Wise Old Aunt
October 23, 2012 § 101 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
My wise old aunt rings occasionally and we talk for ages, laughing a lot, on the subject of finding a man. She’s had a few in her time and is no prude, but her notions are steadfastly reactionary. Years ago, it was she who told me that if I wanted to find a husband I would need to learn to cook. At the time, I thought the suggestion typically absurd and insufferably unreconstructed, but even my more-progressive-than-some (now ex-)husband railed at my culinary inadequacies, and since then I have witnessed many a partnership flounder in the face of the woman’s domestic shortcomings.
It was this old aunt who first told me that when a single man comes on the market, you have about ten minutes. This I pooh-poohed as ludicrous, but her words have been proved spot on again and again over the past few plankton years. One example among many: a rare match-maker once asked me to dinner in order to introduce me to a recently divorced, handsome academic. Three days before it, he rang the hostess. He’d fallen in love and could he bring his new girlfriend?
Yesterday my aunt told me that an arrangement with a younger man was necessarily doomed and the friendship would be in tatters were I to sleep with my new twinkle. I know. Yet I had weighed up the pros and cons over the past few weeks and had decided that the pros – fun, confidence boost, a spring in the step, if fleeting – trumped the cons – temporary pleasure, hurt in the face of the inevitable, however prepared I am for it. But I would be a fool not to listen to my aunt’s old-fashioned words.
“I don’t disapprove – he is younger but very much an adult – only tread with care. Kiss him if you like, but don’t sleep with him,” she said. “The moment – the second – you do, the power shifts out of your favour as funny, wonderful, attractive older woman, and is all in his. Then it is over and you’ve lost a good friend as well as a lover.”
Would that I could be as laid-back as cougar-y Cindy Gallop with her annals of young men for sex, but she and I are different animals, obviously. I can’t entirely preclude emotional attachment. Been there, done that. It would be a rare person these days who is shocked by an older woman’s relationship with a younger man, but my aunt is absolutely right: in almost all cases – voracious Cindy is an exception – it is the woman who ultimately stands to lose.
There again, where’s the fun in always heeding good advice?