Saturday, May 29, 2010

O Youth and Beauty!

Let me state the givens first, to get them out of the way.

Yes, Sheri and I – like many married couples – share a bed, and in bed we sometimes do a variety of those things consenting adults sometimes do which we will place under a general heading called, in this case, sex. Yes, sexual satisfaction is a measure of happiness in our marriage, but not the sole measurement. Yes, Sheri’s body is different in obvious and subtle ways from the body she had when I married her and from the bodies of many younger women. Likewise, my body is different in obvious and subtle ways from the body I had when we married and, though my role in this love affair is that of “the younger man,” my body isn’t a young man’s body anymore. Yes, like many happy people who also have sex, we realize sex is not only about the body but also about intimacy and imagination and love and fun and Gato Barbieri playing "Europa."

I’m writing about this because last week we received a comment from an “Anonymous” who tells us, basically, that younger men (meaning, Mr. Anonymous) don’t want to make love to a wrinkled old woman with a flabby stomach. He has learned about sex with older women through personal experience, he tells us; his wife is 41. And he would like for this ancient woman to set him free so he can have sex with younger women. This assumes, of course, that younger women will want to have sex with him.

Because the comment was directed to Sheri on a post she authored, she answered – in her typical no-nonsense way. But I want to answer, too. Anonymous’ views about younger men – and in particular his assumptions about me and my sex life – aren’t singular. Likeminded attitudes accompany comments on other younger men/older women blogs or on news stories about the latest HimPlus celebrity match. Clearly, some younger men get weirded out over the idea of sex with an older woman. Usually, they refer to flabby-this and wrinkled-that in their comments.

O Youth and Beauty!

That’s the title of a John Cheever short story in which a fellow tries to pretend he is not old by leaping furniture during a dinner party. It’s a silly exercise –- hurdling couches –- one that denies the obvious, and Cheever’s hero pays for it.

Here is what was obvious to me when Sheri and I married: She was older, therefore our hows and whys and whens of sex would be different. We’d have to be able to talk about those things, and we have. Also, on the verge of marriage, I asked myself a question, which, in paraphrase was something like “If sex weren’t part of your life with Sheri, would you still want her in your house, in your home, in your bed, til death do you part?” And the answer was “yes.” With Sheri in my life, the world felt more certain, I became a better person than I had any right to be, and it seemed to me that with her I could jump couches as long as I might like. Anonymous might not have asked himself that question.

Here is what’s now obvious to me: my wife is sexiest when she’s happy, and that is in moments like this one from last week, when at a beach on the Atlantic Ocean, as the tide came crashing in, she stood tall on an old piece of tree stump affixed into the sand, and from that perch she watched seawater and foam swirl around her feet. That’s the woman with whom I share a bed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mike 'n' Sheri, Baltimore, Md

We recently had occasion to visit Michael’s family in Tucson and decided on a place to stay nearby. We didn’t realize right away what it was; the rooms looked decent online, it was close to where his parents live, and it didn’t cost that much. Plus, it had a swimming pool.

The Voyager Resort turned out to be more than just the small motel where we stayed. It was a retirement community, complete with a huge contingent of Midwest AARPers in RVs and streets called Hummingbird or Mourning Dove or Roadrunner. Next to the RV park was a section of manufactured homes with tiny, tidy cactus gardens and wooden signs: John & Bobbi, Columbus, Neb…. Jim & Mary Ruth, Waukesha, Wisc.

But it also had not just one but three — three!!! — swimming pools and two hot good-sized hot tubs. It had a bar (yes, the bar closed at 9 or 10, but still….). And we loved it. What does that say about us? It’s no secret that some of those Midwest snowbirds were near my age (or maybe younger, truth be told). But it worries me a little that Michael grooved on the place. He’s getting so old!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Meanwhile, across the pond ...

A few weeks back we noticed a new square in our palette of followers. It wasn’t a face like this

or even a blogspot human representation like this

Instead, it was this.

Turns out that’s a paw print, and it belongs to a British blogger married to a “much younger man” and author of Beyond Cougar. On her site, Jo writes,

Beyond Cougar is for women, like me, who just happen to love a younger man, but can't stomach being branded as a 'Cougar'. … I write about relationship issues, and when I'm not doing that, I'm working in a senior marketing role - for now - the freelance world beckons! Enjoy your visit - I'd love to hear from you with comments and suggestions.

Jo xx

Jo's subjects have included Ten Reasons to Date a Younger Man and The Pressure of Looking Good When Dating a Younger Man. This week's topic is the backlash against Cougs.

We duck in to Beyond Cougar from time to time, and back when we first noticed it we added it to our blogroll. We’d follow Jo’s blog if it offered a function for following (it's WordPress, not blogspot).

But we notice that Beyond Cougar’s blogroll lacks any HimPlus17 action … Hey, Jo! How about a little love for the Yanks?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

When age matters, when it doesn't

Sheri observed, when age doesn’t matter.

Talking to me when I’m in another room. • Iris cut from the yard, arranged in a delft vase. • Spooning: “You’re breathing on the back of my neck.” • One of her thumbs is shorter than the other, by a third. • The honest grin she can’t help when the dogs stare at her. • This past month, studying Solzhenitsyn, fascinated by the guy. • Today’s newspapers, with coffee. • Wanting summer. • The socks left behind the bathroom door. • Fingers deep in dirt, making a new home for petunias, pansies, lettuce, basil, hydrangeas, tulips. • Gin and tonic! • Swam three-quarters of a mile yesterday. • Balancing the check book, but why seventeen cents off! • “I’ll let you” as in “I’m finished with the dusting. I’ll let you vacuum.” • Napping, with a basketball game in the background. • Strawberries and yogurt and granola in bed. • Editing my blog post: “This doesn’t make any sense.” • The comfort of her voice in another room.

Sheri observed, when it does:

At the grocery store, without drugstore reading glasses, can’t see to work the self-checkout. It’s the first time. • Impatience with TV beer commercials because their narratives “make no sense.” • Wants to put movies on our Netflix queue from AARP’s list of “Movies for Grownups.” • Shoulder still sore, more than a year after the fall. • The future? That’s twenty good years. What do you do with that? • Cold comfort: The old person discounts at movie theaters and museums. • Bouncing her grand niece in her lap. • Last week, said, “I want to live in a comfortable house before I die.”