# 26: A Man’s Reach Exceeding his Grasp.

 (Girls in Summer)

        I am ravaged by this exquisite photo, yes, but all the while I have to ignore the importunate tug at my pant leg from the snot-nosed child of Political Correctness, loosed upon me by its deadly, tut-tut, bureaucratic parents.    
       Apparently, in these jaw-clenching times, the large, fecund metaphor which is the wellspring of my joy in the photograph—Girl-as-flower and Vice-Versa—will really not do.  Hell, even the word “girl” is everywhere suspect.  Okay then, “Young Women in Summer”?  Well, I dunno, it doesn’t have much zip.  It sounds like the sign on an office door.
     The truth is, I love the girl-as-flower metaphor and I want to love it publically.  I don’t want to keep the concept under my bed and steal furtive looks at it when the lights are low.  What a pleasure it is to get cartoon-silly with the idea: girls as inescapably charming, desirable, chromatically-rich, fragrant beings, open to the boy worker bee, who is so amusingly urgent about sampling her nectar!  “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, “wrote Robert Browning in his poem, “Andrea del Sarto,” (1855) “or what’s a heaven for?”  Why, it’s almost a recipe for fantasy.
       I have back-up for my taking up residence in the floral midst of this sensuous flower-girl metaphor: it comes from the great and Olympian Jorge Luis Borges in the second of his lectures making up This Craft of Verse (Harvard, 2000).

       Borges is discussing the power and pleasure of metaphor, that beautiful, engendering thing.  He starts into his discussion of the woman-as-flower metaphor by noting that this particular trope is “something that may cause you to smile: the comparison of women to flowers, and also of flowers to women.”  Well, yeh, it does make me smile—but not in an impatient, condescending way.  It makes me smile in a good, robust, life-enhancing way.  It brings out the worker bee in me.