When I was four years old, my mother, my Aunt Mimi and I were taking a short trip and when we drove past a group of telephone linemen standing in a field, Aunt Mimi said, “Look, there’s Mac.”
The men were looking at a broken pole more than a football field away. There was no way I could pick out my uncle in the group.
Momma couldn’t either and said, “They’re so far away, how in the world do you know which one is Mac?”
Aunt Mimi sighed and said it was easy.
“He’s always the one scratching his butt.”
That was my first awareness of The Man Itch. It’s not even close as to which sex scratches more often. It’s the guys…hands down.
Let me clarify: This isn’t a down-your-pants, seeking-the-treasure kind of dig, but sort of an absent-minded topside rub. If it were done in privacy, it would be different, but it is the audacity of the action that is so surprising. A man can look you in the eye and engage you in conversation, all the while backstroking his rear end as if he thinks you’re unaware of what he’s doing.
One of my most regrettable missed photo ops was that of Dearly Beloved and one of the sons-in-law getting up from the table to watch a replay on television. The two of them stood side by side behind the sofa and in perfect sync, each put a hand to his backside for the Man Scratch. (DB informs me that is NOT a scratch; it’s a caress. )
I don’t know at what age it begins or what sets it off. It is rampant among baseball players, but I give them a little slack because of those uniforms. You probably don’t want to shake hands with a third base coach after a game if you’re a woman. If you’re a man, I don’t suppose it matters.
It’s a phenomenon that leaves women scratching– their heads.