Driving home yesterday evening, I noticed a fox crossing the street. They’re common in our neighborhood, especially this time of year, but it’s still so exciting to see them. Clearly, the fox didn’t feel the same way because it didn’t acknowledge me or even allow me two seconds to admire it. This was the best picture I could get.
I’ve heard that foxes are sly, but I never see them acting anything other than nonchalant. They traipse through yards and across streets with ease. If anything, they’re brazen and their frightful mating call is anything but sly.
Is anybody “sly” anymore?
The last time I heard someone described as “sly” was in the 1990’s. I was stage managing a production of The Glass Menagerie. My friend came to see the show and, afterwards, we went out for drinks with the cast and crew. We got a big table and the actress who portrayed “Amanda Wingfield” sat on the other side of my friend.
She was well into her fifties. My friend who was in his early twenties leaned toward me and spoke into my ear.
“She’s very handsy,” he said cautiously. I looked at him and noticed he had a strange smile on his face — one I had never seen before.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“She won’t keep her hands off of me,” he muttered to me. “She’s grabbing my leg right now.”
I thought he was being ridiculous. She was Equity* for god’s sake!
“She’s sauced!” he whispered exasperatedly.
But then I saw her hand not just on his leg, but on his crotch. Mind you, my friend could have excused himself, but he stayed put.
“I’d like to make a toast to all these wonderful actors!” he announced.
“And I’d like to toast our wonderful audience!” she returned.
They laughed and flirted for another fifteen minutes before I finally left. I had never been so confused in all my life. How could she? How could he? How could they?
I told the director about what I saw and she wasn’t even slightly surprised.
“Oh,” the director chuckled, “she’s a sly fox alright.”
I was immediately jealous. How I longed to be a sly fox! I started trying that night. I practiced drinking too much. I wiggled as I laughed and it made men the opposite of horny. I touched men who were older than me in ways that I can only now describe as elder abuse.
No one has ever accused me of being a sly fox, or sly or a fox. And that strange smile my friend had on his face? I’ve seen thousands of smiles over the years but never one quite like that of a young man about to have sex with a woman who was more than thirty years older than him.
Several years ago, I was surprised and saddened to read the obituary for the Equity actress in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She was a truly outstanding “Amanda” and an even better “sly fox.” May she rest in peace.
Thanks for reading my blog. -Connie
*Equity refers to actors who are member of Actors’ Equity Association, an American labor union representing those who work in live theatrical performance.