Both Sides Now

From the personal ads in our freebie newspaper: “Dublin Woman, 79, seeks older male companion”…
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I’m fed up with younger men, guys in their 60s who think they’re great just because their hips are the same age as they are. They all saw The Graduate as teenagers and have been obsessed with older women ever since. It wouldn’t be so bad if any of them looked like Dustin Hoffman, but most of them look more like Dustin the Turkey, with their scrawny faces and scraggy necks.

I’ve decided to look for an older man. Not that I’ve given up all thoughts of, er, that, I mean Joan Collins is 79 too and still goes like a train, but I’d like a gentler man, a gentle man, a gentleman. We could get a dog and take it for walks along the beach. In fact we could get a tortoise and take it for walks along the beach.

And we could sit companionably reading, and use our free-travel passes to go on day trips to Killarney or Belfast. We could talk about the old times, when you had to saw loaves into lumpy slices with a bread-knife the size of a hack-saw. We could talk about when you could buy broken biscuits, or just one cigarette, or Mackeson stout. It’d be nice just to have someone to talk to. I’ve been alone too long.

We wouldn’t grow old together, it’s too late for that, but we could be old together, and that might just be enough.

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I’m going to ring her. I’ve hemmed and hawed about it for a week, but I’ve decided to chance it.

After all, you’re only young once, and in my case that was an awfully long time ago. You don’t get a lot of invitations when you’re 83, and while she wasn’t writing to me personally she was aiming at a pretty small target group, it’s unlikely that she’s going to get a thousand of us wheezing our way up to her door.

I’m not over the hill yet, though I can certainly see over the brow. I still have my own hair, though not that much of it, and I can still waltz, so long as there’s a chair nearby to sit down in afterwards.

And it will drive the kids mad. I’ll tell them I’ve met a young wan, which will not be a lie, and let their imaginations do the rest. They’ll ask me if I’m off my rocker, or my medication, and I’ll say “oh, that reminds me, I must see if I can get Viagra on my medical card” just to see the look on their faces.

Not that I’m expecting any of, er, that, though Joan Collins is 79 and still goes like a train, I’d just like someone you’d call a lady, though someone proud and strong, the kind of girl to whom the expression “I gave him a piece of my mind” doesn’t mean she’s had a lobotomy. We could sit in the garden together on sunny evenings, and I could fetch her a blanket when it started to get cool. We could talk about the old times, when we only had three channels and had to walk over to the TV to change them. We could talk about where we were the night of the moon landing, or when Elvis pelvissed on the telly, or when JFK was shot (I’d tell her I was standing on a grassy knoll, just to see the look of surprise and then the eyes-up-to-heaven smile on her face). We wouldn’t have shared memories, but we’d have memories to share.

I’m going to ring her. We won’t grow old together, it’s too late for that, but we could be old together, and that might just be enough.

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8 thoughts on “Both Sides Now

  1. Pseu

    ‘… the kind of girl to whom the expression “I gave him a piece of my mind” doesn’t mean she’s had a lobotomy’ – marvellous stuff!

    Reply

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