bookMy massage therapist, Jean, recommended a book by Crowley and Lodge called, Younger Next Year.  She said it inspired her to eat well, and set her on a course of regular exercise.

Being inspired to exercise sounded good to me, since I find it difficult to do anything but work, write, cook, see clients and watch some BBC. Jean did not mention, nor did the title, that the book came in two versions, one for men and one for women.

I searched my library and was glad to see the bright yellow book jacket resting happily on the top shelf, waiting for me to tuck it under my arm and take it home, which I did.

The book started out innocently enough, two men talking about the importance of staying fit, one man a physician, the other a 70 year old attorney, who traversed from aliments and retirement, to trim and energetic.

I did wonder if I wanted to read a book written by two men, since I’m not inclined to take advice from men. I find them a little alien and male for my literary tastes, but I forged ahead.

As I turned the pages, I began to wonder how Jean could have felt so excited about the information, and questioned our compatibility as readers. In one chapter, I was jolted out of all propriety when I read, “Get off the couch and exercise, you lazy son of a bitch.”

In another chapter, I learned that nose hair could become a real problem as I got older, and that I’d better plan to find a way of clipping it before my nostrils looked like a home for wolverines.

That was followed by a piece that said I should never neglect shaving in my later years, lest I start looking like Yasir Arafat. It did not end there.

I read that my ears would need tending as well. They advised finding a barber who was good at that, unless I wanted to look old and furry.

I began to have alarming ideas about age. The last straw was a paragraph that told me that guys in their 50 or 60’s could be surprised by suddenly having a penis that curled up like a chow’s tail when erect. “Imagine,” it said, “straight ahead and true for 50 years. And now, it’s looking ever so slightly up at the sky.”

Must I be warned about the future of my husband’s penis?

I closed the book and reached for the phone. Jean! What were you thinking to recommend such a book to me? I can’t believe you even liked it.

When I told her what I had read she began to laugh her lovely light Jean laugh. You must have the book for men, she said. There is a similar one for women. I’ll lend you mine, if you’d like.  At that point I was nearly finished so I declined. Besides, I had not read the chapter titled:


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