Confessions of a middle-aged woman who likes to look. Suggestive, not explicit.
|Well, I see him every night in tight blue jeans/In the pictures in a blue-boy magazine..."She-Bop" --Cyndi Lauper
There are things my mother never told me about middle-age, maybe because she didn’t know. But how I wish she had.
Not that I ever had many problems with the whole dating ritual. I grew up heterosexual, and though I was a late bloomer, I was confident that some day I would find the man of my dreams and be married happily ever after. Well, it took until college before I started dating, but I picked up the ropes quickly; and after several years of stops and starts, I found that man of my dreams. Even better, I was the woman of his dreams, and we got married. No punch line here; we’re still happily married years later, and I have no regrets.
Let me backtrack a little. I never really looked at guys again once I’d gotten engaged; I never even thought about it. My husband was the handsomest guy out there, so what was the point? I kept this attitude all through my thirties, sparing an occasional glance for a celebrity or two (Paul McCartney’s been a favorite since my teen years), but most of the time happy with home, work and family. Life was boring but sweet.
Then, around the time I hit forty or maybe a little later, things began changing. I started noticing how many handsome guys there were out there. Not guys my age, either; young guys. Young enough to be my sons, almost, if I’d become a mother when I’d hit my teen years. It wasn’t something that happened all at once; it kind of sneaked up on me.
I think the first time I really became aware of what was going on was a few summers ago. I went to see one of the big summer blockbuster films, one I’d been looking forward to. There was an actor in it--I’ll call him Mr. A.--whom I’d seen in a much less popular film, but one that’d been critically acclaimed and that I’d enjoyed. He was talented, and I knew he’d do a good job with the role. But I hadn’t paid any attention to his looks.
That changed after I saw Mr. A’s new movie. I kept thinking how handsome he was, even sexy. He looked a lot like my husband, except ten or fifteen years younger. I started with his face, but then I began eyeing his shoulders, and the muscles under his T-shirt, and his hips and legs...and other places that I’d rather not embarrass myself by mentioning. All of it looked great. That’s when I woke up and thought, “What the hell are you thinking?!”
It didn’t stop with that, either. I began looking at ordinary guys, the ones I saw in the grocery store or record shop (a great place to see young men) or just walking through the mall window-shopping. Except I was watching the guys more than the mall windows. There were so many of them. Tall and slim, with cute smiles and long legs and gorgeous eyes of all different colors. During the summer was the best time, because then I’d drive past construction sites and roofing jobs. Most of the men there are not lookers, but the ones who were ALWAYS had their shirts off, with magnificent tans. It’s a wonder I didn’t drool all over the steering wheel.
The problem’s only been getting worse the older I get. At first, I was at least discreet; I’d look at the object of my desires sidelong, trying not to be too obvious as I’d stare at him and indulge myself in diverting thoughts. Then last summer, at the neighborhood pool, I was overcome at the sight of the sole lifeguard sitting there, nothing on but his suit and a fantastic tan, with a body to match. I watched him every chance I could get. There were a lot of them since he was sitting about five feet away and our kids were the only ones there. We even chatted a bit, the three of us. Did I mention that my husband was sitting right beside me? That didn’t even inhibit me much. I sat there and ogled happily, and the couple of times that the lifeguard caught me at it, I just smiled at him. He smiled back; I suspect he was flattered. I like to think I’m not ugly. My husband would tell you I’m not--quite the opposite, in fact--but it doesn’t matter, since looking is as far as I ever plan to go.
Sometimes this habit can get me into trouble. Recently I was on vacation and forgot to bring enough lingerie for myself. So off we went to the local K-Mart for some underthings. I put them in the cart and we did some more shopping, then my husband sent me on ahead to the checkout line while he grabbed a couple more items. You’ve probably guessed that the clerk in that line was young and cute. I couldn’t help smiling--it’s automatic, now, whenever I see one of these babes--and he smiled back. “I like your shirt,” he said.
“Thanks, I’m a Beatles fan,” I said as he began ringing up the items on the belt, hoping he was really thinking about what lay under the shirt. That’s when I looked down in my cart and realized what I was buying. Stupid, probably--he wouldn’t have noticed, or cared if he did notice--but I felt my face get hot, and I let my daughter take over while I beat a hasty retreat, pretending I’d forgotten to buy a candy bar, until my husband came back and I waved him forward. The kid was probably more interested in my daughter, anyway. She was much closer to his age than I was.
I should point out here that this phenomenon, apart from being quite entertaining, has other advantages. My husband, thank God, is all for it as long as I confine myself to looking; probably because he’s just as guilty of ogling women, and has been for a lot longer. It’s helped my marital relations (), and my muse, too.
But, at any rate, I wish my mother had warned me that I was going to turn into a lecher in my middle age. I guess I should get used to it, since it’s showing no signs of abating. In fact, this summer I began watching a TV show in reruns with my daughter, since she was raving about how funny it was. It had a lot of raunchy humor, which I didn't like, but the guys on the show were interesting. I’d heard of one of them and thought he was sort of cute, but his character was an idiot. I like intellectual guys. The one on the show who was smartest, though, wasn’t too attractive. But then I noticed the quiet guy whom the plot rotated around, and that was it. I was gone again. He was thin, with hair long but not too long, and a handsome face and a really great body...and even younger than Mr. A. “Why can’t you control yourself?” I thought, helplessly in love (or lust) already. So, after a few episodes when I’d learned Mr. B’s name, I looked him up on the Web--and guess what.
He’s going to be in next summer’s big blockbuster film sequel, costarring with Mr. A.
Man, I tell you, I think God is having a big laugh, watching me. And the kid who plays Harry Potter is only growing older....
10-29-2010: Wow! Instant fame! I never would've imagined several thousand hits in a day. Thank you, Roger Ebert. Glad you liked it.
Shameless plug for my online journal: http://lynn9mckenzie.livejournal.com