MANHOOD (1994)

Geist - - Photoessay -

For years, I vis­ited two neigh­bour­ing houses whose messy yards ap­peared to gen­er­ate chil­dren in the way rags and wheat were once thought to gen­er­ate mice. Every time the kids spot­ted me, some­one would yell out, “The picture guy is here!” There was al­ways half a dozen or more of them play­ing in the yard or the street, or be­ing teased by the young, sin­gle men who also lived there. The kids’ par­ents, some­what to my dis­tress, seemed not to know “par­ent” as a verb, and never ques­tioned my pres­ence. This young man was show­ing off his lit­tle friend to me and, in­ex­pli­ca­bly, lifted up his shirt. Another young man who was watch­ing us saw my con­fu­sion. “You know why he do that?” he asked, lift­ing the hem of his own shirt. I ad­mit­ted that I didn’t. “Why, he a man!” the friend said. I still don’t know if it was the well-mus­cled torso or the “Pooh and Friends” stitched into the broad waist­band of his un­der­wear that pro­claimed his mas­culin­ity.

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