Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Getting old

Do you remember how, when you were young, anyone over 20 seemed ancient? I remember looking at my father's friends and thinking they must be nearing retirement age and hoping they had a home (facility for the aged) picked out. And they were only in their late 30s at the time. Oddly enough I never viewed my father as old - not until just before his death when he started looking a little fragile.

All my teachers seemed old too. I was shocked when two of my female teachers got pregnant one after the other. Surely they were too old to have children. Didn't all your bits rot after the teen years?

By the time I was 15 being 20 was cool. My first boyfriend was 20 - he had deltoids and a six-pack stomach and three hairs on his chest. Impressive stuff. I look at the photos now and, while he was particularly well-built compared to the other 20-year-olds at the time, he was still skinny and weedy. His mid-20s was when he looked like he belonged in his skin. When he was 30 he'd lost the six-pack and other muscle definition but was still slim. I saw him again a few years ago when he was in his late 40s and he looked soft and rounded, passed his prime. I look around me and a lot of men follow a similar pattern. They look best in their bodies in their mid to late 20s.

But even with the body, they don't appeal to me. My tastes have changed. The skinny six-pack just looks like a kid who needs to get dressed and go back to school. Now I think hairy chests, bald heads and defined but not muscle-bound bodies look best - especially if the chest hair is salt-and-pepper.

I'm not even sure my tastes have changed because I've aged and become a little more realistic, or if I just like men closer to my own age. Maybe it's just that I couldn't stand for the man next to me to look better than I do. Can you seriously imagine a 40-something who avoids exercise and eats too much chocolate could possibly compare favourably (physically) to a 20-something who works out regularly? I suppose it would depend on who's looking.


Jim Harris said...

I find getting old very entertaining. I'm also amused by the changes I'm going through. When I was in my teens I thought women over forty as unworthy of my lust and sexual fantasies. Me and my friends would joke about how scary it would be to see a woman in her fifties naked. Now, I've changed, and I'd be more than happy to get naked with some sixty-year olds I know.

Even though they're getting wrinkles in their cleavage I still steal glances down blouses of women my age and older. There's a 57 year old woman who I love to visit her office so I can lust after her small sandled feet and admire her ankles.

Change is such a weird trip!


glediar said...

I know what you mean, Jim. Different things now look attractive. I wouldn't be my younger self again for quids.

I read an essay once by a famous American (my brain isn't working this morning - he flew kites in lightning storms). Anyway the essay was basically a letter to a much younger associate, giving him advice on women. The advice boiled down to 'put a paper bag over their heads' (my interpretation of the essay years after reading it) because women's bodies are basically unwrinkled until very late old age, there's no risk of pregnancy and (this bit irritated me) the young man would be doing them a favour.

I no longer have that collection of essays and can't remember the title. I'd love to find it again, though I don't know how I'd do that. It also had a particularly interesting essay by Henry David Thoreau on ants.

Jim Harris said...

I assume you mean Benjamin Franklin. If you could remember any more of the authors from the essay collection you could list them all on Google and see what comes up.

I went to - a library reference tool and searched on your two guys and got this:

glediar said...

Thanks for that, Jim. I think I might have found it.

The title doesn't sound familiar but the authors listed all together do. I remember details and colours so if I could see the original cover or the table of contents I'd probably recognise it.

Unfortunately there're none available in Australia or via Amazon that I can see. Now I have a place to start, I'll keep looking. I also found a few other collections of essays that are available in the state library here so I'll borrow those once I get my last assingments in.

Jim Harris said...

Go to and search there. Give the title and put Encyclopaedia Britannica in the Keyword field. I found several copies, but all being sold from the U.S. However, ABE Books has connections to booksellers all over the world. It's listed as volumne #7 of something called Gateway to the Great Books.

glediar said...

Now I'm really confused. There's a volume 6 and a volume 7. Only one picture which looks familiar but that could be because I've seen it somewhere, not just because this is the book I remember.

A have a couple of major assignments due over the next couple of weeks. Once they're in, I'll look for books.

Thanks for your help.