The Ab Dilemma

Tarzan has great abs

I was driving the kids to school one cold, foggy morning, when my daughter announced, “I have something I want to say.” Sometimes, this is the six-year-old version of, I’m not exactly sure how to break this to you, but… and sometimes it’s her way of trying to shut her older sister up for just one freaking moment so she can get a word in edgewise. On this particular moment, it was more the former than the latter.

“I don’t like the Tarzan movie,” she declared. “It’s too sexy.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, which is the grown-up version of, I was totally not listening to you until you said the word ‘sexy.’ “The movie was too scary?”

“No,” she replied. “It’s too sexy.”

Flashback to the night before. I was making dinner and enjoying a nice glass of wine when the kids asked if they could watch the Tarzan movie. I poked my head around the corner, looked at the TV, and saw a promo shot from the film of an animated, wide-eyed Tarzan smiling at his anthropomorphic gorilla pal. “Is it free?” I asked. They replied in the affirmative and so I let them have at it. But judging by my daughter’s reaction to the film, I must have mistakenly allowed my children to watch Tarzan: Lord of Her Jungle or the latest installment of Fifty Shades of Greystone.

“Oh, well, that’s interesting,” I said, which is Parent-Speak for Give me a moment to get my shit together on this, because the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet. “So, honey, what does the word ‘sexy’ mean?”

I was pretty proud of that response. I could have gone straight Quaker Oats Guy with a bowl full of 17th-century morality, shutting down this whole ‘sexy-talk’ thing and admonishing her to never use that grown-up word again. Instead, I went for the “Describe To Daddy What The Bomb Looks Like” option, because what may sound like a  nuclear warhead could in fact turn out to be a firecracker.

“Sexy is when a boy has abs,” she said.

Well. At least she was right.

My Ab Dilemma is not my abs, for I do not have them

And this is the ab dilemma. What freaked me out was that somehow my six-year-old Unicorn Princess of Light and Wonder had, at some point, heard the word ‘sexy’ and the word ‘abs’ and put one plus one together to equal six-pack. Was I responsible for this? As a prototype, middle-aged Cis Male Guy, it’s difficult to think that I sat there on the couch with my kids one night, watching TV, and off-handedly blurted out, “Holy wow! Look at the abs on that sexy guy!” Not to mention the fact that this would peg the needle on the Creepy Scale. This had to come from some other source.

Strangely, I remember to this day the first time I heard the word ‘sexy’ come out of my own parents’ mouth. I was about ten, and one evening, while watching Space: 1999 on TV, my dad told me we had to change the channel to The Tom Jones Show. I protested in that whiny way that ten-year-olds have down to an art form. “Your mom wants to watch it,” dad shut me down. “She thinks Tom Jones is sexy.”

Tom Jones has sexy abs. Maybe.

Uh…you decide

“What’s sexy?” I asked.

My parents looked at each other silently, my mom’s face awash in that expression I now recognize to mean brilliant move there, Don.

“Sexy is…” my mom began. “It’s like, well, um…Tom Jones is sexy.”

Got it. And this is why I spent my teenage years decked out in Angels Flight suits and got my hair permed. No, as a matter of fact, it did not get me laid. However, the long-term effect of this lesson was that these questions, as flippant or innocent as they may be, can have formative effects, and my response to the ab dilemma could become one of the blocks in the life-long game of Jenga that is Love & Sex.

“Well, sorry about that,” I said. “Tarzan should wear a shirt anyway. Lots of bugs in the jungle. Want to watch The Loud House instead tonight?”

“Yay!” she squealed.

Or sometimes, you just kick the can down the road a little.

The Ab Dilemma pairs with the 2013 Cardinale Proprietary Red Blend, Napa ValleyTarzan’s-Abs-Sexy Pairs With: The 2013 Cardinale Proprietary Red Blend, Napa Valley. 

Mother of God, talk about a wine with an ab dilemma. Put your shirt back on. Chris Carpenter, winemaker for Cardinale, crafted the 2013 from an assortment of parcels, most of them mountain sites on Diamond Mountain, Mt. Veeder and Howell Mountain. As such, this Cabernet Sauvignon expresses all the nuclear-fueled power of the 2013 vintage, wrapped in the polyester, button-down-shirt sexiness of a classic Bee Gees album. But not unlike the brash, young Tony Manero himself, this wine needs a good decade to grow up and realize there’s more to life than the coolest dance moves. The expression “drinkable now” does not apply here: this is an unscrupulous wine that will make you take to Twitter with your tales of violation if you dare take it home. However, it’s easy to tell that in ten years – and for another twenty after that – it will find its mature and feminine side, and yield evenings of sublime pleasure. Get it, put it in your cellar, sing What’s New Pussycat? to it every so often and try to be patient. This is a guaranteed classic.

Remember to pickup the Hard Cover version of my novel, Pairs With Life. It’s out now!

19 thoughts on “The Ab Dilemma”

  1. have to agree with your daughter… Tarzan is sexy! I mean come on beyond the abs~ swinging through the trees, talks to gorillas and other animals “Tarzan loves Jane” as his major vocabulary… S-E-X-Y! :O)

  2. The Johnny Weissmuller version of Tarzan in the old black and white movies on TV gave me my very first gut version of what sexy was. I may not have known what the word was but I knew what the feeling was. Funny thing- I still think that Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan was an incredibly beautiful man. And when the movies were just starting to be made, before the dang Hays Code began to be enforced in the 1930’s, they let Tarzan wear almost nothing. Jane, too, actually. Truly scandalous! Check out this picture:
    I believe I have the vapors now.

  3. oh my goodness this is golden! Hilarity at its best and totally made my Monday. Love your response and honestly… a perfect response! I just adore those two little gals. 🙂

  4. Wow. This is definitely priceless. MY mother LOVED Tom Jones. She used the exact same words, “He’s Sexy” – couldn’t describe him any other way. Cherish those moments with the girls. They grow up so fast. lol 🙂

  5. The days of distraction are over in my house. My daughter is 15 and her sister is 13 but there was a time I could play your game and I must admit I was as good as you. Enjoy the moment, my friend, ten years will pass in a blink of an eye. I must go and take sneak peak at Tarzan aka Fifty Shades. Or I could just ask my 15 year old about it. Deep Sigh…..

    Thank you for sharing. Brought back memories. 🙂

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