After yesterday’s post about being honest with my readers, I’ve decided to come clean about another subject: my growing reputation as a Don Juan. The truth is that, unlike my online persona, I’m exceedingly dull and unadventurous. I inherit this from my father. Although he was a loving and caring man, his attitudes towards women and sex were straight out of “Leave it to Beaver.” (not an intentional joke) About the only “birds and bees” advice he ever gave me was to “never hurt a woman.” He actually sat me down and said:
“Neil, you should never hurt a woman.”
If I could bring my father back to life, my first question would be:
“Dad, what the hell are you talking about? What do you mean? Do you mean hurt physically? Or emotionally? Can you be any more vague?”
My grandmother considered herself prim and proper. And my father was a bit of a mama’s boy, so he grew up with her attitudes.
My grandfather was not like my father, or anyone else in my family. He went dancing every weekend at “Roseland” in Manhattan — without my grandmother. We think he had affairs. Even when he was seventy years old, he was incredibly built and had beautiful curly hair. I’m convinced that after my grandmother passed away, he had sex with every widowed Jewish woman over sixty-five in the tri-state area. When he was done, he moved to Miami to begin again. Half of my family refused to speak to him when he married some flashy woman from Miami Beach.
I always liked him. He wasn’t very smart, like my grandmother, but he was way more interesting. He would take me to Jewish delis for pastrami sandwiches, and he would always bring over jelly donuts. He would sneak into Broadway shows during intermission, so he saw every top musical’s second act. He flirted with every waitress.
After my father died, I met many of his co-workers from Queens General Hospital. I was surprised to hear all these stories about my father flirting with all the nurses. Was he just prim and proper at home, and completely different at work? Maybe he was influenced by his father more than he let on.
I think my grandfather would love blogging, especially with all the hot women online.
My memories of my grandfather came up after I read this on a post at Alexandra’s blog:
I woke up this morning to a news story that sexually transmitted diseases are on a rapid rise among the elderly, and for some reason that made me happy! I mean, not that they are catching STDs, but that they are still out there hugging, squeezing, well, a lot more than that, if they are getting STD’s! I hate that we live in a society that so isolates them from the rest of society, treats them as if they still don’t have needs, longings physical and otherwise, and so very much to pass on.
This was my comment:
I don’t know why it is so surprising to hear this news. Our vision of a senior is very outdated. Mick Jagger is a senior. Soon, all of the kids dancing around at Woodstock will be seniors. And since we are living longer, (and with drugs like Viagra to help), why shouldn’t there be activity? The fact that we are “shocked” just shows how we still stereotype senior citizens as sitting around playing gin rummy.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about how the FAT are stereotyped as the OTHER. Many of us fear getting fat. But if there’s one thing we fear even more, it is getting OLD. Just like we see the FAT as the OTHER — and that’s why we don’t women over size 4 in magazines — we consider the elderly the OTHER as well, especially in a youth-oriented society.Â We see OTHERS as a group, rather than individuals.Â And this group frequently becomes a metaphor for something we fear:
Fat = lazy.
Old = decay.
Many of want to separate the elderly into being an OTHER. That’s why it is shocking to some that seniors are doing “it” with other seniors. What’s the big deal? I hope to be doing it when I’m eighty.
Most of the comments on Alexandra’s post were very supportive of older people finding love and comfort. But, even there, it felt that some were uncomfortable talking about the elderly and sex. Why do think of young people as f**king, but the elderly “finding comfort in each others’ arms?”Â Do people immediately lose their mojo when they get Social Security?Â And why do we still think of seniors as “nice old ladies” or “wise old men?” It almost seems condescending.Â In my family, the relatives who were assholes at 30 are now assholes at 80. Only nice young ladies become nice old ladies. Are we so afraid of getting old that we push the elderly into some sort of one-dimensional world? While someone who’s lived many years has more life experience and deserves respect for that, I would think that a senior wants to be thought of a living, complex being with urges and desires.
In fact, I would be glad to hear that my mother, who is currently touring Spain and Portugal, found some hunky retired matador, and is f**king him every night.
Of course, Mom, assuming he is Jewish.
A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: A Night Without a Phone Call
Rosemary Harris, even at 80, makes me blush.
