Back in the day, when those of us who were a ‘child of the 60’s, were fluttering our Mary Quant eyelashes, and dancing round our handbags to Tamla Motown tunes, it seemed so damn cool for us to be seen out with an attractive, older, more worldly wise man.
Somehow, when you were 18 and freezing your tits off on the back of a Vespa, and some charmer nearly twice your age, came along swanking it big time, offering you a lift home in his Ford Cortina, you pretty soon started riding pillion in a frankly more pleasurable way.
And yes, ‘back in the day’, I too enjoyed liaisons with men considerably older than me, and far from feeling used and abused, (as apparently so many women 40 odd years later, now conveniently feel), I had a great time.
I went to places other girls my age only read about in magazines, I ate in good restaurants, and shopped in the West End while my mates were shopping in the market.
But whilst I eventually married a man my own age, girls who took the plunge and got hitched to ‘the much older man’, often come to regret it now they are in their early sixties, and living with men in their very late seventies and beyond.
We know that men age more quickly than women both in their hearts and in their heads, but in later life, when you are stuck in a marriage with a man who acts more like your Grandad, you do mind, and it does matter.
Most of us ladies who are only just saying ‘Hello Sixty’ with our bodies, are still saying ‘Hello Thirty’ in our heads.
Yes OK, physically our bunions are killing us, and we’ve got those annoying black things ‘floating on’ in our circa 1950’s eyes, but mentally, we are still feeling sexy, sociable, fit and flirty.
But that handsome devil who schmoozed his young bird’s knickers off all those years ago, and eventually put a ring on the Third Finger Left hand, isn’t bearing up quite so well. Now, there is a gaping chasm of years, which grows wider by the day.
Yes we are up for anything. We are getting into book clubs big time, and look forward to spending 10 minutes talking about the book, and 2 hours talking about sex, mainly fuelled by Prosecco.
Meanwhile the old man is at home enjoying quality time in his shed, thinking about a different kind of grinding on his home made lathe, with a bottle of Old Bob. Yes, he’s living his dream.
She see’s a party as a time for dancing, he see’s a party as much too noisy, and spends half the night sitting outside nursing a pint. Just as the night warms up, he demands to go home, while she isn’t feeling the Cinderella vibe. Her dancing shoes are just warming up.
Miss Sixty see’s a lively restaurant as full of atmosphere, it’s a time for chatting over good food, whilst the octogenarian husband complains that he can’t hear a thing above the ‘racket’, and grumbles that people should be eating and not making so much noise!
But it doesn’t end there. The man who is now approaching his 80th year, can’t comprehend why his still sprightly wife in her 60’s doesn’t think, and feel the same as he does, and the repercussions it has on their marriage and home life can be devastating.
A man born in the 1940’s will undeniably still be ‘old school’ in 2015, more set in his ways, and less able to accept that times have changed, and his wife has changed too.
With more and more ‘silver surfers’ on the internet, social media is there for the taking. Mrs Sizzling at Sixty now has her eyes wide open to sites that sell sex toys, and forums that mention the fuck word without a five minute warning.
If his erectile should be dysfunctioning, then at the click of a button she can secretly swap her man for a different man for a night of pleasure, with no penalty to pay.
(Himself will still think that Tupperware parties are alive and kicking in Kettering, he’ll be none the wiser)
The next day, because she’s got pretty sharp at that writing lark, she can share her ‘adventure’ on her blog, as Mr Complacent has no idea how to turn a computer on, he still prefers good old fashioned pen and paper.
Instead of her longed for retirement adventures, disappointment and resentment sets in. They retire to their own separate corners, him to the garden to talk to his plants, she to her computer where she will talk to her Facebook friends.
The once charming man older man, has morphed into a grumpy much older man. Because he can feel her slipping away, the once endearing trait of taking care of her, takes on a more sinister air, and becomes more like control.
‘Have a good time, and I’ll pick you up at 11.00 and drive you home’ becomes ‘where are you going, how long will you be’?
‘You look so sexy in that dress’ changes too, ‘that dress is far too short for you at your age’.
For women, today’s sixty is yesterday’s 40, and no matter how much the younger wife loved her older husband when they first tied the knot, he is the one who becomes needy, while she becomes more confident.
Yes, just when the older husband needs his younger wife most, he makes her want him less.
Who is the worldly wise one now? While he’s living in the past, she’s still planning her future, maybe this time with a much YOUNGER man.
Do you know anyone who sometimes struggles with the differences an ‘older husband/younger wife’ relationship brings in those retirement years?