Mama's Boy

When all else fails, as it often does,
there is the beach.

By Jules Siegel

I didn't return to the United States for my mother's funeral and I didn't shed a single tear either. The news came too late for me even to refuse to go. That, actually, was the most depressing part. As you might have guessed by now, I didn't like her very much.

Suffice it to say that I had good reason. My beloved wife, beautiful Anita Brown, knows the whole story. When she's stuck for a good answer during a fight she can always fall back on, "You are treating me this way because your mother was so horrible that you can't have a normal relationship with a woman."

She could be right about that. Often we have these arguments when we come back from the beach. We have lived in Cancun since 1983. Cancun has its good points and its bad points. When all else fails, as it often does, there is the beach. On the beach there are many women of all different ages, some of whom are in various stages of undress, ranging from skimpy bikinis to the occasional topless tanga.

I'm just your average drooling Jewish guy from the Bronx when it comes to these sights. You young people may take this all in stride, but I can still remember when women wore black dresses into the water.

Frolicking topless in the surf

Well, no, I can't, really, but I do recall pictures of relatives in these outfits in the family album. Now here I am at the age of 58, still trying to learn to say "young women" instead of "girls," and there are blonde German girls (oops!—young women) frolicking topless in the surf while I do my best to pretend to be concentrating on Byte magazine.

The worst is when Anita and I are chatting and a Fraülein Schmidt arrives behind her and begins taking it all off except for her tanga bottom. Fraülein Schmidt must now bend over to arrange her beach towel carefully, showing cheeks that would have gotten Hugh Hefner arrested had he published them in 1954.

No, there's nothing wrong, darling.

Anyway, I was just about recovering from my despair at not getting to refuse to go to my mother's funeral when, as fate would have it, we went to the beach and Anita went into the water, while I stayed behind to read the Proceedings of the Modern Language Association.

A dark-haired young woman came back from the sea to an adjoining beach blanket wearing naught but a tiny purple bottom. She was wet from the sea,with a figure like a Greek statue, deeply tanned tawny skin and the kind of breasts I used to study in The New York Times Sunday Magazine brassiere ads before there was Playboy. She had several different kinds of sun lotions, each of which had to be applied several different times.

Watching this should have been a pleasant experience, but I felt furtive and anxious, on the verge of a panic attack. Nonetheless, I became one with those lotions.

When I returned to a normal state of consciousness, Anita was standing over me frowning. "I came up from the water smiling at you and I thought you were watching me," she said.

Later, as we passed the beachside restaurant on our way out to the road, the young woman was at a table with a pony-tailed gentleman, eating something wet and slithery with her hands, dropping it into her mouth. She looked over at me and did not exactly wink, but might as well have.

Well! It does get frosty out there on the beach sometimes, doesn't it? Believe me, you could have used my beloved wife's expression to cool hotels better than airconditioning for the rest of the afternoon.

At home, I watched her undress as avidly as I stare at the girls. Anita is 39 — blonde, blonde, blonde — and looks about fourteen. I met her when she was modeling for Ron Thal, a Playboy photographer friend who sent me her picture. Two children have not damaged her figure in any way.

"Why are you staring at me?"

"Because you are so awesomely beautiful, my love."

If she's annoyed at my staring at her, you can imagine how she feels about them.

A socially redeeming dream

That night, I woke up and realized that the dark-haired sea nymph looked exactly like the pictures of my mother at age 24, when I was born. Here she was again, unreachable, yet casting her darkness between me and my light. I have known for a long time why I prefer blonde shicksas, but never in quite the same way that I know now.

I turned to my sleeping wife and buried my face in her hair and fell asleep again. My mother came to me in a dream and begged me to forgive her so that she could rest in peace. I'll think about it.




Understanding the the
Effects of