Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Age Gap.

I was recently saddened and perplexed by a situation that arose in one of my English classes. With one of my groups I was doing a reading exercise and the articles happened to be about love. One of the questions in the book was "do you believe in love at first sight?". I went around the room asking the question to all my students. It's a group of women, most of which are between the ages of 40 and 50 with the exception of one man who is in his 80s. When I got to him he flushed red, looked at his hands and said yes. The questions about love continued and he spoke up about relationship problems and how language can be one of them.

At the end of the lesson he lingered waiting for me to get my jacket on, and we walked out together, he brought up an experience he'd had on a recent holiday. He'd been to Slovenia with an organized tour and he met this woman who he fell madly in love with. He deeply regretted not having given her his address when she had asked for it. She apparently wanted to send him postcards.
I asked no questions, he told me everything on his own accord. He is married and didn't want his wife to find out which is why he didn't give her the address. As it turns out the girl was 20 years old and he was fantasizing about the lost opportunity of running off to meet her after receiving one of her postcards..

It was such a sad thing to see for a couple reasons. One is the fact that he felt that he'd missed an important opportunity. He was deeply upset by the events and wished he could turn back time. Secondly he spoke of his wife as if she didn't exist. Those were his words "It's as if she weren't there".  The loneliness that he exuded was very sad. Then there's the fact that my 80yr old student thought that a 20yr old girl would be interested in him.

I don't understand this last thing. This is why I am perplexed. It's mostly a thing that happens to older men. I'm sure it must happen to older women too but I don't see it happening to them all that often. It's blatant with older men though. Where I live, there are constantly stories of older frail and lonely men who need 24/7 care so the family hires a young caregiver. He generally falls in love with her shortly after. The woman is rarely local to this country but they are generally Albanian, Romanian or Ukrainian women and there's often a disaster with either him giving her everything in the will or the fact that they get married or that she asks him for money in secret or some such thing. This generally leaves the family in a difficult situation about money and there is often no legal solution for them. Now I'm generalizing here. It's something that doesn't happen with all the foreign caregivers and there are many who are very good at what they do. But I do have first hand experience with more than one of these situations so I have seen it for myself.

How is it that men get themselves into these situations though? Am I wrong in thinking that a 20yr old wouldn't generally be attracted to an 80yr old? Whatever the gender may be? Would you not have SOME doubts about the legitimacy of the attraction?


john smith said...

Some times when we get old, we have such pathetic lives and when a young girl shows any interested at all in us, we fall head over heals in love or at least we think we are in love. It is actually just an illusion in our mind. If we think about it rationally we can realize that the young person is not really in love with us or even wants to be with us, she was just being nice. Girls tend to be nice to older guys and in our minds it means more than what it actually is. It is a hard thing to try to explain to someone. I guess when we are older we become a little irrational. We don't think in a normal way. All of our life we have always looked for that younger lady that wants us, we, in our minds, never get old, we still think of ourselves as a young man even though we are old, so when a young girl is nice to us, she is being nice to the young man inside our mind and we fall in love. It is a thing that I think only an older man can know and when he gets to a certain age, he thinks ever young girl wants him or thinks every young girl should want him, especially if she is very nice to him. It is very confusing.

JFBreak said...

OMG. I feel like this could apply to me. I'm in my early fifties and I am having sort of a romance with a woman who is in her late 20's. I constantly ask her how she could be attracted to me but she is.

When I'm 80, I'll definitely be one of these guys with the young caretaker who I fall in love with. I should just give everything away to charity now and save my family the heartache.

Advizor54 said...

Years ago my grandfather had a cute young caretaker who told us this story:

"Frank (89 years old) and I were sitting on the couch watching TV" she said, "he put his hand on my knee and said, 'you and me, in the bedroom.' I asked him why, and he said, "i don't know."

I was proud of grandpa and a bit embarrassed at the same time, but he was ever the player to the end.

We all want love, validation, a reason not to cringe when we look in the mirror. We delude ourselves when we are younger that the hot young cheerleader, or the 1st chair flute player, or our wive's sister thinks we are hot even when the mirror tells us a much different tale.

The old guys are just like the young guys, desperate to be loved when life has drained them of all hope.