I say, “Way to go, older folks!” A family friend has told his dad, who is in his 80s, that he should stick to postmenopausal women since dad probably does not want to have any more children. And let me tell you, there is nothing like finding a huge box of condoms in your mom’s room. At least she’s being safe.
I’m looking forward to being seen as kind, wise, and able to cook.
For me, it’s not an issue of stereotyping older people as nice old ladies and gentlemen. It all comes down to the emotionally scarring image of picturing my parents having sex and…
[gouges out eyes]
… wh2t waas i sayng? sorryt – hrdd to typw wth no eyees.
Jenny — Mathematically, your parents had to have had sex at least once.
I always hoped that I sprang fully-formed from my father’s skull like Zeus from the Titan. I sleep easier that way.
I’m having a hard time getting past that picture…um. Yes.
I like the idea of still wanting to have sex when I’m old! I always thought that lady on the Golden Girls, who was always getting some, had the right idea!! Also, heard a great story about a friend’s Grandpa…they were driving to go fishing and all of a sudden Grandpa sat up straighter and whipped the car around and headed back home…the grandson asked what was going on and Grandpa said…you’ll understand some day, but when you get a piece of wood at my age…you don’t miss the chance to use it! 🙂 TOOOOO FUNNNY!!
Must. Not. Think. Of. Parents. Having. Sex. Gaaaaaaaaah! (Of course, I’m hoping to still be enjoying myself when I’m in my 90s assuming the doctor approves such vigorous activity.)
Some elderly people I know would like to be called anything at all, so long as someone calls them. They get really lonely when everyone is off to work, leading busy lives and forget that their grandma or great aunt is sitting home alone all day, every day.
My mom still shags like crazy. She will lose interest in life when there is no more sex to be had. I’m going to do it as long as physically possible. My boyfriend says he’ll never take viagra and I say that if he needs help and opts out, I’m finding a new boyfriend.
Old people find comfort in each others arms because if they were f***king they might blow out a hip or one of them might fall asleep during the reverse cowgirl.
Here is a direct quote from my 60-something grandmother, regarding her relationship with her boyfriend of several years:
“What can I say, the sex is good.”
I, for one, am comforted by the fact that my grandma is still gettin’ busy. It means that she’s still living while a lot of other people her age are simply waiting to die.
I tried, to no avail, to find a link to a short story by Ray Bradbury called “Junior.” It’s so sweet and I’m reminded of it by this post. It’s about an old man who wakes up one morning to an erection (this is pre-Viagra)and he calls two dear lady friends to come and see. I know it sounds weird, but if you ever get a chance to read Bradbury’s book “The Toynbee Convector,” you’ll find that story in it. It’s a lovely read.
I love to hang out with people who have lived a long life. When I was 19, I was in a jazz quartet that did mostly standards and big band music. We would go to this large retirement community and perform for them in their dance hall. Once my set of torch songs was finished I would hoof it down to the dance floor to take a turn around the room with the sweet men. Honestly, those nights still remain some of the best times I’ve ever had. There are a lot of sexy men in this world over 60. And I had the pleasure of dancing with quite a few of them.
Your dad clearly meant do not hurt them physically. If he truly came from the Leave it to Beaver era, then there was no emotion involved whatsoever in the act of lovemaking. At least not on the part of men.
Great post Neil! As one of the bloggers, that basically is headed towards “older blogger status” since most are kids, 20-something and thirty-something…I appreciate this post! Not at grandma-status yet, but headed there quickly, I don’t want to be stereo-typed anymore than our seniors who are living life to the fullest do. I literally had someone on a blog comment, that my opinions don’t count, since I was an old, used-up broad anyway. Old? Headed there. Used-up? Far from it, as long as God and the doctor says it’s good! We’re all individuals, even at 80. The baby-boomer generation I believe will see to it that they are seen as such, too. 😉
As you can tell I enjoyed this post!
This reminds me of an interesting conversation I had with my ex-mother-in-law a while ago concerning age.
A friend of her’s who was approaching her 69th birthday had decided that as a life affirming ‘present’ to herself, if you like, was to get a divorce. She had been unhappily married for sometime and decided that she no longer wanted to be part of this bad relationship.
It was not even that she had ideas of joining oap single clubs to replace her ‘old’ man, but that she realised even at her age, she deserved to be be really happy. She still had dreams she wanted to chase.
