Here’s the weirdest thing about getting older: It takes a real effort to work up an attraction to anyone. I’m in my earlyish 40s. Occasionally, I’ll see a flash of blonde hair, and enjoy a germ of desire rumbling to life. But then, I’ll remember all the trouble blonde hair has gotten me into in the past, So, I’ll shrug it off, and put myself down for a nap.
When I was in my 20s and 30s, I was attracted to everyone. Men, women, pygmy goats. Didn’t matter. I was into it. So, readers, if you were one of the lucky many who crossed my path during those years, and are wondering whether I would have kissed you, the answer is definitely yes! All you had to do was give me a half-hearted smirk, and I would have been all over you.
But, now…ehhh, not so much.
Today, if Diane Sawyer (the mainstay in my fantasy life) rang me up, and begged me to meet her in Toronto (for some strange reason, my most satisfying fantasies always take place in Canada), I probably would turn her down in favor of a nice hot bath.
(Diane Sawyer, if you’re reading this, do not be alarmed. I’m using you only to make a point. I never, ever in a million years would turn you down. Ever. So, give me a call. My contact info is listed on the restraining order.)
The thing is that when you’re young, and, thus, have not yet racked up an awesome collection of poor life choices, you rarely think past the initial attraction.
It’s simple arithmetic: attraction + the ability to stay up past 9 PM = LOVE.
You’ll fall into bed, and who the hell cares about tomorrow? Or, more to the point, each tomorrow will be a simple repeat of that first passionate day.
You have no thoughts of tense holidays with the in-laws, bitter arguments over whose turn it is to clean the bathroom, or silent dinners when you no longer have anything to talk about. When you’re young, it’s all about the here-and-now.
Simple as A + B = C you in the boudoir.
But, as you get older, and reluctantly have learned from stupid mistake after stupid mistake, you realize that relationships are more akin to calculus, trigonometry, physics, or some other abstract nonsense that is impossible to calculate. Beyond the initial desire is a murky morass pocked with theoretical landmines.
For example, if I accepted Diane Sawyer’s invitation to make beautiful love in a Canadian province, I would play out the entire relationship in my head as I jetted off to meet her.
Instead of warming to the idea of occupying the same hotel bed as Diane Sawyer, I’d be worrying about how I gracefully would slip out of bed the next morning to avoid that first-morning-after awkwardness of being naked around an almost-complete stranger.
I’d fret over whether she’s clingy, and would insist on calling me several times a day. Or, worse, what if she stops taking my calls? And, then, of course, all kinds of complications arise from living situations and pets.
Not to mention the anxiety of wondering whether my friends will like her, if she’ll annoy me with odd dietary demands, or who will get the house on Martha’s Vineyard when we split up.
By the time I’d arrive in Toronto, I’d be ready to break up with her before we even got a chance to have sex. And wouldn’t that be a shame! Better to stay home, and take that hot bath instead.