I had a conversation with my friend Pat the other day that's been stuck in my head. She was telling me about a running joke she has with her friend Maddy. Pat's 76 (shh, don't tell her I told you); Maddy's in her 80s. Both women are straight. Evidently Maddy's doctor asked her if she "has a gentleman friend." Which both women understood was really a question about whether or not Maddie's still sexually active. Maddy laughed and told her doctor, "Oh heavens NO! I wouldn't want any man who'd have me!" This story cracks them up, Maddy and Pat. Pat tells me, "You'll see what's funny about it when you get older. I mean, really! Imagine! If someone wanted a wrinkled up old woman who looks like ME? What kind of pervert would he be? YUCK!"
I guess if you're lucky enough to be in a long-term relationship at that age, sex makes sense and is acceptable. But starting a new relationship with a man? That carries the implication the man must have something wrong with him, what with being attracted to women of a certain age. Not just something wrong -- something profoundly wrong that makes him completely unacceptable as a mate.
Good grief. This is where it the fetishizing of youth leads? I didn't realize.