Monday, June 22, 2009

Testosterone Dudes

Men. Ya can't live with 'em, ya can't live without 'em. After all, your life began because of a man (with the help of a woman), so the question becomes, will you spend/end your life with one. And also, who's in control, them or us?

There's no question that men are woven into the fabric of our daily lives, they are an important part of who we are, specifically, who I am. The significant men in my life have been a random cross-section of male personalities, traits and testosterone levels. Great men, good men, not so good men. In an act of self-preservation and an exercise of self-discovery (which I am bravely sharing with the world), I have been thinking about this male/female topic for some time now. Today I have chosen to review the most significant men in my life, beginning with my Dad...

My Dad. Joel Ray Baugh. Tall, skinny, creative, artistic, handsome, ever-searching, tolerant, curious, married to my Mom (Marilyn Jean Frederick) for nearly 50 years (until his death) but separated for almost half of that time, father of 3, dapper dresser, not religious as a result of his Dad and unresolved religious questions, never smoked, a journalist with a temper, unconvinced Christian.

My Grandpa Baugh. James Wesley Baugh. Huge -Texas rancher huge, uncommonly devout, photographic memory, intolerant, baritone, frisky (my grandma's word), never smoked or drank, southern through and through although transplanted to the southwest and California in his mid-30's, married to my Grandma (Zora Middlehouse) for over 70 years, father of 7, a devout Nazarene with a penchant for prayers long enough to run off two sincere LDS elders (mid-prayer).

My Boppy. Harold H. Frederick. Small, quiet, huge smile, dedicated to my Mimi (Jessie Eliza Parkins) and married to her until his death, birth father of one son who died at birth, adoptive father of 1 (my mother, Marilyn Jean Frederick), mid-western through and through, dapper dresser, always wore a hat, smoked a pipe, lifetime employee of Paxton, Illinois' one and only men's clothing store, community church member and regular attendee.

My Brother. James Frederick Baugh. Tall, skinny, handsome, creative, artistic, compassionate, tolerant, native Californian who was born, lived and died there, window designer for Saks and Nieman Marcus in Newport Beach, baptized a Mormon when he was 18, musician, artist, considered my kids as his own, adored, conflicted on his sexuality until he was an adult, died of AIDS in 1985 after being diagnosed just 6 months earlier.

My Uncles. Dad's three brothers. Wes, Glen, and Leo Baugh. Wild, rebellious, fun, with great belly laughs, one with red hair, one bald, one so handsome and successful he dated starlets, all married and divorced at least once, not religious because of their father's overly zealous religious demands, all fathers, some successful, some not, a butcher, a bartender and a rancher.

My Sons. Kurt, Kollin and Kyle Avarell. Three hard-working, spiritual and honorable young men who have made choices in life that will make them successful, comfortable in their own skins, and joyful. Two former LDS missionaries. They inspire me every day.

My Sons-In-Law. JR Jorgensen and (soon) Logan Washburn. Two hard-working, spiritual and honorable men who each chose one of my daughters to spend their lives with. I love them and appreciate them both.

My Grandsons. Daelan, Kiel and Jespen Jorgensen. These three young men inspire me daily with their zest for life, their energy, their enthusiasm. Just the thought of them makes me smile. Regular church goers, probably future missionaries.

My Friends and More. Wally Cook, kissed him on the bus in kindergarten which created quite a ruckus and required a note from the bus driver to my Mom concerning my behavior, my first lesson in love. John Barker, my Mom loved John because he had perfect table manners and knew how to correctly eat soup from a bowl by pulling the spoon toward you, rather than pushing it away from you; typical heart-throb guy, later played the guitar and sang in clubs; a real heart-breaker; lost him to a friend with a knock-out figure - my first lesson in the reality of male hormones aka testosterone; Grif Thomas, great friend from 4th grade on, quiet spirituality, musical, talented, smart, we dated quietly and randomly in high school/college, my first lesson in how NOT to win the guy, he married a great gal and I still keep in touch with Grif, Sue and their family. Charlie Goodspeed, long-term boyfriend through high school, spotted him at a Community Hall "concert" featuring a local band in the summer of 1969, reconnected at our high school football game the following year and dated him from 1969 until 1974, a brainiac with a penchant for technology before it even existed, tall, dark, handsome, devoted, in control, educated, doubting spirituality, first lesson in what kind of guy I wanted to end up with, he married a redhead named Jan and they are still happily living in northern California. Kory Avarell, the father of my children. Tall, handsome, white eyebrow, BMW's, funny as heck, played the guitar, talented, smart, served a Mormon mission in Guatemala, baptized me in Lake Arrowhead, shared the best years of my life (he had me at "hello"), together for over 20 years, married for nearly 18 years, divorced in 1993. He still makes me laugh. Roy Jespersen, a great friend since 1976, talented, handsome, educated, self-assured, smart, funny, creative, tolerant, in control, philanthropic, spiritual, father of 3, a huge influence in my life over the years and a great example of a successful marriage (with Anne) following devastating divorce, I consider Roy and Anne friends for life. Kim Belcher, the friend I shouldn't have married, and I (we?) knew it immediately (on our honeymoon) but still gave it a short, but too long, run. Hal Krisle, "the man I had been waiting for" was my immediate thought when I first saw Hal; tall, dark, handsome, devout Mormon, hard worker, opinionated, devoted, uber-patient in some things, not-so-patient in others, supportive, smart. Married in 1998, I will always love this man. Bill Hunt, my 25+ years friend, the husband of my best friend, Dee, and my boss for several years at Suncadia; a good man with a good heart, hard working, successful, in control, semi-tolerant, self-assured, father of 3, converted Mormon, charming, handsome, tall, smart, educated, a great mentor, I consider Bill and Dee friends for life. Neal Ackerly, the PhD that showed me more in a few years about some aspects of life than I had learned in the past twenty; in control, supportive, naively spiritual, karma-seeking, unassumingly charming, handsome, intelligent, redneck, tolerant, self-assured, archeologist, over-educated, father of one son, a friend for life. Miscellaneous, the many men who have befriended, counseled, chastised, educated, supported, loved, left, advised, played with, mourned with, celebrated with, and basically kept me going from birth to this day through quiet acts of kindness, moments of rare selflessness, road trip therapy or outright generosity, some from my youth, some from my young married life, some professional relationships, some from this more mature place in life, and even some newly formed friendships; former teachers, bishops, pastors, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, church leaders, professors, boyfriends, friends, and chance acquaintances.

So many different men, so many different personalities, so much influence on me. Funny. Smart. Tolerant. Educated. Spiritual or Religious. In control. These are the very few commonalities. Well, and testosterone, of course.

Interesting: Funny. Smart. Tolerant. Educated. Spiritual. In control. Hmmm.

I love the male species. I have learned much from this bunch of testosterone dudes and I am grateful for every one of them. However, I have to admit that I love some a lot more than others. There's a reason we are supposed to partner and live our lives "two by two", and it's simple - we like testosterone, and they simply can't live without us!

The male species. Ya can't live with 'em, ya can't live without 'em. How to sum this up? As I said in an earlier post: It's a zoo out there! The animals are going wild. The testosterone is raging. The dudes have come out to play; some are hiding behind hormone-supported walls, but most are charmingly boyish behind that aloof yet commanding veneer.

So wait, who's in control?

I honestly don't know, but I do know this: If it's a man, I hope he has a loyal (and patient) woman by his side to help along the way!

Village People "YMCA"

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