Being 72 is a bit odd for me. It seems I am suddenly more attractive. Who knew?
I am NOT what one might think of as a physically attractive man. Not really. But I am not a pig-dog either. I am not even grossly ugly. A smidge disfigured, perhaps….if you count fat as disfigurement. Which I obviously don’t.
I am just an ordinary, potato-faced old man who is still surprised when looking in the mirror. “Sheesh, I do NOT look like Tom Sellek, after all. I have to come to grips with that reality…..someday.”
But, usually I just stay away from mirrors and eventually slide into my quasi-Tom Sellek mentality. In other words, I live in image denial. OK, image fantasy. And, of course, the attentions of women (or lack thereof) helps to keep my inner Tom in check.
But, lately, woman are flirting with me. Now, to be fair, they are not really flirting. They are just being accepting and friendly. But that is a huge step up from watching them back away or run screaming from the room. This is NEW, better, gender relations.
Maybe they think men over 70 are safe…?
I recall being scheduled to give an interview with an applicant for a job. The interviewee was a young Vietnamese woman (this was back in the 70’s when I was helping refugees) and she was waiting in a small office. The door was open and so I strode in. As I crossed the threshold I saw her face adjust from a relaxed repose to one of fear or, at least apprehension. Might have been revulsion.
I said, “Hi. I am David Cox.” That did nothing to allay her fears and she pulled back into her chair and began to make herself look small while, at the same time, she let out a distinct whimper. “It’s OK”, I said stepping closer. “I am happy to meet you.” And that was it – she curled up in the fetal position and let out a muted scream. Like most men, I know female rejection but this was more than the normal, everyday kind of rejection. I was causing fear and loathing…..merely by existing.
I briefly considered offering her a hug to console her but realized that might result in charges so I simply turned and went to get my Asian secretary who was all of 90 pounds wearing heavy boots and an overcoat. S went in and made everything nice.
She came out and said that I could now go in. She said that it might be best that I leave the door open. She said it might be best NOT to make direct eye contact. She said it would definitely be best not to get too close or speak too loud. “Would it be best if we just talked on the phone or have you pass notes?”
“Oh, hah hah. You are so funny. She’s just never seen anyone who looks like you before. She was terrified. I said that you were ugly but nice.”
“Thanks. You are truly a great secretary, ya know that? Ugly, huh?”
“Well, you know….by Asian standards, for sure. Yuck! And, I suppose, even by Gweilo standards, you are no Tom Sellek.”
“Thanks, S. We are done here. I am going in to see her now. No more pep talks for me, OK?”
But all that has changed since hitting 70. I might be entering my ‘hunk’ era. I think this because older women are smiling at me and talking ‘extra’. Well, talking, anyway. And some are talking way extra. Some have even touched my arm. And as all men come to finally realize (way too late), women have to make the ‘first touch’ before anything can happen.
Now, to be fair, none of my new admirers are spokes-models, beauty contestants or even under 55. Most are showing their mileage but, on the other hand, so am I. So, for all intents and purposes, this is a new-to-me, peer-to-peer kind of flirting. I have also noticed that they are all single or at least do not wear wedding rings. Lonely might be an explanation?
Did I mention all the touching? Again, to be more accurate, one woman touched my arm because she was losing her balance but, still….touching is touching. “Did you want to get a room?”
“Never mind. But you should know that I am taken.”
“Taken with what? Coronavirus? Delusions? Running a high fever, dear?”
C’mon! Cracking jokes is just great flirting!
Anyway, I write this because the last few days have seen a major increase in stranger intimacy, outright affection, and there is real longing in their eyes. Could be madness, I suppose….
Mind you, such behaviour is exhibited most often when I have just played the caretaker card. “My wife is just out of the hospital. Surgery, ya know. She needs a lot of attention. I hafta be back home soon, you understand. Gotta make her lunch. She can’t walk, ya know. Poor sweetie. But, that’s OK. She’ll get better. Thanks for cutting the cake in half, Donna.”