, well out of range of either beach music or Marilyn Monroe wannabes, I still watch those skirts - which means, of course, that I'm watching legs.

Maybe it was those last three years in Catholic school. During the Sixties, at least, the girls were not allowed anything remotely resembling pants: plaid skirt in the winter, solid-color in the fall and spring, and Sister Metrica would check for acceptable lengths, so girls, don't get any ideas. The boys, of course, got all sorts of ideas, most of which would cancel out a whole fistful of indulgences, and I, despite being the youngest and dumbest (at least in this regard) of the lot, was no exception. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to fetishize any of my classmates — well, not more than a few of them — but this was, to my pathetic little limbic system, a tremendous amount of flesh on display, and I went through enough neck cranes and pencil droppings to make sure I didn't miss any of it.

That, of course, was then; this is now. Then again, now isn't that much different, and during the summer, when the casual workplace borders on a fantasyland for some of us, it's hard not to be grateful to that rude old deejay from way back when. And perhaps the best thing about it is, while there were, and still are, girls of 15 with great legs, there are quite definitely a fair number of women of 45, 55, even 65, with great legs — and let us not count out Cyd Charisse, an early heartthrob of mine who's still high-kicking on the way to 80. Do I worry that this bit of frivolous voyeurism — or voyeuristic frivolity, if you'd rather — will detract from my Serious Relationships? In the unlikely event that I ever have one, I'll let you know.

The Vent

#205
15 July 2000



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