So much changes about your body as you get older. What you once looked down upon as your pride and joy, now looks like a pickled walnut. The parts that maintained close proximity to it, hanging in close attendance, now maintain a closer proximity to your knees. I can only believe that nature contrives for them to drop so low in order to provide some kind of counterbalance as you become less steady on your feet. Naked these days, I look like a Grandfather Clock with twin pendulums. And they’re becoming bald! What’s happening there? Who ever heard of testes with alopecia? They look like I’ve got two wrinkle-headed Matt Lucas trapped inside my pants. An ageing man’s body is nature’s way of saying ‘And you can pack that in!’
‘That’, of course, being something that most men are biologically tuned to pursue well into later life even though such things do tend to become much less frantic: far less urgent over the years. There is one very good reason why the old-fashioned ‘knee trembler’ for instance is excised from the sexual repertoire as you get older and that is that once trembling, it becomes impossible to dissuade the ageing joints from collapse. The mind and all relevant areas remain keen, but the joints and limbs that are required to put in the actual effort, rather less so. There’s only so many times a hip can ‘click’. When she is wearing a surgical girdle and you are in knee supports, enthusiasm starts to wane.
There is always someone willing to point out that ‘Charlie Chaplin became a father well into his seventies.’ Well yes, but he also had bandy legs and a Hitler moustache. There’s no wonder he needed that walking stick – randy little bugger. Doubtless what a lifetime of chewing liquorice boots does for you. And that particular process does, of course, involve the participation of a younger woman – one immune, presumably, to the smell of urine and TCP – one prepared to plan a funeral whilst still breastfeeding; to book the church without being certain of whether it will be for christening or funeral. Maybe the vicar could do some kind of BOGOF* deal.
I now have the kind of tits that I always wanted in a girlfriend. I always wondered why men have nipples. Now I know that they are there to stick on the end of your moobs as you get older. From an arse that you could bounce a ping-pong ball off, to one that looks as though it has swallowed a basketball in just a few short years. Somehow all muscular definition has given way to amorphous blubber. Even when I lose weight, I still look fat. It’s like being wrapped in obese skin. It no longer bounces back into shape, it just hangs there like the semi-sloughed remains of a once-fat salamander. I look like I’m made from some sort of memory foam with Alzheimer’s.
Whatever the level of your body neurosis as a teenager, you have to admit that you look far, far worse today, although old age does offer a glimmer of hope to even the most body dysmorphic among us because there is a definite moment, a trigger-point in the ageing process, at which you suddenly look at yourself naked and think, ‘You know what, I don’t give a f*ck.’ I remember reading, some time ago, an article that claimed that young women find the ‘dad-bod’ sexy, and the only possible explanation I can find for it is that the article was written by a delusional old man: the kind that flirts with his daughter’s friends and makes inappropriate remarks to his sister-in-law; that goes to the spa and accidentally leaves his dressing gown half-open all day – until the cat pounces.
Nobody – most particularly the ageing – wants to look at an ageing body. The best thing you can do with it is to let it carry your head about, make sure it goes to the toilet before it needs to go to the toilet and remind it, whenever it starts to get carried away with itself that, whatever it is that it thinks it can still do as well as it once did it, it can’t…
*Just in case this is a peculiarly British acronym, Buy One Get One Free.
N.B. This piece arose from a need to shout rather than whisper for a change. If it’s any consolation, it’s unlikely to happen again.