Monday, August 10, 2009

Once a cliché, always a cliché

Unlike some of my friends’ dads, when I was a kid, my father didn’t have a subscription to Playboy. My buddy Steve’s dad would dispose of his old magazines in the trash; easily retrievable to our youthful delight. One day my father caught me “practicing” with a copy of the magazine. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going convince him I was really interested in the article about Gore Vidal. He summarily tore each page out of the magazine one-by-one and burned them in the fireplace; but not without gazing at each page momentarily before submitting them to the flames.

Though even back in those early days of the budding Sexual Revolution, the young Hugh Hefner seemed like a cliché to me. Who in the world stood around in pajamas all day wearing a smoking jacket? And just what exactly is the purpose of a smoking jacket anyway? But Hef and the beautiful young women and the key clubs and the Playboy mansion helped move us somewhat adroitly through a time of sexual Renaissance. And for that contribution he should be admired.

But that was then and this is now; Hugh Hefner is now 83 years old. So why the hell is he still being seen with women young enough to be his granddaughters hanging on his arm? Why is it seemingly OK for Hef to age, but not the women he surrounds himself with? Quite frankly, I don’t like the implication. The message of Hef, in my mind, has gone from cliché to perverse. And it doesn’t move us as men forward to a higher plane regarding our relationship with women.

There have been myriads sociological studies published hypothesizing about how women likely evolved behaviors to seek out the most viable mate for their potential offspring; how men seek the most fertile and healthy women to carry on their genes. Women manifest these traits in terms of seeking men possessing wealth and power. Therefore powerful men like Donald Trump and Bill Clinton continue to attract younger women in spite of their age.

Yet to me, age difference is a significant barrier to success in a relationship. Putting aside the psycho-sociological aspects of child bearing attributes, what else do two people have in common beyond sexual compatibility? The answer is: hundreds of things. A common shared culture and history, for one – sharing similar goals and values is also crucial.

When I married my second wife, we soon discovered that our parents had given us some of the same identical childhood books. As we merged our lives along with our household items, we found we both had many of the same record albums (although mine were more scratched-up than hers). There exists a common thread between two people of similar age that is often built from nothing more profound than simply being on the planet at the same time and place. Hef may be able to recall what he was doing the day John Kennedy was shot; but likely his current girlfriends’ parents probably were not even born yet.

I have been fortunate to have been married to two lovely ladies (both blondes, by the way) during my lifetime. Both of these women have become accomplished and successful and wise over the intervening years. And through the passing intervening decades, they both indeed remain quite physically beautiful women.
I still notice beautiful women, though now, often it’s a shapely lady with grey hair walking down the street who can turn my head. My step-son observed such a diverting glance one time and admonished: “Bob, you are a married man!” I replied, “Jesse, it’s when I STOP looking at beautiful woman that your mom needs to start worrying.”

I have lost what little respect I had for Hugh Hefner. His message, once important, has become extinct in his continuing to perpetrate this cliché. I would respect him far more if he were to present the many bright, beautiful and accomplished older women today on his arm rather than young “girls” a fraction of his age. In truth, much of what makes a woman attractive is the confidence and sensuality she exudes from her mere presence. These qualities are achieved only over time and through experience – that, and a little touch of grey, I find incredibly sexy.
After being married for 40 years, I took a careful look at my wife one day and said:

"Honey, 40 years ago we had a cheap apartment, a cheap car, slept on a sofa bed and watched a 10-inch black and white TV, but I got to sleep every night with a hot 25-year-old gal.

“Now I have a $500,000.00 home, a $45,000.00 car, nice big bed and plasma screen TV, but I’m sleeping with a 65-year-old woman. It seems to me that you're not holding up your side of things."

My wife is a very reasonable woman. She told me to go out and find a hot 25-year-old gal, and she would make sure that I would once again be living in a cheap apartment, driving a cheap car, sleeping on a sofa bed and watching a 10-inch black and white TV.

Aren't older women great? They really know how to solve your mid-life crisis.


kara said...

if i had a smoking jacket, i would totally wear it everywhere.

Robert the Skeptic said...

I have an apron I wear when I BBQ. It has written on the front: "Men only cook when it's dangerous"