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LauraGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 11-Feb-16 15:51:43

Youthful pleasures? Dream on

Author and poet Christopher Matthew talks of awkward moments, inevitable relationship quirks and the rousing possibility of late-flowering love in your sixties and seventies.

Christopher Matthew

Youthful pleasures? Dream on

Posted on: Thu 11-Feb-16 15:51:43


Lead photo

It all changed when Dustin Hoffman met Anne Bancroft's Mrs Robinson in The Graduate.

Since time immemorial, older men have been falling for younger women. Be they divorced, widowed or still married, the longing of the long in tooth to re-live the pleasures of their youth can be irresistible. For a few, the adage that young women go for older men is proved to be triumphantly true. Most dream on.

'It's Never Too Late to Fall in Love,' warbles the elderly Lord Brockhurst in Sandy Wilson's musical The Boy Friend. The object of his affection happens to be a flirty young woman named Dulcie. But love can strike anyone at any time – and at any age.

These days, an older woman is as likely to fall for a young chap as the other way around. I doubt I am alone among my fellow grey beards who, after seeing what happened when Dustin Hoffman met Anne Bancroft in The Graduate, started looking at our friends' mothers through fresh eyes.

Why an older woman can be as flirtatious as she wants with a younger man and no one thinks the worse of her is something of a mystery. The only reason I can think why older men should be denied the mild pleasures of admiring youth and beauty is not so much the fear of women’s disapproval as their indifference.

And however athletic the pair of them might be in the bedroom in the early stages, contentment and warm companionship become conditions increasingly to be cherished.

The story goes that veteran jazz musicians, Ronnie Scott and George Melly, were standing on the pavement outside Ronnie's club in Soho when they spotted two pretty girls coming towards them. As they passed, the men smiled at them in what they imagined to be a friendly way, only for the girls to ignore them totally and walk on by.

"I don't think they fancied us, Ron," said George.
"They never even saw us, George," said Ronnie.

But, of course, there is more to late-flowering love than sex. True, the 70-year-old widower who takes a shine to the 68-year-old widow next door may find that, having plucked his youthful chat-up lines from the sludge of memory, he can't remember what the next move is; but, generally speaking, most who embark on an old geezer's love affair are more than capable of taking awkward moments in their stride, and rising above them. And however athletic the pair of them might be in the bedroom in the early stages, contentment and warm companionship become conditions increasingly to be cherished.

Shared interests – at the book club, for example, or on cruise liners, or on the golf course – will always help keep the cogs of marriage nicely oiled, but few manage to last the course without one of them driving the other potty from time to time.

The grit in the oyster is usually some trivial and inexplicable quirk of behaviour: repeating long-winded anecdotes; or disappearing upstairs the moment the lunch is on the table; or (in the case of the husband)
insisting on wearing clothes that should long since have found their proper home in the local household waste recycling centre.

Let's face it, nothing helps to keep a marriage on an even keel better than the odd spot of brisk bickering.

Christopher's new book of poetry, A Bus Pass Named Desire, is published by Little, Brown and is available on Amazon

By Christopher Matthew

Twitter: @Gransnet

rubylady Fri 12-Feb-16 03:11:43

After my divorce to a man four years my senior, I was swept off my feet by a young guy who was 19 years my junior. It was bliss, beautiful and I was very happy for the short five years we spent together. But I would rather have had it than not, definately, regardless of the heartache it has caused me by splitting up. And the five years were happier than the 19 years with my ex husband.

I don't know if I will ever find happiness like it again.

Izabella Fri 12-Feb-16 11:48:36

Good for you rubylady

Elrel Fri 12-Feb-16 12:53:11

I'll second that!!

lucyinthesky Fri 12-Feb-16 15:38:45

and me ruby flowers

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 12-Feb-16 15:46:18

Rubylady that is such a lovely post for this pre-Valentines day. smile

rubylady Fri 12-Feb-16 20:51:20

Thank you all for your lovely comments.

I received today, some freesia flowers for my Valentine treat for myself, from my doggie, of course! grin They are beautiful, thank you Maggie love.

I have also got a food order coming tomorrow, with muffins, chocolate, magazine, delicious jam and marmalade etc. So, I may not be attached to a human male romantically, but we will have a smashing time on our own (me and Maggie) watching old Birds of a Feather and Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads enoying scrummy treats. cupcake brew

shelana Sat 13-Feb-16 10:04:38

I remarried when I was 74 to a man 3 years older.We had a wonderful 8 years together .We married after 2 years-a fairly long engagement.My grandchildren acted as bridesmaids and ushers.We had a jazz band at the reception and 100 guests.We each inherited another family and fresh interests and had a wonderful time travelling to far off places.If you meet the right partner in older age go for it!

pattie Sat 13-Feb-16 12:23:42

My new partner is seven years younger than me and that certainly keeps me on my toes. No giving up makeup or dressing like an Oap. Between him and my two daughters my wardrobe hair and makeup are constantly scrutinised and up graded.
We met when I was 60 and I hid my bus pass on our first date( there was a two hour delays on taxis)!
But we are really happy and are into our fifteenth year of togetherness. I think we had both resigned ourselves to being alone and it has been a real bonus for both of us. So happy Valentine's Day to all oldies.

grannyactivist Tue 16-Feb-16 15:37:35

My husband of thirty years is ten years younger than me and we continue to be very happy together. Yesterday he came across an old photo of us from when we were first married and declared that whilst I have aged him he's kept me looking young! (Very true!)

