aggressive mouth and determined jaw gave no inkling of the heart of gold she insisted lay beating in
the depths of her beefy bosom. She turned to the elderly hippie beside her.
‗Lysander, this fine specimen of manhood is Sebastian—he was my best paperboy.
Lysander stood and held out a limp hand. As skeletal and feeble as Martha was robust, his grey
hippie ponytail and ridiculous earring made him seem much older than he was, while sagging faded
Speedos exaggerated the scrawniness of thighs and buttocks. A warm voice and smile compensated
for the wrinkles, so Sebastian took the proffered hand and waggled it about.
‗Sit!‘ Martha ordered, patting the towel between her and Lysander.
Sebastian sat, wondering what would be their reaction if the cord round his waist or between his
legs broke and his cods burst forth.
‗Lysander is an anthropologist,‘ Martha announced proudly.
‗How nice,‘ Sebastian replied, having not the faintest notion what an anthropologist was.
Both adults were staring silently at his pouch.
Obeying an urge to display his charms he leaned back on his elbows.
‗I want to congratulate you,‘ Lysander said in a husky voice, his gaze never wavering from the
apparently swelling yellow pouch.
Sebastian frowned at the older man. ‗What for?‘ He asked sharply, hoping the fellow was only a
voyeur and not expecting to touch the display.
‗One of my fields of study is expressions of male sexuality in different cultures. It‘s an extension
of Margaret Meade‘s work in the Pacific Islands.‘
Sebastian nodded in incomprehension, relieved that his penis had changed its mind.
‗Did you know that more than half of all Australian men are more or less impotent, and eighty-
two percent feel insecure about their bodies and sexuality?‘
Sebastian shook his head.
‗This insecurity and inability to achieve an erection translat es into anger and depression. Most
people don‘t realise how this, and female reactions to the problem makes men feel so frustrated and
angry it can lead to wife-beating and rape.‘
‗Gosh.‘ Sebastian wondered what this had to do with the present situation. Was the old bugger
referring to the fact that his erection had failed to develop?
‗Did you know that boys do much better in single-sex schools than in co-educational schools
because of this sense of inferiority?‘ Lysander looked up owlishly.
‗No,‘ Sebastian replied, awed that someone had studied such things, still wondering what it had
to do with him. ‗I go to a single sex school.‘
Ignoring the interruption Lysander ploughed on. ‗The recent origins of male self- image problems
appeared in the late nineteen seventies, early eighties, when an upsurge of U.S.A. fundamentalist
Protestant Puritanism decreed that men should hide their thighs with Bermuda shorts. After that
they had to hide their chests with T-shirts. Then they had to hide the shape of their genitals even
when swimming with the dreadful board shorts. Lethal things that fill with water, prevent boys from
learning to swim properly, and cause several drownings a year.‘ He paused for a much needed
breath. Tar- filled lungs are no use to an orator.
‗Fortunately, my generation was not like that,‘ he continued loudly, looking round to include the
dozen or so people nearby who were staring with undisguised curiosity. ‗We wore brief shorts, went
bare-chested all summer, swam in bikinis, and were proud of the bulges in our groins! We are the
last emotionally healthy generation of Australian males and I had despaired for the future until I
saw you! You are magnificent! You walk confidently, unashamed, proudly exposing the muscles
that lifted humans above the other apes.‘
He paused as if for applause.
Sebastian was too embarrassed to speak or listen properly and there were titters from the
spectators. If Lysander epitomised sexy manhood in middle age, then Sebastian hoped he‘d die
‗Thanks, I think. But not everyone agrees with you. Someone over there yelled that I was an