Bertram for the first time in his life has got himself an older woman and he’s so thrilled with the discovery, he’s wondering why he’s never thought of it before, for in the words of Martin Amis “the older woman brings with her the glamour and mystery of a life lived, people met, places seen, experiences experienced.” Here, here I say (or is that hear,hear?) but then I would , wouldn’t I. Martin Amis, like Bertram, likes clever women too. Or maybe they both just like women.
I like older men, they give one more attention than the young and start, with the decreasing testosterone, to understand the importance of tender talk. Fire a women’s imagination, I say, and the whole of her will fire up. Body heat in a woman is fuelled by self esteem not twiddling knobs. Believe me I know. The trouble with older men is that after 50 the returns diminish and that life- long fear of impotence, more often than not, becomes a self -fulfilling prophecy. Who said that impotence was like trying to get a raw oyster into a parking meter? I bet that was Martin Amis as well.
So for a woman my age, it is probably better to spend the energy that a younger woman expends on attracting a man, on enjoying the memories and dressing up for fun. With this in mind I have turned my attention to my wardrobe. Aunty Mu reminded me that next weekend the clocks go forward and here in England we begin official summer time. Aunty Mu, at 98, is still celebrating the occasion by putting all her black clothes away and getting out the navy. I don’t do that but I get my summer stuff out of the cedar box where it’s wintered and sift through it, editing items according to the passage of time. I can see if something has lost its energy but now I have to try things on to see if we still go together. Some things are best not worn any more, like flower patterns and beige. Some things can’t be worn any more, like stilletos and low necks, unless you are Streisand or Loren and have someone to guide you across the room and fix the lighting wherever you choose to perch. No, the time has come for simplicity and only one attitude item at a time. My biker jacket still hangs in the wardrobe waiting for an outing, but not with biker boots. I have several much loved denim pieces but don’t risk double denim. I love bags more and dresses less. I am at last paying lip service to that horrid expression ‘mutton dressed as lamb’.
This new carefulness does not come naturally. I am the generation that brought in mini skirts, biba lipstick, tie dyed T shirts, long boots, and rock and roll. We are determined now at the other end not to emulate our crimpelene mothers or to dress old or Edinburgh Wool Mill ( if it still exists), which is pretty much the same thing. It’s a fine line between disappearing into the background and being mad woman in the attic and I walk the line.
So this summer it is jeans and cashmere twin sets and gladiator sandals and all those vintage accoutrements that have been building up over the many years. But in the privacy of the Warren I throw chiffon over the lamps and dance in basque, bowler and floaty skirts to George Michael. And dream as I have always done. Some things don’t change and I guess it’s in the confidence of the mature that is found that elusive allure.