Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quite recently, a male friend of mine asked me in a rather piqued fashion how men like Salman Rushdie and the French Primeminister, Nicholas Sarkosy, whom he would consider to be rather unattractive, managed to snare such beautiful women. I considered his question, and remembered Sarah Brightman, an ex-wife of Andrew Lloyd Weber sharing with Michael Parkinson and television audience, that Sir Lloyd Weber was great in bed! He, of course, is now on his third marriage and has remained on amicable terms with all his women, past and present. Now, I have to admit that, while impressed by his musical virtuosity, Andrew Lloyd Weber would not immediately wow on a physical level. His face is reminiscent of a potato with plasticine bits, stuck on as afterthoughts. Perhaps if we had dinner or lunch, and I actually got to see his eyes or his ass, some revision of first impressions might be called for.
Why do men look for younger women, and why, more increasingly, do women look for younger men? Why do I feel slightly irritated when men ( in their forties and fifties) say of women in their 40's, 50's and 60's, that they are great fun? Are they really saying, that they think we are more desperate, and therefore more willing to put up with silly macho talk; dress up in the latest kinky gear etc. etc. just to hold on to them. Or, on the other hand, have men quite genuinely realized that older women, while secretly wishing that bum and boobs were more pert, are better at seizing the moment; and perhaps the empowerment that comes with the education of life, and a curiosity in sex for their own hedonistic pleasure, is curiously more attractive. There is something about middle age that somehow clicks you into gear. 'Hey I've lived more than half my life...its all down hill from here unless I do something about it.'
I've arrived at the conclusion, that its the predictability and unforgiving routine of our lives, that is the precursor for unrest and unease within us. Women, in particular, are governed by cyclical routine for much of their lives. From approximately 11 years of age until around 50 or so, there is menstruation. If one is lucky to fall pregnant, there is the gestation period of 9 months. If mum breast feeds, she may find herself on call for, in some cases, as long as 2 years. If baby is bottle-fed, the chances are that mummy will be more omnipresent in the feeding process than daddy, unless of course daddy is a 'stay at home daddy.' Women then hit the menopause, which I'm told can last for another 10 years, which takes them up to 62 /63/65ish. Then there's all those years in between, where Johnny and Sarah go to music classes on Tuesday, or GAA on Wednesday, swimming on Friday and so on. Dinner has to be on the table, for hubby, because, bless him, he's had a terrible day at the office!
Now I'm not for one moment saying that men don't have a hard time. Of course they do. They grew up reading stories about Hercules, Zeus, Billy the Kid and dreamt of being heroes, and in some workplaces and personal relationships, they feel nothing like the hero they dreamed they would one day become; their spontaneity and potential sometimes not being acknowledged or respected.
Sameness is a killer. It kills our soul and our relationships. We tend to do the same things in the same way...every single, solitary day. We become bloody boring! If you ask me, it gets worse as we get older. Leaving aside the obvious physical attributes of youth, like pert boobs, bums, and six-packs, its no wonder people look for younger lovers and partners, they're less set in their ways, they're more spontaneous and if we were honest...doesn't everyone want a piece of that...element of surprise? Some people scare me...isn't there enough routine in our working schedules to last several life-times without knowing what they're going to eat for dinner on any given day of the week; planning their entire holiday wardrobe complete with all the matching accessories, labelled in small plastic bags...Tuesday 15th etc. perhaps a month before they go; sitting down at the same time every day to watch the same soap; visit the same pubs (every night); visit the same countries year after year for holidays (and sometimes even the same hotel); deal with their mail at the same time every evening, walk the dog along the same patch of grass at the same time every day etc. etc. etc. etc.
Words of undying love expressed in song, poem or prose might well be seen as the ultimate declaration of love. Not to sound discouraging or cynical, it may well be worth bearing in mind, that sometimes words are just words; an author, poet or speaker... might just be playing with sound of words, rather than their meaning. Just veering of the track for a moment, I wrote a piece/play last year in U.C.C. which explored the uses of the Mouth. The main theme was centred around eating disorders, but it also focussed attention on the of business of 'lip-service', and words being used as tools of deceit and manipulation by the likes of our government ministers, advertising moguls etc. etc. There was no text, except for keening (female funeral lament practiced in Ireland - highlighted in J.M. Synge's play, Riders to the Sea and in Ralph Vaughan-Williams opera of the same name) and tribal-like exclamations, accompanied by physical gesture and movement, film footage and a musical score. I am convinced its easier to lie and manipulate by written and spoken word than it is by physical gesture and movement. I'm not an expert on this, but it would seem, if someone says something disturbing, it is much easier to control a vocal response and therefore conceal the authentic reaction, but much more difficult to control a physical reaction, which exposes the truth; the latter being a more instantaneous response. (A different part of the brain?)
Surely one of the greatest skills any negotiator must possess, is the ability to read faces and body language, because therein lies the immediate truth. Even in a situation, where confrontation is not on the menu, the prospect of sitting opposite someone, or even talking over a telephone can send some heading for the hills. I wonder is that a fear of exposing our selves...our vulnerability. On a cynical note, perhaps, it might also be an attempt to hide our true motives.
Anyway, back to the main road... what attracts us to another? I'm more inclined to think that its in the being surprised, wrongfooted, spontaneously challenged, made to laugh at ourselves, doing something out of what has become the 'norm' - the 'boring routine', that is most attractive and satisfying. I'm not saying for one moment, a cute ass isn't good to look at, and that certain men and women are not, on an initial level, more physically attractive than others, but they're not necessarily to be found in the stereotypically 'tall, dark and handsome' groove. It's more likely to be something in the eyes or the smile that says, 'I am fun, intelligent, passionate, good company, and know how to throw a few surprises your way!', that is most compelling. Age or looks rarely come into it! At grammar school, my German teacher, Herr Schmidt (Mr. Smith from Manchester had been headmaster of a boys secondary school during the second world war) was seventy, white-haired, tall, proud, moustached, housed spectacular dancing blue eyes (Deine blaue augen!), beautifully baritoned...and I fell in love with him at fifteen years old!!!
There is no doubt that some people are attracted to wealth and power, and maybe, that's exactly what women see in men like Salman Rushdie and Nicholas Sarkosy. However, if you look at Rushdie's eyes, there is something weirdly attractive about them. They remind me of half-closed shutters... there's definitely something going on behind them. Not sure I would want to find out what, though! On the other hand, Mr. Sarkosy has big brown doe-like eyes that perhaps smack of 'I need you', which, in turn, might bring out the mothering instinct in some of us females.
Jack Nicholson, who is now in his 70's, just arches his eyebrow, smiles and I just go...'Yeah, bring it on!' I've read that he is incredibly good fun to work with, spontaneous and most generous to his fellow actors, and gets on well with his ex's. He's aging, overweight and balding, but as far as I am concerned, he is still the most attractive man on celluloid. George Clooney, who reminds me of Clark Gable, who was just so gobsmackingly magnificent in 'Gone with the Wind,' would finish a very close runner-up. Their sexiness springs from their ability to laugh at themselves and be the clown!
That's just about as good as it gets!


