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Saturday, February 18, 2006



Do you believe that second puberty exists? What the hell is second puberty actually?

About ten years ago, I had a private student, a woman, around mid thirties, a housewife whose husband was always busy with his business and she had a babysitter to take care of her children, and housemaids to take care of her household chores. She took English private lesson with me perhaps only to fill her abundant idle time.

At that time, she asked me whether I believed in second puberty. I didn't know what it was exactly. Then she said to me, "Nana, I think it happens to people after they come to the age of mid thirties for women, and forties for men. I believe in it coz now I am experiencing it. ..." Then she told me about a good-looking man around her neighborhood that she said was attracted to her. She concluded it from the way that guy looked at her, smiled at her. Again she said, "It's not about love, Nana. It's not about sex, either. Well ... just attraction. He really makes me feel happy every time we meet. Well, I don't date him, we just happen to meet coz he lives in the same neighborhood with me. Later, after you come to my age, you will undergo it yourself. I believe."

I made a conclusion at that time (with my naivete) that second puberty means that someone is attracted to another person apart from his/her spouse. Or, probably, the routine boredom comes to the couple, and they need a change. Or, did it happen to that private student of mine coz she didn't get enough attention and love and care from her busy businessman husband? So that she needed to get it from another guy?

Unfortunately, that lady didn't take a long time to take private English class with me so that I didn't know what happened after that with her and the guy she had a crush on.

In August 2005, I got another private student. She is in the beginning of her forties, a housewife too, whose husband is very rich so that I believe she never experiences how it feels when the price of gasoline soars crazily. Similar with my private student 10 years ago, she has some housemaids and babysitters that take care of her household chores and children so that she doesn't need to make herself busy at home. In addition, she is outstandingly pretty so that I believe she has many admirers for her physical beauty.

With this private student of mine, I spent some time to go sightseeing in malls, to have lunches at food court, go to cafes, etc. I observed that she loved wearing sexy clothes when she went with me (she said I made her feel comfortable to wear anything, though I didn't see any relationship with me, how could going around with me make her feel comfortable to wear sexy clothes? I myself mostly wear my 'uniform', long black dress and black blazer, not 'inviting' at all!) She also felt comfortable to show inviting body language to any 'macho' and good-looking guy we met in malls. (I was wondering how she made me feel as a 'scapegoat'? I am the one who made her feel comfortable to do those two conspicuous things--wearing sexy clothes and showing inviting body language.)

It made me suspicious if this pretty lady was 'suffering from' second puberty. She no longer feels confident with herself whether she is still pretty and attractive enough so that she needs to attract those guys' attention demonstratively. One time, while we were having lunch in one food court in Semarang, she said to me, "Nana ... I really enjoy looking at people around us." Coolly I asked, "And, after 'observing' those people around, what is your conclusion?" Proudly she said, "One similar thing, I always find that they are so amazed to see me; to see a pretty lady, ME." Her facial expression looked so childish at that time.

It made me draw a different conclusion about second puberty than my definition 10 years ago. Second puberty is a kind of 'mental illness' that happens to someone who no longer feels confident that he/she is still attractive. To compensate that inferiority, he/she needs to attract people's attention demonstratively. It is not merely about having a crush on somebody else who is not someone's spouse.

When does second puberty come to someone's life? Mid thirties? Early forties? Mid forties? Does it always come to anybody's life? Or does it happen only to people who don't get enough attention, love, and care from their spouse? Do people always need it for a 'change' to overcome boredom in their routine life?

This pretty private student of mine sometimes teased me, "Wait till you come to your forty years of age, Nana, and you will undergo 'second puberty' like me." Well, I think as a teacher, I already get a lot of attention from my students, both boys and girls. Sometimes some naughty male students of mine flirt me and, well, I don't mind with it, as long as they don't abuse me. I don't think I will need passers-by's attention to me when I go somewhere. I even often feel abused when I go somewhere and some greedy guys look at me impolitely. I don't enjoy their staring at me, different from that private student of mine who even feels adored. Frankly, when walking with her, or when I walk alone, I sometimes want to throw my high-heeled shoes to those guys with greedy eyes.

I am approaching my forty years of age now. Referring to what my private student said 10 years ago that people undergo second puberty in their mid thirties, well, it is high time for me to experience it, isn't it? LOL. But, no, I don't agree with my (present) private student of mine, that we will feel adored and admired when guys look at us whenever we go. I even feel disturbed with that. Only in the classroom I want full attention from my students, but not outside.

However, as a feminist who thinks that we, women, have freedom to do anything we want, apart from the fact that we are married or not, that we are having relationship with someone or not. That (present) private student of mine absolutely has right to do so, to attract guys' attention. LOL. Only she can control herself, her life, not her hubby, her children, moreover society.

Comment, please? :-D


Running Up That Hill said...

that was very interesting to read. I'm only 20 so I don't think I could add anything to the idea of a second puberty, memories of the first are still fresh in my head.

Do you think maybe second puberty relates to a more cliche phrase "midlife crisis"?

Anonymous said...

Interesting.Wonder if u saw
Find the slippery side of second puberty...