I’m off to supper with Bertram where we intend to wallow in conversations about late life sex and the waning power of attraction. We will bemoan the fact that we get on brilliantly, find the conversation of the other scintillating and yet there is zilch sexual chemistry passing between us. It’s a mystery.
One thing’s for sure. I have not resigned myself to a life without ‘it’. The search for it, the management of it and ultimately the pain of it. I am also still in the business of projecting glamour. Not all the time of course. Sometimes now I rush to put on my pyjamas with indecent haste and sit on the sofa with Tottie, reading or watching a DVD or listening to music. Beethoven mainly or Strauss’ Last Songs or Mahler ditto. Music with weight and a recognition of the sorrow of the passage of time. Or darling Leonard Cohen’s recent stuff , which looks back at sixty as the peak of his power. How reassuring that is. Sometimes I work on a poem that has risen ragged during the day.
At other times I raid the dressing up box and put together outfits for my own pleasure. Mad woman in the attic clothes, Lala would call them, that will not cross the threshold and see the light of day- I couldn’t do that to my daughters. Bizarre outfits like the cowboy hat and fringed jacket I brought back from Arizona or the bowler hat and long leather gloves and whip I bought in Lidl for 2.99(the whip that is; the gloves cost a week’s pension but that’s another story.)
I still care what I look like when I go out. I hope I always do. I don’t ever want to be one of those women who goes out with a long hair hanging from the chin or clumps of grey ones gathering at the corner of the mouth like mould. I hope my pension will always accommodate a pedicure and that I never reach the stage when my red toenails no longer give me pleasure.
I am not recognisable as the girl or young woman in the photo collage on my bedroom wall , even if inside I feel like her. The important thing as one gets older is to keep the system active. Keep feeling sexy, keep turning on one’s heels, turning up the collar and putting on the large sunglasses. Loving the day.
Tottie is showing me the way. Grey muzzled, she still is up for a romp. I sometimes think about when she has gone. Then I will be free to wander the city without feeling I have to get home to her. Perhaps I will stop in churchyards and eat ice cream or chips out of a bag. Perhaps I will sit there weeping quietly, missing my Tottie, at the same time as embracing my freedom. Life’s like that-full of ambiguities.
But that’s all ahead. Today I will wear a red jacket with lips to match and high heels. I will enjoy the male company and flirt a little. Then I will enjoy getting home and removing the trimmings, while rejoicing that I feel so good in my skin at last, even if that skin is losing its elasticity. Then I’ll climb into bed, voice my gratitude for another healthy, vibrant day and sleep like a baby.