Share this article Share This is easy to explain. Because we are more acquainted with our feelings, we are less surprised by them, and so are less at their mercy. Every day was a fresh assault on opportunity. We were always waiting for our lives to start, or to start again in another direction. Which made it hell for any woman who got entangled with us too early. We make better husbands now. There are enough examples of unhappy men who will dash off whenever the opportunity presents itself.
It's never too late: Rod Stewart is having a baby at the age of 66 with wife Penny Lancaster But assuming a degree of peaceableness in whatever the domestic arrangement happens to be, a man of 60 will accept that the peaceableness is worth preserving. The sound of someone you care about quietly sleeping by your side can come to seem God-given; the more especially if you know she enjoys the sound of you. Familiarity is said to breed contempt, but it no less often breeds desire.
Little by little, the idea of fidelity itself becomes alluring to a man. When he gets to 60, he discovers a haunting eroticism in it. How perverse, how perverted even, to save it all for one person.
Women understand this sooner than men. They are not shamed, as young men are, by the intensities of monogamy. All your love concentrated into one small knot of tenderness and lust; every other opportunity forsworn. How hot is that! You no longer have to conquer the entire world of women; you can live with the idea that not every woman wants you. It might be that men egg each other on to sexual fretfulness way past the age when sexual fretfulness should have passed, by pretending to dissatisfactions they no longer truly feel.
Sex was like marauding — one invasion of fresh territory after another, a pitiless taking what we needed without consideration for those we took from; or, indeed, for ourselves, because those blind, repetitive plunderings only wore down our own tempers too. They are performance-driven, imagining they are required to perform feats of endurance and versatility for which they will be judged not only by themselves — young men are harsh critics of their own erotic competence — but by women, whom they are almost invariably bound to disappoint for the reason that neither he nor she is likely to have chosen the other wisely.
So no judgment, no sense of the ridiculous. Just the procreative imperative and the peer group expectations that accompany it. Survive one another and you can at least call it experience. You owe it to those you hurt, and those with whom you hurt yourself, to get it right at last. Offers of Viagra and enhancement creams land in my spam tray by the hour, some of them promising to restore dexterities I never knew I had. It might work again tomorrow, but if not, ho hum; there is more than one way one of giving and receiving pleasure.
The average age of first marriage for men has increased from They are our fathers, after all. Perhaps fiery old men need to find a new animal to define them. You need a shared cultural history to prosper, and an equally matured sense of the preposterous. Playing lovers when one of you is really in loco parentis to the other might be fun for a while, but the older partner grows more desperate with every year, while the younger pines away watching life pass him or her by.
Nothing beats a mutuality tested over time and lasting into old age. Before him is the example of a friend in his late 80s who has just been widowed after an incomparably happy marriage. What is better, he wonders: The latter, he decides.