The Older Man Looking For Love

Barbara Morris

A man had been married 40+ years. He is 75 + years of age. His wife cooked and cleaned and he provided income. They had sex once in a while. They took  each other for granted. Kids have moved away. He was content, she was sort of happy and then she died and now, OMG! he’s on his own.   As mundane as his marriage was,  he sure misses sex. After he settles into his new life, and is going crazy with loneliness, he joins a dating site.

He writes ( or has someone do it for him) a sizzling profile he hopes will attract a younger, sexy woman, unlike the conventional wife he recently lost.  He finds  some photos of himself when he was young and vital. What a handsome guy he was! He posts those undated photos, plus others of his cute dogs, the huge fish he caught, his RV, and restored Mustang convertible. The more recent, unsmiling, lifeless photos he posted show he has aged considerably, but he sure has an inviting profile. What a potentially sexy guy.

Yes, he’s sexy — but only in his mind. Reality is a different story.  It’s been a long time, or possibly he possibly never knew how to interact with a woman — how to flirt or how to be attractive to a woman. No flowers, no special gifts.  Social graces? Romance? What are those? He didn’t need them while married. His wife opened her own doors and he thought only young kids want or need romance.

The ravages of time have caught up with him. Health issues aside, he’s no longer physically attractive.  He doesn’t think (or can’t afford) to get his teeth fixed or his bacteria-laden bleeding gums cleared up, and no one has told him to trim his errant eyebrows that are growing all over the place, or to shave off his facial hair that ages him by at least 10 years. But that doesn’t matter, he thinks.  He’s still holding out for the younger, beautiful woman.

After many years of constant agitation by the “women’s movement” his brain has become addled.  He no longer knows what it means or how to be a contemporary “today” man.  Online he meets a potentially sexy lady and they start an exchange of emails. He calls the woman he has yet to meet  “dear” or “sweetheart”. Doesn’t he know how condescending that is? No, he doesn’t know and when told it is unacceptable, he apologetically retreats with “Sorry, I didn’t know”.

Yes, times have changed.

Damn! Why is this so hard?

It’s so hard for one main reason. He accepted the “script” for retirees developed over the years and he settled into the traditional decline oriented retirement lifestyle at age 65. Everybody does it, so he did it too.

He did all the “right” things retirees are supposed to do and here he is, alone and lonely and doesn’t understand why he can’t find an attractive younger woman to replace his wife. He is totally unaware what has happened to him and how unattractive he is to a younger woman.

He says he loves to travel but decline has left him unable to drive or he doesn’t want to  drive any considerable distance. He can’t think reasonably quickly. He’s no longer AWARE.  He is “old” but his “oldness” has nothing to do with his chronological age. He just followed  the established “retirees script” for retirement life, without realizing that following the script would lead to a comfortable life but rapid decline. The old saying,” use it or lose it” should redefine the word “retirement”. Ernest Hemingway called retirement the most depressing word in the English language and he was right.

Instead of accepting the “predetermined aging script” at age 65 that says it’s time to slow down, sit down,  and enjoy what’s left of life, he should have thought for HIMSELF and decided he was really going to make the most of his remaining  years and probably live a longer, healthier, useful, and even an exciting lifestyle that would appeal to a younger, sexy woman.  But it’s too late for action after the horses are let out of the barn. They are gone.

The message: Keep what you have as long as possible, but it takes effort. Unfortunately the human mind and body prefer leisure over effort and it takes ongoing effort that most of us don’t want to do or know how to do. After all, the purpose of “retirement” is to “retire”.

Youth is free but it’s a short term loan.  If we don’t make the effort to retain basic youthful qualities, the result is premature mental and physical decline. Barring unforeseen mental or physical illnesses, for the most part, avoidance of  getting “old” mentally and physically is as simple as trashing the predetermined “old age script” and making the effort to stay vital. Advanced chronological age itself does not automatically result in decline.

Copyright Barbara Morris © October, 2018

Comments

  1. Oh Barbara! You know how I feel about this issue and for some it is not an issue. For the life of me, I do not understand that most men do not understand that anything is not acceptable.

    In two weeks or so, I will be seventy one. I have not so much fought aging as I have accepted it and continue to try my best to feel my best ( good nutrition..working on sleeping better and moving my body through all the changes) I still work, as you know and I try to keep up with modern technology, terminology and all without sounding like an oldster attempting to be “hip”.

    I have dated two men in the last twenty years or so and both of them were either bent on “allowing” me to be part of the conversation…example….”I’m gonna say this and then I’ll LET you talk” or adhering to a 1940’s version of what women should want, think, be and do. One gentleman assured me that if we got married, I would give up “all that writing stuff” I talked about. I saw a nearby exit in his future.

    I am done with all the photos of guys that are dated, or clumsily thrown bodies on a Harley they never ride, but still pose upon. The fish caught, the un-kept appearance, blatant comb overs and reading further into their ads, they are looking for women who can still bear children. For whom? Someone old enough to be their grandfather? Do they think any young woman aspires to be the mother of a child whose dad smells like Ben Gay, snores and wheezes all nights. A guy who is in Depends so she has to change two babies at once?

    When I encountered older men as a younger woman, I found myself feeling old and tired. Tired of their old guy stories, music and ideas of fun. I believe we should try…all of us…if we want to date….to stay at least ten years inside our age lane. Same for ladies. There is nothing unclothed I would want to share with a really young man. He should not be traumatized this way. I have been on that side of the tree in my forties. Kid did not know who founded Motown or even who the Temptations were.

    I like challenging conversations but when a kid I am dating asks, “What is American Bandstand?” and what is a 45 record, I know I am TOO OLD for this person. I LOVE your article Barbara! All joking aside, it is relevant to today’s attempts to senior coupling!

  2. Barbara Stewart says:

    Barbara, you are right on the mark here! I am an almost 70-year old woman who has been happily single since my divorce 30 years ago. I am working full time and for the last two years, I have been studying for certification in an energy-healing modality. I am healthy, energized and passionate about life. I have yet to meet a older man who is engaged in life. I raised four children as a single parent; I have no desire to be a caretaker again. I have a full life because I have been conscious and committed to not accepting society’s expectation of decline and boredom after a certain age. First rule…turn off the TV! It is a passive activity, not to mention that every other ad is one for some disease or drug. Take care what you expose your brain to…your subconscious is listening! These ads plant seeds of fear and expectation. I am defiant in refusing to fall into the hands of those who profit from disease and decline. Make choices consciously with the same care and attention as you did when you were younger. The rewards are infinite!

    • Thank you Barbara, for a beautiful, concise explanation of how to avoid premature decline. I hope readers will read it again and again to internalize your message that is VERY basic and it works if you are willing and able to ignore the “script” the culture imposes on most of us. THINK FOR YOURSELF and be free to have the life you want, instead of a dreary, dependent existence created by social planners for “old” people.

  3. Tom Sublette says:

    Long time no talk. Your recent photo makes me sorry I did not make it to see you personally. Got married in Jan 2018 to a 81 year old in Encinitas. We are keeping young!!

  4. Thanks Ann, Glad you are back!

  5. Glad to be home in AZ and reading your “Put Old on Hold” etc. once again. Ann

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