Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Mirror at 55

You look in the mirror, and it's not your mother you see any more. It is perhaps the least sexy woman you know of—your grandmother. She may have been kind and a great baker of cookies, but sexy? No, no, no.

There's a new level of compassion that the end of collagen and the Kegel imperative bring with them. The hot flashes are the least of it. If you're going to have any sex life when your lips have suddenly (SO suddenly) developed those little wrinkles like living room curtains, and your labia have suddenly deflated and deformed—nobody mentioned THAT would happen--and you can't count 100 percent on your urethra, and you aren't sure if you can even come any more—if you're going to have any sex life at all under those circumstances, you have to develop some sympathy for other women in the same situation. Because you have to find some way to imagine another woman finding you sexy.

And you'll have to reciprocate. Oh my dears, there is so much beauty and excitement in a firm, slim, energetic female body with a light sheen of sweat on it. And what can you say about a high mileage, well-worn, rather dry, menopausal woman? That she's wise? She may or may not be… Is that sexy? The skin on her arms--even if her cheekbones are prominent and her eyes are a perceptive clear blue, even if she has knowledge, skill, and wisdom—the skin on her arms stretches and wrinkles with every motion. It's like the earth's surface from outer space—looking down at the foothills. And yes, John Updike described it as looking like lizard skin. What about that inspires lust?

For now, I leave the question open.