Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Prim and proper

Is it really true that the young are embarr-assed by oldies who are physically affectionate to each other? Do they really think we're "too old" for that sort of thing and should be chastely conversing, keeping our hands and mouths to ourselves?

I find it hard to believe that young people, with their generally open-minded and hedonistic approach to life, are truly that intolerant of oldies who still enjoy a bit of cuddling and canoodling as much as anyone else.

I think it's more likely that oldies have fallen for this daft idea of a "dignified" old age, and decided that certain behaviour is now embarrassing and inappropriate. So they restrain their natural impulses and stick to what they think is "proper". All that's going to do is stop them having any fun.

After all, the young don't see any virtue in a "dignified" youth. They couldn't care less if what they're doing is seen as embarrassing or inappropriate. They dress in crazy clothes, get paralytically drunk, crash cars, eat unhealthy food. They kiss and fondle each other passionately in public, oblivious to other people's reactions.

So why shouldn't oldies be equally uninhibited? Why not grow old disgracefully? Or at least naturally and not trailing a long list of artificial taboos.

Canoodling isn't the only thing oldies are supposed to abandon. There's also dancing, singing, shrieking at the top of roller coasters, laughing hysterically, eating too messily, and bellowing across crowded rooms. Anything in fact that smacks of wanton enjoyment rather than the sedate and decorous self-control that's mysteriously connected with advancing years. Bollocks to that.

The popular stereotype is something like Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous*, staring aghast at the outrageous clothes her mother is about to go out in, and commenting incredulously "You're not going out like that?" Which prompts a slurred and irreverent reply from Eddie, wondering if she has anything even more outrageous to put on instead.

But I can't believe many of the young are that censorious. And even if they are, they're only jealous. We sexagenarians may be crumbling a bit but we can still rock 'n' roll with the best of them.

* TV series featuring a stern, moralistic teenager and her wild, uncontrollable mother.

40 comments:

Jenny Woolf said...

When I was young I used to think old people ought to act like old people, whatever that was. When they failed to do so, it was embarrassing.

Grannymar said...

This sexagenarian has no intention of fading into a corner. Hugging Toyboys is much more fun and I intend to keep going.

Nick said...

Jenny - Yes, I wonder how they were supposed to behave? I don't remember having any stereotypes of oldies when I was young, except that they should be more tolerant and amusing than my parents!

Grannymar - I'm all in favour of hugging toyboys! And toygirls of course. There's no way I shall fade into a corner either.

John Gray said...

I dont think that they are ... generally... but I think that most young people are "specifically" when faced with the prospect of their own parents "doing it" so to speak....
its that normal child thing of being embarrassed when your mum bets pissed at christmas!

Nick said...

John - And why shouldn't mum get pissed at Christmas? After all, children do plenty of silly things at Christmas!

Bijoux said...

I think a big part of that attitude amongst youth is that older people aren't 'pretty' anymore, so they can't imagine (or don't want to imagine) older folks as sexual beings.

All I'll say, as a middle age woman, is that older men are becoming better and better looking to me! (My spouse just turned 50 a few days ago.....) So, to all the young whippersnappers out there: Experienced lovers make the best lovers!

Nick said...

Bijoux - I think that's true. They can't understand how old wrinklies could possibly enjoy physical contact! It's also true that oldies have the benefit of so much past experience. Especially we sexagenarians....

nursemyra said...

"There's also dancing, singing, shrieking at the top of roller coasters, laughing hysterically, eating too messily, and bellowing across crowded rooms."

My patients do all this on an hourly basis. Except for the shrieking on roller coasters.

Nick said...

Myra - I suppose hospital patients don't feel obliged to follow the same rules as the rest of us. Perhaps they've got the right idea....

JohnD said...

As we are getting older we are looking more towards enjoying the things we never had time for when we were a 'young family' - especially more quality time for Rhonda and myself. We don't miss the 'social round-about - in fact we are too busy doing things to miss it!

kylie said...

you wrote this post JUST so you could say you are a sexagenarian!

Bijoux said...

Haha! I came back to basically say what Kylie just said....I think you just like to say sexagenarian!

Secret Agent Woman said...

