Sunday, July 8, 2012

Truth is Beauty, Beauty - Hooters!

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My oldest son is a fine, upstanding young man. So it was no surprise that he wished to celebrate his 17th birthday with an evening of fine dining at that most dignified of restaurants, Hooters. Three of his best buds accompanied him, despite the fact that it was a school night; somehow, each of them decided that his studies could wait.

“H-O-O-O-O-O-TERS! H-O-O-O-O-O-TERS!” was the primal war cry as we pulled into the parking lot. However, as soon as we entered the premises, their bravado was replaced by a hushed awe: we had entered the Sanctuary of Scantily Clad She-Creature. In Girls We Trust, E Pluribus Bosom.

With reverent docility, they were lead to a bar-height table and took their stools in utmost silence. Another Nymph of Impressive Decolletage arrived to take their drink orders. Drinks? Even the words “ice water” could not be uttered in the presence of such a fine female specimen, whose secondary sex glands brushed oh-so-gently against the surface of the table.

As soon as she retreated, the banter began among the young bucks: “Dude, she LIKED you!” “She’s not so great.” “Yeah, but I’D hit that!”

In this midst of this posturing, I couldn’t help thinking back 17 years, to the overwhelming joy I felt upon seeing my son’s face for the first time: his eyes were wide with wonder as he looked around at all the bright lights. So much to discover, so much to explore. His expression then was not terribly different from the one he wore now as he gazed at all the lovely ladies surrounding him, performing the “Hooter-Pokey” (don’t ask).

Yet so many things had changed since then: the hospital where he was born was torn down . . . the house we brought him home to was razed and completely remodeled . . . the business his father ran was sold and the property plowed under. Even the marriage itself was no more. But one thing remained unaltered: the love I felt for this beautiful boy.

It's a well-known fact that babies don't come with instructions, but no one warns you about the AVALANCHE of love that hits you from the git-go. Swagger as he may now, I could still see his innocent infant face searching mine, as if gazing upon a constellation.

Like all fantasies, this one in Hooterville had to end. A bevy of beauties blew the boys kisses and called a flirty farewell, sirens in reverse. The guys gazed at the dazzling damsels for as long as they could, as if to impress those images in their feverish male imaginations.

On the ride home, the swagger returned: “I’d do her if her tits were bigger.” “What’s WRONG with you?” “Did you catch the Winnebagos on that blonde?”  “Brunettes are more intense, dude! It’s a FACT.” 

Somehow, the conversation drifted from mammaries to matrimony, as the fancies of the young men turned to the qualities they wanted in a wife. From there, they discussed what the names of their children would be. Now it was my turn to be filled with wonder: who knew boys thought about this, too?

My son had obviously given this a lot of thought. When it was his turn, he declared with authority: “I want my son to be named ‘Chance.’”

Chance: the perfect name for the challenges of parenthood. The perfect description for how our kids turn out.

I teared up, trying to imagine my son beginning his own journey into parenthood. I imagined holding my grandson, knowing his father would show Chance how to be a part of a world I would never see.

If he’s lucky, I thought, his dad will take Chance to Hooters on his 17th birthday. The "Hooter-Pokey" is a rite of passage not to be missed.