My mother-in-law’s response was one of utter shock and dismay, and could not understand why “anyone at her age would bother. It seems slightly futile at her age, don’t you think?”
What, so now you’re nearly 70 you may as well give up. In fact just pop to the Doc’s for your happy-hour injection.
Well, I think I was rather proud of this friend whom I’ve never met. Go, granny.
I’ve never looked at older people like that…it just seems wrong. But then again, those old people were once young…
We’re not getting any younger, and neither are they…shit, might as well go out big!
“Charlotte, you drive like old people make love.”
Cher in Mermaids
I couldn’t help but think of that when I read this post. I can’t think of anything else to say.
As someone said in the comments here, “bunch of wrinkled human torpedoes”.
Can’t wait to see what Elaine Kramer would say to your suggestion, Neil; that’s it, when she’ll figure out she can pay 1euro @ the Internet Cafe and read your blodge from afar…
I like your blog, Neil. It’s always fun to read about the sort of thing I would never discuss with my parents in a million years.
There’s something about that photo. It’s right-on. They’re sexy, they’re naked, they’re old, and they’re probably getting it on more than me.
I’m sorry, Neil – did you say something?
[placing hands over ears]
LALALALALA ICANTHEARYOU LALALALALA
Delurking to say that I love reading your blog and that sixty is the new thirty. Or at least I hope it is when I get there.
I hope I’m getting some when I’m 60.
I can’t get past the thought of my parents doing that long enough to know what I want to think about this.
I myself will never forget the time when my grandmother, upon being told that my uncle was divorcing, said “I can’t say I’m surprised, who’d want to crawl out from underneath that after 15 minutes of him sweating and grunting?”
Neil, such a great post, with so many truths. You grandfather sounds like quite the character; for that matter, your entire family sounds interesting – certainly more so than the Cleavers. Your last line is a great zinger. Well done, you!
Neil, what a fantastic post…really…I love everything you have said here. I have just walked into my 50’s and this is the best time of my life. I love the lines on my face, and wouldn’t botox them for the world.
GREAT post, and i loved the mick jagger comment you left…how true. as i get older, i am starting to understand how much age is truly a state of mind…also, since childhood, it’s always fascinated me how previous generations always seem so much older when they were the same age as current generations; i.e., my mother at 35 seemed/seems ancient to me; not just because of my kid perspective, but because she truly did act decades older than *i* and others did at 35, she LOOKED older than i did, etc. not sure if this makes any sense; i’ve just had a beer.
This is a great post, I agree. The only thing is, it makes being only 36 and feeling like you are drying up from non-use hit home even more! Yike!
age is just a number. maybe the reason you’re not hearing from your mother is exactly what you are hoping!
I’d better be getting some when I’m 80! Or bury me, please.
(I’d agree with Stephanie, if only I was getting some now.)
I just want to bring up one thing, ’cause it’s what I do…
Decay, while being quite the undesirable condition, is not a judgement of character, the way the Lazy is.
flirting- the kramer male’s family tradition!
I think my grandfather would love blogging, especially with all the hot women online.
I wonder what his penis would write.
Yeah for old folks who get busy! 🙂
My grandfather was a major flirt, too, and it was a charming quality. He never let it cross any lines to my knowledge or suspicion, though.
I do think it sucks about the STDs, no matter what age you are. I think that would suck to make it all the way to 80, and then BOOM! You’ve got the clap. Dang.
I’m so glad that my comment inspired this wonderful post. I truly couldn’t agree more. I still think part of it isn’t just that media doesn’t portray older people as sexy and lustfilled, but that we just don’t see many elderly people period in our day to day life in the States. We are often as segregated by age as we are by race and class for so many reason, many of which I don’t even think are intentional. I remember this 76 year old woman saying how pissed she was that her doctor didn’t even bother to ask her anymore if she was still sexually active, and how she finally switched doctors over it as it was like he just skipped over the whole mid section of her body altogether. I would never have realized it sadly if I hadn’t lived overseas so much in my twenties. So nice to see others feel this way too!
“Old people” never think they’re old. I’m over 40, all the contours of my face and figure softening. GAH! I used to be a tall, skinny long distance runner and bit by bit my body has betrayed me.
I know college kids look at me and think “Mom,” yet in my mind I’m still the “kid” I was in college. It’s shocking when your body doesn’t match your inner self anymore.
