Friday, April 18, 2008

My Body, My Self

After Meeting last week, I was eating lunch with a group of women Friends. One of the older gentlemen came towards me slowly, and carefully squatted next to my chair. This took some time and some doing, because he walks with a cane.

"Friend Heather," he began slowly in his unhurried, deliberate voice, "you are living proof of the proposition that less is more."

He met my eyes, smiling at me as I worked out what he was saying. When I smiled back, he said, "You look great."

We shared a smile for a moment, and then I thanked him. He slowly rose to his feet and walked away, leaving me to appreciate the joy of spending time with Quakers.

It was a few hours before I started wondering whether his wife had put him up to it.

It was a few days before I realized that I find old and young men more attractive these days than men my own age. A man at the next checkout counter at the grocery store smiled at me, and I was repelled. He had a pot belly and a bad hair cut, but what really got to me was the tired look in his eyes. Weighed down by his responsibilities, maybe. Whatever it was, it wasn't the least bit sexy.

I'm feeling young and sexy myself these days, having reclaimed my body from the years of childbearing and breastfeeding and painful disability. My hips move freely and there's a spring in my step, and I'm very much enjoying the way I look and feel.

I'm finding my path through middle-aged sexuality to be a place of exotic surprises, a far richer and lusher paradise than I thought it would be. I flirt with very old and very young men and don't take it too seriously. I feel freer than I did when I was younger, more sure of myself. I enjoy myself more. It's not at all what I expected to find when I got here, and I'm savoring it.

Fortunately, my husband is not one of the middle-aged men who has let himself go. He's still got his boyish figure and his hair. When he recently got back from a trip, I took one look at him and thought, "Damn, he's a good-looking man."

There's a lot to be said for old married sex, too.

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