The Catalyst

A Writing Teacher Writes (plus some writing prompts and recipes)

Aging (Not So) Gracefully July 22, 2016

Filed under: Aging,Grief,Humor,Vignettes,Writing Prompts + — Christopher DeLorenzo @ 11:09 am
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PAUL-HOLLYWOOD_2731978bThe prompts this time were:

Having an awakening

Well, the only word for it is passé.

I’m terribly sorry, but you’re not going to make love to me tonight.

What I wrote is below.

_______________

At the optometrist, I discover my weakening eyes require a stronger prescription; now it’s harder to read small print in low light. “That’s okay,” I tell myself, “there are some great looking glasses out there now.” But that little part of me that clicks off insults in the mirror is busy with his checklist. “The skin on your belly is soft and flabby, and your neck is lined and red from sun damage.” So begins the nagging voice inside that reminds me I am aging. Daily. Rapidly.

“Try these new lenses,” my optometrist says, taking out a yellow and white box I already hate. “They’re corrective for astigmatism, and yours seems to have gotten slightly worse.” Great, I think. Even my eyeballs are growing more misshapen. “And your feet are dry and cracking,” the shitty little guy inside says. “Better be more consistent about putting lotion on your feet before bed.” Add that to the list of activities I never had to do when I was young. It seems life’s all about maintenance now, all the time.

“Everything dries up as you age,” a friend told me once. “Your eyes, your hair, your skin. There’s less oil production everywhere. Even your body fluids shrink in volume.” Um, TMI? I thought. But thanks for that uplifting information.

After my depressing eye appointment, I stop at Peet’s to get a cup of coffee, too fatigued to make it past four o’clock without a caffeine jolt (or a nap). Everything feels harder now that I’m in my fifties. What is this struggle? I ask myself that over and over and over again. Why can’t I just accept growing older and be happy I’m alive and healthy? These two strong legs, this full head of hair (albeit, with strands of grey, and thinning). Why can’t I love my body as it is right now? It’s only going to grow older.

Some people seem more attracted to me as I age. People call me Sir in a way that sometimes makes me think they want me to take charge in the bedroom. They hold the door open for me and then watch my ass as I walk in front of them. Just yesterday, a young bank teller was giving me the big eyes, flirtatiously chatting me up. The guys on DudesNude and Scruff often refer to me as “Stud,” even after they see my shirtless picture. It seems some younger men would like an older Daddy boyfriend who occasionally enjoys a beer. Maybe there’s a new hotness quotient here I’m missing? Maybe. But why do I still feel like a chubby, middle-aged guy who drives a boring car and is no longer marriage material if so many men keep telling me I’m fuckable and fabulous? How do I learn to see this aging body and this new desirability with grace and affection?

Everyone else seems to understand that this is the most natural thing in the world. Growing older. Becoming more comfortable in your own skin. No one else is comparing me to the younger version of me, 25 pounds lighter with a flat stomach. Nobody is asking me to be younger than I am right now, except me. “Older men are hot,” my close friend Renaldo says. He and I are the same age, and he seems to embrace his older, sexier self. “When are you going to get that through your head?” he asks. Then he adds, “Honey, you’re beautiful. Somewhere out there, there’s a barista lusting over you right now.” When he says this, I believe him. We bubble up with laughter, and I can see the lines around our eyes crinkling up like tissue paper.

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3 Responses to “Aging (Not So) Gracefully”

  1. Daniel Raskin Says:

    This is great, Chris, funny, endearing and honest.

  2. T.R. Says:

    Omg I *loved* this!! I TOTALLY relate, this is my experience as well (didn’t realize we were the same age), though can’t say I’m attracting the young ones anymore. I do not like the instant flab, the weight gain, softness everywhere, the skin changes, the nrg loss, the eyes changing (boy are they), etc. etc. And it’s true, ppl say just have to accept, it’s life, be happy — I’m like, really?? how can i be happy, i’m past marrying age, i’m alone, i’m not young, i don’t have a perfect body (the one i never appreciated when i did have one!) and on it goes. Nice to know I’m not alone in this! 😀

  3. cathryn Says:

    Chris, your writing takes me out of the moment into your moment of truth slathered with such detailed hilarity! I can see you and this friend so clearly, and I mingle my thoughts and feelings with yours and see male female gay or straight, it approaches us all privately but in a public arena AGING……….so just to add to the mix, I loved my 50’s, my 40’s sucked big time and now my early 60’s, well glad I got used to part time contact lenses, and other specialty creams and orthopedic shoe inserts that make me feel young again or at least that i can see, walk and exist not yet looking like a weather sea lion! Hear me roar”what the fuck is it all about” as I run to my Zen meditation group to get help with the inevitable. Your writing, your humor is the best elixir of all! Thank you!!


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