Last week, my eyes fell upon the following words in a personal ad of New York Review of Books: "I'm hoping to have a last affair with an interesting, ambulatory 75-80 year old Westchester man." And reading this, I asked myself, is such an ad an example of supreme hope, or of despair?
On the side of hope: What a wonderful message! Love springs eternal. We should never underestimate the ability of life to surprise and confound us. The idea that someone is looking to be surprised by love, at the age of 75-80 years old, fills me with joy and delight. I know in my heart it is possible. After all, I myself have been surprised by love, so why not at 80?! This message shows openness to passion and to rediscovery - to that mental and physical connection between kindred spirits, which is ageless. The concept that one might desire another human being, who on the face of it, is too old and decrepit for consideration, fills my heart with hope, joy and energy.
On the side of despair: It's the word 'ambulatory' that gives me pause. What is this person imagining in a lover? 75-80. Can't they do better than that? And can you put out a want ad for passion of this extraordinary kind ? The kind of affair this person hopes to experience, will come when they least expect it. To look for it in the want ads suggests despair. So they, in their lets say, 70's, want an affair. Sure. But hoping for a 'last' affair with someone this elderly? And why must it be your last? An affair with an ambulatory 80 year old would come as a surprise, but frankly, it might destroy him!
On the side of practicality: Put out an ad for a lover, in your 'twilight years' and wait for the messages to flood in. You can probably always find sex, if that's what you're looking for. But love comes by degrees. It comes by surprise, when you're not hoping at all to find it. Rarely when you're looking. Also at your age, it could prove inconvenient. Interesting, yes. It's bound to be that. But scratch the hope.
There again, good luck!