A few years ago, an 80-year-old woman asked me for a swimming lesson, and we agreed to meet at the pool one afternoon during a normally quiet time. After the lesson, I showered and dressed, but as I was leaving, I saw her still in her bathing suit standing at the reception desk. “Oh,” the receptionist called to me. “Could you get her clothes out of the men’s locker room?” Before meeting me at the pool, she had gone in there by mistake, changed into her bathing suit and showered. No one noticed (or pretended not to notice). She realized her mistake on returning after the lesson.
A PBS program on human sexuality had a clip showing a silhouette of a male and female side-by-side, beginning as newborns and skimming through their lifetimes in about a minute. The silhouettes were adjusted to the same height to concentrate on only the difference in shape.
As children, it was hard to tell which was which. Then puberty kicked in and—Bam!—the difference was dramatic, even grotesque, like spawning salmon. But then, as they aged, the difference curiously became less and less until around age 60 they were again difficult to tell apart. The explosive physical sex difference was shown as merely a temporary anomaly.
Look at any older couple (like us) and imagine them the same height. Any difference? Yes, but not much. I see them every day in their bathing suits and their suits are more different than they are.
And that guy at the corner locker? Well, don’t look too closely.