I learned an important life-lesson from Fred Astaire as he was interviewed on TV a few years before he died in 1987. He was in his 80s and had recently remarried after his first wife died many years before. He was using the interview to present his new wife to the world. She was only in her 40s and was a noted horsewoman and jockey. She had never been married before and looked masculine and defensive, almost his opposite. If I saw her on the street, I would assume she was lesbian without thinking much about it. But in the interview Astaire went on and on about what a wonderful person she was, when it was obvious to the viewers the only thing wonderful about her was that she could stomach any presumption of intimacy with a man in his 80s, even Fred Astaire. Their relationship seemed similar to the earlier weak-man/domineering-woman relationship of Britain’s Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.
It reminded me of when Anna Nicole Smith was fighting to get her inheritance from her diseased and much older husband, billionaire J. Howard Marshall. Joan Rivers’s comment was, “Oh, give her the money. Look at him! She deserves every penny.” Joan had a point.
Old is never pretty, no matter how good we once looked. Cute, yes. Cuteness in women can last forever. My wife was cute as a toddler, cute when we were married, and is still cute now. A man may have been cute as a toddler, but then looses it as he matures. A few may get it back again in old age. I may have, based on the solicitousness by others I’ve observed in the past few years.
I am now approaching my 80s with realistic expectations thanks to those two examples. And I don’t have the fame or fortune, or even the looks, of either man. I am counting on my wife to live a long life. She still sees me as I was, as I, too, see her as she was.