Bringing out the inner boy


Boys will be boys, I hear collective womanhood say with a resigned sigh.

We’re on a boat, a replica of a Chinese junk, on a day cruise out of Koh Samui, all very sophisticated.  We’ve pulled into a pristine bay, and jumped off the boat to swim and snorkel.  Back on the boat, there are two hand-held showers to rinse off the salt water.  Two girls come up and demurely shower themselves.  Then two blokes in their forties come up together and within 5 seconds, instead of rinsing themselves, they are squirting each other with the nozzles, making a simple operation into a rambunctious playtime;  turning a shower into a water fight is obviously the most natural thing in the world to do.

It takes that fraction of time for the inner boys in two grown-up men to burst out.  I saw it again a week or two later.  Three blokes, two in their 60s and one in his seventies, are looking at a little bluetooth speaker one of them has bought.  Admiring the speaker lasts about a minute, then they have to see how well it will work held upside down over a cup, or underneath the cup, or sitting on top of a tin, or covered up by the tin; all the while accompanied by mischievous sniggers.  Do you ever get too old for your inner boy to show through?

I sure as hell hope not.  We, men, have some pressing need to be boys again.  In fact we can’t fight it even if we try, much to the disgust and disapproval of our women.  Maybe it’s because we have to spend so much time being serious:  working, providing, fathering, husbanding.  We just seem to have the capacity to see any given object or situation as having the potential for doing something silly.

Women will sit around a fire pit in the backyard, chat amiably and appreciate the romantic glow of the coals.  It won’t be very long, though, before blokes will be seeing what else there is to burn, how high the flames can go, whether there is anything they can put in the fire that might explode, and what they can pull out of the fire to do something stupid with.  In other words, exactly what they would have done around the bonfire on Cracker Night when they were 10.

So I reckon I’ll know, when I no longer want to get out my Nerf gun and see if I can get the projectiles to bounce off the hall wall to ricochet around the corner, that I’m ready for the nursing home.

Or maybe that’s the problem – I’ve never seen a Nerf gun in a nursing home.

david white, 60 going on 13

(image from

  1. September 29th, 2014
    Trackback from : Racing the train | Being 60

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