I’d seen her before. She’d smiled at me before. She looked shy. She was beautiful. I could see it in her eyes, her grace, the way she tucked her long, dark, shiny hair behind her ears into a ponytail. Golden earrings glinted from her lobes. Set in her clear-skinned face, her dark bright eyes peered from below her dark slender eyebrows, looking up at me with a subservience I found irresistible.
It wasn’t, however, until I saw her from behind that my attention became wholly engaged. Her arse, encased in stretch black denims presented two globes of perfection. I was entranced by the line of her panties, and the taper from her hips to her waist.
I want to call her Rosa. She was Portuguese, hence all the raven beauty, and gold. I imagined that if I pulled the neck of her T-shirt from her collar bones and looked down the front of it, nestled between her beautiful breasts I’d find a crucifix, attesting to her faith.
It was hard to put an age on her. She was working. 18? Maybe 19? Perhaps even early 20s? She was petite, but looked fully-grown.
A part of me is disappointed that, at the age of 58, she should catch my eye. It makes me, I guess, a dirty old man. But, where is it written that, as we age, those we find attractive also age? We may not admit that the girls we found exciting as we wanked our way through puberty can still interest us sexually, but this seems to me to rely more on cultural intolerance than biology.
I have an uncle, aged, 89 whose wife of 40-odd years divorced him. As he faced, for the first time in a long time, the prospect of a life without a companion, he reflected that “a woman of 75 is an old woman,” and he was fortunate that his ex-wife, aged 86, had “retained her figure."
“He’s an old man!” I hear you cry. Indeed, but then, men and women respond to different things, don’t they? Basically, science supports the cliché that women like to be wined and dined, and men like sexy outfits.
As a refined, wealthy, single octogenarian, my uncle can hold up his end of the deal, but how much younger does a potential partner need to be before she’ll scrub up in a basque?
I know it makes men seem shallow, but that is to judge us by women’s standards. When men judge women by men's standards, we can begin to understand why there is a digital tsunami of “dick picks,” and where “flashing” originates from.
Sorry guys, you’re going to have to work harder than that. No matter how impressive you may consider your erect member to be, unless it convinces her you can provide for her and your intended offspring, protect them both and stick around, she’s just not going to buy it. She needs to witness your behaviour first. You need to gain her trust.
Men get this wrong all the time. She likes your tallness, fitness, large salary, big car, big shoulders, because of what they signal, not because they are inherently sexy. Our attentiveness, kindness and consistency are perhaps sexier by this measure.
And girls, I hate to break it to you, but 85 percent of men would sleep with just about all of you. The only signal we need is that you are potentially available. This makes lipstick, makeup, your hair, your curves, mini-skirts, crop-tops, low cut anything, backless anything, push up anything, decorated nails, ears, noses, wrist, ankles, what-have-you all instinctively attractive for us.
We’re not objectifying you because we don’t take the time to get to know you as a person. It’s just that the only thing that matters to us at a primal level is that you are potentially fertile, and can accommodate our seed. It's also why so many of you dye your hair, spend a fortune on cosmetics and constantly fret about your weight, celebrate your curvaceousness, and squander small fortunes on clothing and shoes.
I used to tell my daughters, “Assume every man you meet wants to get into your knickers, and you won’t go far wrong."
I know that in writing this I risk scorn, that I may offend or upset some people. I know it's more complex than this, and I know we consider ourselves no longer slaves to our biology, but I also know that men are confused about what women want, and that women have spent so long articulating men’s feelings on behalf of their emotionally-illiterate spouses without really understanding what drives them, that it’s time to change.
When I share these ideas with men and women, I sometimes see a penny drop. A bulb light up. Things begin to make sense. Suddenly, there is a simple lens through which to regard each other, to see where the other is “coming from."
I grew up around strong women and absent men. I feel like I’ve always loved women, and it’s only as I understood more about myself that I could begin to love some of the marvellous men I’ve encountered in my search for understanding.
We’re all glorious, each one of us worthy of love. By embracing our biological differences and opening up dialogue, we can hopefully heal that separation and grow towards a productive sense of each other, that our children can model as they too grow.