As we approach our late 70s and into our 80s, our bodies become disgusting even to ourselves, and many ladies think, “Who would be interested in this?” Then they get a big surprise.
For about twenty years, I worked part-time as a lifeguard at our local community center pool and many of the women still feel free to confide in me. I am shocked how so many older men, honorable-appearing men with grown children and families, hit on them. “Hitting” is putting it mildly. They are out-and-out propositions, and it would go further if the men were not close to dotage. “Proposition” is probably the wrong word, too, because it suggests a bargain of some sort, but the men are offering nothing in return.
Ladies, you probably have your own story to tell, but it is not just you. It is very common. What are the men thinking? I am embarrassed for them, and I think this is one of the last unspoken topics of sex.
In one of my favorite movies, Moonstruck, starring Cher, the character of her mother, played by Olympia Dukakis, is eating alone at a restaurant when she witnesses a scene at the next table involving a man her age with a much younger woman who throws her drink in his face and storms out. Mom and the embarrassed man talk and eventually walk home together, when he mildly hits on her—absolutely true-to-life. She rebuffs him, pointing out that she is a married woman who knows who she is. He is just afraid of dying, she tells him. Dukakis plays it perfectly, saying it matter-of-factually without recrimination, without preaching, as if she were explaining farm animal behavior to a child.
Words of wisdom! Men tend to equate their sex life with life itself, and they will try to keep both going long after it is pointless (no pun intended). They have a wife who probably looks just fine and treats them well, but that is not who they want. They are seeking conformation that they still have something physically desired, that death is not right around the corner. This is powerful stuff, easily trumping vows of honor and commitment.
I have been seeing on TV an ad showing a gray-bearded man in his 70s who, we are told, is the most interesting man in the world. He has a 20-something bimbo on each side. “Stay thirsty, my friends,” he tells us, looking into the camera. More like the most deluded man in the world, it seems to me. I was relieved to discover he is an actor, Jonathan Goldsmith, with no illusions of immortality, playing a role he himself developed.
I am reminded of our old tom cat who was long neutered but would still occasionally try to hump a soft toy or pillow that he suddenly found attractive. “Stupid cat!” I would tell him. “Look down. They’re gone. You don’t have it anymore.” It didn’t matter. Just as with many men, the habit was still there just waiting for a soft toy.
I am only bringing up the subject, not giving advice. You ladies must have known this for a long time, no doubt see it for what it is, and have worked out your own way of dealing with the problem that never goes away.