Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Old Man Crush: A Possible Mental Illness?
I hesitate to mention this, but I have a thing for old men these days, particularly men in their 70s. Yes, if you were born in the 1930s and 1940s, odds are good I will become utterly smitten with you (Dale ... this means you have a chance).
I have four suitors right now -- one in his 30s, one in his 40s, one in his 50s, and one in his 70s. Guess which one is the funniest, the wittiest, the smartest, the sharpest and therefore the sexiest? The guy in his 70s.
I know, I know ... Daddy issues! And in fact, my father was of this generation. He would have been 80 this year. And with the exception of a couple of pervs, most of the men in his social sphere and his age were witty, urbane, wise-cracking women-lovers who could flirt like nobody's business without seeming in any way lecherous. Yes, they occassionally did women wrong. But they wooed with all with the grace, charm and wit that men of this generation -- their sons, actually -- do not possess. Think Cary Grant versus Vince Vaughan. Man versus boy. Tough guy with a heart of gold versus emotional guy with a heart of stone. These were the kind of guys who called women "broads" but did so with no small amount of reverence, but also made it very clear that they would brook no bullshit. These were not wimpy men.
Because I don't really want to sleep with men in their 70s and 80s, however, I do what I always do with my old-man crush. I take care of him, just as I did my father, for whom I used to religiously make salmon loaf and maple fudge once a week, and my father-in-law, a truly adoration-worthy man with about 100 times the wit and charm of most ordinary men. On my last ski vacation with him, he was ailing, so I routinely ran a bath for him and made him tea and sandwiches in the afternoon. And at least once a day he said something, perhaps borderline inappropriate but very wise, that made me laugh with appreciation.
Today I was so worried about my old-man crush when he didn't answer the phone at his condo that I made his concierge go and check on him. He'd had a terrible cold and I was afraid he'd died in his sleep of pneumonia. He was fine, and called me up to assure me he was on the mend, and we had a good, almost tender laugh about my concern and his appreciation of it. He was utterly grateful I was checking up; I was insanely relieved he was OK. He thanked me again for the carrot cake I baked him to thank him for the water-colour he sent me that he painted last summer of the ocean and gave to me because he felt the blue/green he'd mixed was the same colour as my eyes. Old-man swoon!
Sadly, however, I can never sleep or even make out with my old-man crush, no matter how many sweet and intelligent little gestures he delivers my way, because I just can't physically go there. And that's despite even knowing that the guy pictured above once looked like the guy pictured below (and the sad thing is -- my old-man crush actually was close to this Adonis level as a younger man ... he was smoking hot). Perhaps that's the appeal. If I don't sleep with them, they can't hurt me, and I can have a lovely and flirtatious friendship with a debonair gentleman who just appreciates looking at me and is happy I exist, and wouldn't push anything beyond that.
Which is perhaps a shame, because I sure like old men.