A gent of 75 is in love with a woman of 25. I know this guy. Let's call him Wolfie. He's an intelligent, successful man who runs his own business in Southern California. He's sensitive, caring and generous with one small ding in his psychological armor: he refuses to admit that he's old and going to die. The problem with Wolfie, like so many other older single men I see in Los Angeles, is that he lives in both illusion and denial. He devours his fantasy life but refuses to see how it devours him. While he pursues the lovely Lola of his old age dreams, he misses out on the opportunity to find a real woman closer to his age with whom to share his life.
I know another guy, a fairly well known filmmaker. He's in his seventies like Wolfie and is seriously and publicly involved with a woman much younger than he is. But he's a filmmaker and she's an actor so there you have it. It's working for them. A mutual exchange of talents for whatever reasons suits them both. As adults, they've decided to saddle the horse and ride the journey together. I suspect there's less illusion here than in Wolfie's case but still I would bet Filmmaker carries some fear of the impending decay and loss of his abilities that inevitably accompanies aging.
Now let's reverse the genders. Let's check out a woman in her fifties. Looks and acts a bit younger. Stays relatively fit and is very much engaged in life. She's compassionate, generous to a fault and supportive of others, financially stable and still quite attractive. Unlike Wolfie and Filmmaker she doesn't pursue men much younger than herself and not because she doesn't find them physically alluring and on rare occasions, emotionally and intellectually exciting. Although she has a firmer grip on the reality of finding a relationship after the age of 50 than most men, she's also not currently in a relationship that will see her through even the next decade of life. She has, on the other hand, accepted the fact she will die eventually but perhaps not before losing her memory and energy along with her muscle mass by the time she hits 90. She does not welcome or want this but has accepted it. From the time she was 14 she has known the loss of life through the monthly ritual of menstruation, the loss of hormones from menopause and the loss of at least one marriage, probably two. She's a bit more prepared to deal with being single in her old age, unlike the men in this tale.
I've spent a lot of time and energy in the last month thinking about the age issue because I recently found myself very attracted to a younger guy. There are lots of reasons for the attraction. First of all, everyone's attracted to this guy. It's impossible not to be. He's charismatic, funny, intelligent and "taken." The perfect storm for fantasy projections of middle-aged women. Okay I get that. But something interesting has happened during this Disney/Wizard of Oz/Hollywood Happy Ending fantasizing. I feel younger and sexier and I'm attracting more desirable men. Why?
Here's my conclusion. Youthful hormones that course through our bodies can be stimulated by simply hanging around younger men or women who get them going again. And once they get revived, the signals from our brain get sent out into the atmosphere and bring in more "juice," if you get my drift. So while Wolfie is sadly all by himself waiting endlessly for his 20 something to fall for him, he's turning away opportunities to engage with women say in their 30s or, god forbid, their 40s.
I, on the other hand, am smarter than Wolfie. I am ready, willing and able to reconnect. I was recently told I still had it by a pretty good looking guy in his forties. Not quite sure if the "it" he was referring to was the same "it" I hoped he was referring to but I'll let it ride and assume he was.
If life is meant to be lived right up until the moment we take our last breath, as many wise women claim, then it makes sense I would hold onto my fantasy younger man for a little bit longer in the hopes that someone with whom I can genuinely engage and perhaps deeply love will show up. When you're my age, you have to make love happen by sending out sexy signals, hoping for the best, and then letting go a 110 percent. After all, I may just end up living to be 100 years old. Look at it this way. By the time I'm in my 70s, my fantasy guy will be an older man of 60. When I'm 80, he'll be well into Social Security (if there's any still left, which is doubtful). We're all just fools for love after all, right? And there's no fool like an old fool, man or woman.