I have many interesting discussions with my senior-center buddy who is just days older than me but twice-divorced and single (see May 8, 2010, posting). He is so immersed in the singles scene that he misses some things that are obvious to me, while I would not have thought of many of his first-hand observations.
Marriage is not his problem. He could easily marry any of several women, he tells me, but he values his time with the Phillies and Eagles more than most would tolerate, and he, in turn, could not tolerate their intolerance. Knowing his personality, I agree he should stay single.
At first glance, the mutual advantages of an older relationship seem all to the good and something anyone would seek. But there is one major flaw. Without the draw of a desirable gene pool in the other person that would benefit your shared descendents, the only reason for a relationship is to satisfy your own trivial, selfish needs—for both participants. Each asks, “What can you do for me?” The conflict of these needs can quickly lead to resentment.
His big problem is his need for physical affection that can hardly be called “sex” at our age. He has made the misogynous comment that “women know they have this little treasure chest between their legs, and they make the most of it.” That was my thought, too, in high school, and he finds it still true, although as a metaphor the treasure chest now only contains a little sand and the bottom is rotting out. Often the lid is rusted shut.
Older women increasingly satisfy their physical needs through purchased pampering—frequent manicures, pedicures, hair styling, facials, spas, stone massages, etc.—that they justify as commendable efforts to keep up their appearance. A man, on the other hand, who purchases his physical needs is vilified as a contemptible scumbag.
Women want a man to wine and dine them, to hold the door, and tell them they look better as they get older. But what they mostly want is a listener. “So I told Betty, blah, blah, blah, and she told me, blah, blah, blah,” as her poor male companion struggles to keep his eyes from rolling up into his head.
Women, he bitterly finds, occupy the moral high ground, claiming their desire for platonic companionship is far superior to a man’s crude biological desires, when, in fact, neither is superior, just different. The male is constantly put down for showing the very characteristics that have been crucial for human survival since the beginning of time and that women happily twist to their advantage every day. Many men buy into the women’s view and, as a result, think of themselves as basically contemptible scumbags hiding underneath a thin veneer of civilization.
Hey, I am just the messenger on this. I can only tell my friend he should have tried harder to stay married, precious little comfort at this point.
Johnson (Tyrone Horniegh): Do you believe in the Hereafter?
Buzzi (Gladys): Of course I do!
Johnson: Then you know what I’m here after, heh, heh, heh.
(Wack, wack, wack)