Christopher Kelly said...

Love the new blog Maureen, Keep up the good work!!

Maureen Walsh said...

Thanks for the encouragement Chris.
You know me I just love to talk.
Had a great weekend! Fleetwood Mac were incredible. Kilmainham jail was something else, however. Huge sadness and guilt (my being English, I suppose)came up as I walked those corridors, their walls soaked with the misery, desperation, but inexhaustible courage of its inmates. Took some photographs... but don't know whether images can relay the atmosphere and vibrations of that place. The story of James Plunket and Grace Gifford was heartbreaking, and I will be most definitely returning to that...perhaps the next blog!

Maureen Walsh said...

A female friend thought this blog was a rant about the advantages of having a younger lover. Perhaps there was some of that there, but what I was really getting at, in my extremely roundabout way, was that we are all guilty to some extent of taking ourselves too seriously; our sense of fun and spontaneity left behind somewhere... in a lost property office on Paddington Station, maybe! Let's go grab those tickets now and reclaim our childlikeness! Of course, this blog was very tongue in cheek, and I was upset to hear this week of Andrew Lloyd Weber's battle with prostrate cancer. He has had the gland removed and undergoing further radium treatment and chemotherapy. Let's hope he makes a complete recovery soon and continues to compose more glorious music and remains great in the sack!