A funny thing happened to me at Doris’ food market today… I was standing in the check out line and I took a glance at the man in front of me loading up his groceries. It occurred to me that he was extremely handsome. I mean, VERY good looking. He wasn’t a kid, or an elderly gentleman, but a ruggedly, attractive guy over 40 who had captured my attention.
Now this is NOT something that ordinarily happens to me at the check out line when I buy food. I run my errands and don’t gawk at men. Especially since I shop for groceries near a senior community, so the majority of males who I see shopping for dinner are either in one of those go cart apparatuses or are using a walker. (Not that there is anything wrong with that. After my accident two years ago, I too was restricted to those devices for a few months. ) But, because I either see young kids or really old people where I shop, I don’t think about hunky men. And I rarely ever see a handsome man that turns my head at the food store. I just don’t. In fact, I don’t go clubbing or out looking for that sort of thing. I might go to a Sherlock Holmes lecture, a poetry slam, or a Shakespeare festival now and then, or check out a science fiction convention, but Klingons and old Jedi Knights are not especially sexy to me. So, I admit it, today I couldn’t help but stare while I loaded up my food on the check out counter. And this unusually handsome fellow looked as yummy as the Italian pastry he was putting on the conveyer belt. Delicious!
And just as my mind began to wander…. I was brought back to earth by him speaking out, “Hi Pop, I got all your groceries loaded for you.” And there walks up an older gentleman with similar features who was the reflection of what this man would probably look like 25 or 30 years down the road. I glanced from father to son and realized that while the son was giving me heart palpitations, the father just looked like a nice older gentleman. And then something dawned on me that was horrifying!!!
I suddenly realized that most likely I was closer in age to the father, then to the son. Yep. I looked closely at the father and he was probably in his late 60’s or early 70’s, putting his son right around the age of my oldest child. And instantly I felt like a dirty old lady… and rather silly. And I began to laugh and could not stop. The cashier and the two men turned and looked at me rather puzzled and I just stated through waves of laughter, “Don’t mind me, I was just thinking about something funny.” And the men proceeded to check out while I continued to giggle and cover my mouth because I couldn’t contain my chuckles.
When it was finally my turn, I greeted the gal behind the register and she was now laughing because I was. (We all know that laughter is engaging and catches on.) “You seem to be having a lovely day,” she smiled. And I responded still stifling my laughter, “Yes, I certainly am.”
And so, today I had a real slap in the face of life. We really don’t perceive ourselves as we are and we don’t ever feel old on the inside. And I think I understood what most men and women who are in their 60’s probably find to be true. That we are likely more physically attracted to younger people than to those our own age. Unless of course you are fortunate enough to still be in love with the same person for decades. Then you don’t seem to notice the aging. You see the person behind and beyond the exterior. And that is a wonderful gift.
I remember not noticing how gravely ill my younger son’s father looked at the end of his life because I didn’t really see the dying man. Instead I thought about the young man I fell in love with because it was his eyes and smile that stared back at me. That was much easier to bear than the person who had dwindled down to skin and bones. We see what we want to see. And love truly does blind us to age, illness, and even sometimes to flaws.
But as a single woman in her 60’s, who doesn’t go out looking for anything in life except enriching my heart and mind, I don’t really think about attraction very often. The love that engulfs me is that of my children and my grandchildren. I am still working on changing the world, getting Hillary elected President, making sure gun laws are safer .. so who has time for that dating nonsense?
But, today I realized that the handsome 40 something man at the food market looked mighty good. REALLY good actually. And when he glanced at me, most likely the truth is, he probably didn’t think anything at all, or if he did, he may have thought I looked a little like his mother. And that’s pretty funny. Oh here come the giggles again…
**Clarification: I am not in any way putting down men my age. They are all adorable in the same way women my age are beautiful. We are, what we are! And the years of wisdom we have gained are a thing of beauty in itself!!! Peace out. xo 🙂