A post like this sparks many notions. The two that are currently floating in my head (not sure what they mean – they’re just notions):
1) why do so few people look old? With all the dyed hair and nip & tuck business, you realy don’t see that many people who actually look older – not the way they did when I was much younger.
2) why are the most interesting characters in so many films the older, supporting actors? The leads are templates and dull because of that – but the supporting characters, often played by older actors, that’s where the meat is.
So why are we so dismissive of age when it’s so much more interesting?
By the way … I’ll add this thought: I don’t think young people have any problems at all with age. It’s middle aged people who treat them like dirt because it scares the crap out of them.
My maternal granma passed away when I was 2 years old. Am named after her and people keep telling me about her and how great she was and that I have to be worthy of her name. It’s a great load to carry but its also an incentive to be good.
There’s an african writer who said that when an old person dies, its a whole bibliothÃ¨que which goes in smoke. I love being with old persons. I have no idea why, but I just love it. My neighbour is 90something. She was fit before her husband passed away 2 years ago. I think she’s letting herself go. She has no children and she’s so lonely it hurts.
Here in Mauritius, when you turn 100, your family throws a big party which the Minister of Social Security and Senior Citizen’s Welfare attend. It’s a circus where the Birthday oldy is given Rs 10000 (around $350) and a mobile phone. Can you believe that? A mobile phone!
PS: I love the picture!
Good post Neil. Humour aside for a moment, I think you have a valid point. We tend to categorise OTHERS without looking at ourselves first. It’s the fear of getting old but the fact remains we’ve been doing it all our lives, getting older each day at a time.
Of course, I’m going to be a cool and sexy old lady who will be perving at young men until the end. Me grow old? Never! 😛
My brother and I recently freaked ourselves out by thinking that, in 20 years, we’ll be in our 60’s. At that point, I’ll probably STILL think I’m 26, like I do now, and so likely will still be bumping boots with someone and acting nutso….
Great post. I guess I am one of the strange people out there who never thought my parents having sex was something weird or shameful. My daughter (she’s 10) got freaked out when I told her that Grandma and Papa probably still had sex (I swear it was relevant to our conversation).
I myself used to be so happy if I overheard them going at it when I was a kid, because to me it meant they still loved each other.
My grandmother found a boyfriend 12 years her junior after my grandfather died at 76. At the time (I was 19) I thought they were having sex and it made me so happy! I found out after she died 14 months ago that she apparently hated sex.
I guess I didn’t get my sex drive from her. 😉
It’s funny how, even with all the images that are thrown at us, we don’t think anyone else is having sex. Especially well into their 50’s and over.
I posted yesterday about oral sex and mothers and daughters. Everyone was disgusted.
My comment back was, ‘well we all got here somehow…’
How come Mom can only f*ck Jewish men?
“Are we so afraid of getting old that we push the elderly into some sort of one-dimensional world?”
Exactly. We’re always afraid of the unknown, and so it’s easier to deal with if we compartamentalize it into something we think we can understand. Typically, the elderly are charachterized as being frail and close to death at a certain age, whether they are or not. I think it’s about time we stopped writing them off as not being a vital part of society, ’cause I know I don’t want to be hidden away in a home and fed pablum when I hit a certain age. I wanna enjoy beaches and steaks and all the other stuff I enjoy now.
“I like movies with lots of lovemaking” – My grandmother at age 70+.
We were discussing movies and she thought “Good Will Hunting” was a dirty, horrible movie because people said f***k all the time, but Piano was one of her favorite movies because people were f***king all the time.
I just don’t get it.
Interesting. I’m 45 and I’ve noticed you start becoming the “other” as soon as you no longer look 25. I don’t look elderly by any means, yet I am ma’amed to death and deferred to as if I am elderly with eighteen year olds giving up their seats on the bus, etc. Maybe I’m paranoid about getting older, I don’t know. But I feel dissed and dismissed more and more.
I don’t know why I should care, but it feels kind of humiliating in public. Suddenly you turn 40 and you’re worried about whether you can still dress a certain way or listen to what you always have bcause people might think you’re “trying to be young” when in reality you’re living life as you always did.
Suddenly you’re “mature” and your whole identity is in question because you have been boiled down to some stereotype.