Let me preface this post by stating for the record that I am a happily married woman of 17 years standing. If I thought that I would have to enter the dating circus again, I would probably “get me to a nunnery”. Having said that, I feel that I must get something off my chest. Metaphorically speaking. Obviously.
So, if you’ll indulge me…I was watching a recording of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” the other day – as I am an old woman who gets up v early, I cannot stay up late and watch the show – when something that has been niggling at the back of my mind suddenly leapt forward and made me spill my coffee. Stephen was interviewing a fine-looking young man named Theo James, currently appearing in the new “Divergent” movie while sporting a flawless American accent and a large gun. Upon opening his mouth to speak, however, it was obvious from the clipped, polished voice that he was not in fact, from Chicago, but from the green and pleasant rolling hills of England.
Suddenly, images of other young, British actors came to mind (Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy) all well-educated and eloquent, and it hit me: When did jolly old England start producing such fine specimens of manhood? More importantly, why had I not been informed of this development back in the day when I could have taken advantage of it?
I felt a bit peeved.
Many years ago, when I was a young gal about town, the quality of British men was rather lacking in the good looks and charm department. Most of the charming guys I met were usually Australian bartenders, working to pay for their travels. Even upper middle class men, with Oxbridge educations – like Theo James, Tom Hiddleston, and Benedict Cumberbatch – were largely obnoxious oiks who seemed to enjoy nothing more than getting loudly drunk and then vomiting on your new shoes (true story).
Upon reflection, I’ve also noticed that the British actors of my age, while good-looking, were flawed in some way: Jude Law – serial philandering; Hugh Grant – predilection for hookers; Sean Bean – a brawler; Daniel Craig (pre-Bond) – grumpy and monosyllabic. Football players, such as David Beckham, were held up as paragons of the male physique, which was all very well but one couldn’t really imagine “Becks” quoting Shakespeare to you while punting gently down the River Cam. I mean, have you heard him speak?
So what happened? Was there some secret laboratory quietly creating a formula for the perfect gentleman? The conspiracy theorist within me imagines that they were created as companions for Princes William and Harry – educated, eloquent and charismatic – except that William went to the University of St Andrews (where he, of course, met the lovely Kate), not Oxford or Cambridge, and Harry joined the Army. The grumpy old woman side of me bemoans why this transformation wasn’t engineered about twenty or so years earlier.
Is it any wonder that I had to travel overseas to find a decent man??
All of which began to make me feel a little creeped out – what am I doing mooning over men 15-20 years younger than me? Nostalgia? Then, I had an epiphany. Men of my age (and much older) leer at younger women all the time and no-one bats an eyelid. It is far from uncommon to see an older man with a much younger female companion. While I have no intention of abandoning my wonderful husband (who, incidentally, is younger than me by 3 years), I’ve decided to no longer feel uncomfortable about admiring such a fine body of young men – they are, after all, like great works of art, one can always look but not touch…