Chichachongawonga Sun 21-Feb-16 13:43:31

I think happiness is a true blessing and it doesn't matter how long it lasts, its the fact that you have actually experienced it that counts and can add it to your wonderful memories of life however short. Well done to everybody who takes this leap, I know so many people who meet the opportunity and don't take it as 'they are too set in their ways, too old for that sort of thing,would have to start 'performing' in sexual relations and its so long ago since they did that they don't think they can manage it now,the grown-up children wouldn't like it,they feel its disloyal to a loved partner who has passed on........sad I even know a lady who turned down a wonderful man who wanted to take her on a cruise as she would have to shave her legs and hadn't done it for years grin grin He should have rung me...wink I would have suffered leg waxing for that grin

Luckygirl Sun 21-Feb-16 14:34:41

Weird - I don't shave my legs for my OH. Surely the point of a close companion is that you can be yourself.

reikilady Sun 21-Feb-16 16:36:01

can anyone tell me how you can be 'sept off your feet' and 'fall in love' ?
Seriously is they not expressions for teenagers.
I recently talked to a lady of 80 and she told me she had fallen in love with a guy similar age and they were like teenagers. Yuk I find this all silly.

I would not mind a friendship, someone to go out for meals etc but all this silly romance sounds just unbelievable. I loved my husband (I think) but i didnt 'fall' in love. I just dont know how it works

Bellanonna Sun 21-Feb-16 16:53:13

Reikilady. Have u changed names again? I prefer the old tea bags version !! Apologies for interrupting thread...

reikilady Sun 21-Feb-16 19:48:24

yes, I logged out and forgot my password and email so I get back on the old email and I think I will just have to stay as reiki but Im ethel in my heart. x

Bellanonna Sun 21-Feb-16 19:52:57

Well that's how I'll always think of you ethel-with-a-tea-in-the-middle !

grannyjack Tue 23-Feb-16 06:06:07

Well I fell in love / lust at 44 & felt and behaved like a teenager. 23 years later we are now over that stage but we are very close, love each other dearly & often reminisce about the days we never got out of bed.

annifrance Tue 23-Feb-16 23:52:04

OH is 15 years younger, just coming up 17 years together. Very different from the other two but he's lasted longest! and was a rock in the very tricky, and frightening, time getting out of a marriage to an Asian version of Rob Titchener. I shout at Helen in the Archers, but then remember how I didn't recognise it all. Get a nasty grip in my stomach every time I listen.

witchygran Sun 13-Mar-16 11:58:06

I walked away from a marriage to a controlling alcoholic, then had two relationships with men younger than me. I knew it would never go anywhere but boosted my poor self-esteem a treat! Then, very unexpectedly, in my early fifties, I met a man, four years older than me, with whom I have spent the best eighteen years of my life. We did indeed have a wonderfully romantic, lustful relationship and I am happy to say that nothing has changed. Reikilady, don't put it down simply because you don't believe in it, there is at least one very happy 80 year old lady out there!

Seasidesu Thu 17-Mar-16 18:50:51

I really would love to make a film about this subject. I think society's attitude to people finding love at the laterstages of their life is quite disgusting. It's usually one of horror.. This is very wrong. Love is not just the domain of the young. I am in a very new relationship which is wonderful. He is 67 & I am 70. Love can strike at any age. Is their a possibility that Christopher Matthew could contact me please. I have already made one film called 'Extraordinary Times' a positive view on ageing, it can be seen on You Tube. If anyone us interested . Thank you I think you'll like it. Love Su.

campocook Tue 29-Mar-16 10:27:40

I was widowed last year and in my mind was going to remain single for the rest of my life. Then whilst out walking the dog I bumped into someone as you do and from that day my world and his has been totally turned upside down. As others have said we are like teenagers and we are both so so happy. In fact in a couple of months we are moving in together! I am 58 he is 66 and I now gave a reason to carry on.

campocook Tue 29-Mar-16 10:28:32

Sorry should read, I know have a reason to carry on.

Imperfect27 Wed 30-Mar-16 06:14:36

Second marriage for me. I met my DH when we were both 46 and married six years later. we have five grown up children between us. My 'old' peer group have all stayed in their first marriages so now celebrating 30 plus years and I sometimes think of them as 'the smugs' - not always happy, quite often moan about their partners, but chalk up year after year in marriage like a badge of honour. Both my partner and I were injured parties in marriages where our spouses had affairs and treated us quite badly. We are very happy and feel very blessed to be in a positive relationship where we have not simply 'settled' for comfort, but enjoy passion, laughter and a renewed love of life. Those who have been in ine marriage all their adult life can be dismissive of second marraiges. Believe me, I would have loved to have kept my vows for life first tiem around, but my spouse didn't! As it is, second time around, I feel I have a much more earthed, honest and equal relationship and I do hope I will be able to celebrate milestone anniversariews as time goes by, I will never take it all for granted.

annsixty Wed 30-Mar-16 06:40:15

My D is 50, separated now for 18 months. Her ex has moved on and now living 3500 mile away with his new love. I long for her to do the same but with two teenagers and working to keep their standard of living as least approaching what they had before she doesn't have the time or the impetus.
I often think I am more bitter than she is.

Imperfect27 Wed 30-Mar-16 08:22:16

annsixty it is so hard when you are left as sole provider and carer. My ex went when my four children were aged 6-14 years and I couldn't even think of having a new relationship for a very long time. I was on my own for nine years and it just seemed the least complicated way to be! Teen years are particularly hard - our children seem to need stability from us more than ever at this time and I wasn't prepared to put someone new before them when they had already had so much to contend with. Sadly my youngest died at age 12, but it is no accident that I didn't meet someone worthwhile until my second youngest was over 18. I am sorry for you and your daughter - I know my parents grieved for me over my divorce and did all they could to support, but there were many hard years. I hope your DD will be open to meeting someone new in time. From experience, it does take time - all the harder when you know ex is seeing someone new (Grrrrrrr!!!!!) , but worth the waiting for ...