Clearly you a) don't have teenagers and b) don't remember being a teenager. My kids are thoroughly embarrassed by me, and that's as it should be. I, in turn, was thoroughly embarrassed by my parent's behavior when I was a teen. It's the natural order of things. But that's a separate issue from whether older people (and I'm not sure what age cut-off you mean for that) should take heed of teens mortification - of course not! My kids have learned that I am immune to their disapproval.

@John Gray - why would your mother get angry at Christmas?

Nick said...

John D - But are you going to do all the things that the young might find embarrassing?

Kylie - Oh, did I mention that I'm a SEXagenarian?

Bijoux - Ah, apparently I did mention that I was a sexagenarian.

Nick said...

Agent - I don't have teenagers but I certainly remember being one, especially as I was bullied by my fellow pupils for several years. I don't remember being particularly embarrassed by my parents, more frustrated that their outlook on the world was so limited. Glad to know you take no notice of your kids' disapproval.

I think John G meant pissed in the other sense!

Rummuser said...

I pass.

Nick said...

Ramana - Pass on what? Or pass as what?

Ursula said...

Nick, I have no idea what you are talking about. You are peddling an old myth.

And, and it's a big AND, let's not forget that, in the olden days, some (luckily not all) parents frowned on their kids' sexuality. Oh, yes.

U

Nick said...

Ursula - Not quite an old myth yet, as Secret Agent Woman has recent experience of it. And you're right, some (quite a few) parents used to frown on their kids' sexuality. Nowadays it's mainly the church that has problems with sex.

Rummuser said...

Pass as the unconcerned elder.

Nick said...

Ramana - Glad to hear it. I tend also to be unconcerned by the idea of "appropriate behaviour" for oldies. Having fun is more important than following rules.

Wisewebwoman said...

I'm not in the slightest bit concerned about what the younger folks think of my sometimes outrageous behaviour, I think my life far more interesting than theirs anyway!
XO
WWW

Baino said...

Well you know me, I have no intention of growing old gracefully. You're as young as the man you feel I say...and I like 'em young!

Nick said...

www - Excellent news! And you're absolutely right, our lives are much more interesting than theirs. Our brains have had so much longer to consider everything.

Baino - That's the right attitude. Hope you've been feeling some exciting men recently....

Suburbia said...

Nick you have no idea! I am a constant embarrassment to my children (apparently!) Even breathing is too much for them, as for singing in the street or kissing, goodness me, then excommunication is on the cards!

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Certainly our children are censorious and embarrassed by our physical affection. They are rather proud of us remaining childlike and enjoying life on other levels, though, even if sometimes they pretend not to be!

Shrieking on top of roller coasters will not be undertaken by me, though, if only because I never have liked the darned things!

Nick said...

Suburbia - Perhaps you should follow Secret Agent Woman's example and studiously ignore your children's embarrassment? Why should they cramp your style?

Jay - Oh, is that because you had an unpleasant experience once on a roller coaster? I've only been on one once, and I rather enjoyed it.

Scarlet Blue said...

The image of Frank Butcher [Eastenders for those who avoid soaps] springs to mind when reading this post... which may be the route of the desire to tone it down as we age!
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - I don't follow any soaps but I do know of Frank Butcher and his rather wild character. Personally I'm more eccentric than wild, but I've no intention of toning down the eccentricities.

Liz said...

We certainly can! My children just look at me and sigh.

Nick said...

Liz - I'm glad they don't anything more than sigh. As long as they don't lock the front door and prevent you going out in that low-cut top.

Secret Agent Woman said...

What other sense?

Nick said...

Agent - Pissed meaning drunk as opposed to pissed meaning angry. We Brits don't generally use pissed to mean angry. Pissed-off maybe.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Oh. I'll file that one under "Briticisms."

Nick said...

Agent - Is it a classic Briticism? Are youngsters in the States less concerned about how oldies dress and behave?

blackwatertown said...

I don't know that it's particularly an older person thing - all ages from, say, nine years old up, can be crippled with self-consciousness.
The happiest liveliest people I know are those who ignore the audience and carry on regardless.

Nick said...

Blackwater - Is that self-consciousness or other-consciousness? The problem seems to be that oldies are too concerned about what others think of them.

Secret Agent Woman said...

No, I mean the use of "pissed' to mean drunk rather than angry.

blackwatertown said...

Maybe it's otherselfconsciousness - excessive conscious of what others think about yourself.

Nick said...

Blackwater - I think that's often the case. Which just leads to an inner paralysis.