The Old Coot Has a Day at the Beach

“You’ve come a long way, baby!” So touted the ad for Virginia Slims, a new cigarette that was marketed to independent minded women in the late 1960’s. It was true. It is true. Women had, and have, come a long way, breaking free of the shackles that held them back. Now, they stand or fall on their own merits. It isn’t true though, as some social progressives would have you believe, that there is no difference between men and women. Old coots know better. The fundamental difference hasn’t changed since we lived in caves. Men hunt. Women gather, and nest (and do everything else, I might add, including hunting).

I stumble on these differences all the time, pursuing my favorite pastime – people watching. I’ve reported back on many of them – men can’t fold – men don’t listen – men don’t understand the good-bye process – men tape over their wedding video with a Giant’s football game and wonder why their wives are upset. And, as I observed at the beach, men can’t pick out a spot to set up their gear on the sand. 

It was warm and sunny, a perfect day to sit by the water and relax. I watched a brother old coot come out of his car, plop down a combination beach bag/cooler and set up two folding lounge chairs and an umbrella at the first open spot he came to. He sat down, lit a cigar and opened the paper to the sports section. He was in heaven! 

Then the storm clouds blew in; his wife arrived. The battle was on! Mind you, I was too far away to hear a word they said, but I’m a master at reading body language, especially when the sparks are flying. She barked a few sentences in his direction; he shrugged, got up and gathered their stuff and stood there like a dummy, something us old coots do when we’re being supervised. She patrolled the waterfront, measuring the wind, the angle of the sun and other factors. 

Finally, the selection process came to an end. She signaled to the “dummy” to bring their stuff. She told him where to set up the chairs and the umbrella and freed him from her apron strings. He plopped down on his chair but quickly got back up, an appropriate response to the quick jerk of her head and the sharp glare she hurled in his direction. She then brushed off some microscopic grains of sand from the chairs and stood back to assess the layout. The nest was ready!

He sat with a sigh, took a puff on his cigar and reopened the paper. Her work was done, she headed up the beach to examine the goods on sale in a craft market a hundred yards or so off the beach. She went by herself, knowing full well that men don’t know how to shop and she didn’t want a two-year-old (equivalent) tugging at her skit and whining to go back to the beach. 

I didn’t notice if she was smoking a Virginia Slim or not. I was in enough trouble as it was for repeatedly saying, “Yes dear, Yes dear,” while not listening, as is usually the case when I’m distracted by drama such as this. 

Comments, complaints? Send to

Be the first to comment on "The Old Coot Has a Day at the Beach"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.