Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Old men can love long and hard, Carolyn Cooper

Published:Monday | May 11, 2015 | 11:03 PM


My friend Carolyn Cooper is quite right, in her column of April 5, 2015 (‘Who’s stuck in Semaj’s boxes?’), that "sexual desire is unruly. It makes people veer out of lanes". The emotional carnage in our land is witness to the consequences of old men (M3s) and old women (W3s) being desperately desirous of younger sex partners who have no interest in them beyond their "money, house, car and contact". (See my column of March 29, 2015, ‘Ageing and lovesick? Don’t chase sex fantasies’).

I speak with love and only want to offer some healing. We are never too old to learn to love, not just with the genitals, but also the heart and more so the mind.

Says Erich Fromm in The Art of Loving: "Love is a decision, it is a judgement, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgement and decision?"

Nothing in Carolyn's argument has altered my inference that many women in her age cohort are more than likely to end up in a 'situationship.' She writes:

"Mi no want no young boy fi work out mi soul case. An no old man fi go dead pon mi. Dr Semaj concluded that my desire for an 'ageable' man was a sexual fantasy that wasn't likely to be fulfilled."

Well, Carolyn, I am not saying that you can't defy the odds, but the most common first choice of a M2 (man 35 to 50 years) is a W1 (woman <30 years). His second choice is a W2 (woman 30 to 45 years). His third choice would be a W3 (woman >45 years), if she comes with money, house, car and contacts that she is willing to share with him.

The paradox, even as Carolyn express it, is that Mr M2 (35 to 50 years) is the first choice for women 50 and over. This, my friend, is what will increase the likelihood of a series of 'sexual situationships' but is very unlikely to result in a lasting bonafide relationship. Veer as much as you want out of your lane, but understand that "you can ignore reality, but you can't ignore the consequences of ignoring reality" (Helen Keller).

I mean no harm when I use the word 'old'. It is not fashionable nowadays to be old, but certain qualities (like good wine) are largely dependent on the knowledge and wisdom that can only be acquired over time and with experience. Not all old men are going to "dead pon yu". I am a proud old man (over 60). I walk daily 5Ks, monthly 10Ks, and twice-annual half-marathons. I win my age group in most 5K events that I enter.

I eat healthy, visit my dentist twice per year, am more than literate and gainfully self-employed. We all have choices. I chose to SAGE rather than AGE.


In this relationship conundrum, I am primarily speaking to men and women (like me) who are age 50 and over. We have the most to lose, in the current dispensation, when we don't 'stay in our lane'. We set ourselves up for exploitation when we try to build intimate relationships with persons who see us as their third choice. We can do better.

Not trying to box you in, my friend, just sharing my observations. Care to place a bet?

Loving someone who does not love you in the same way is like waiting for a ship at the airport. (Anon)

A suh mi see it. What say you?

-Leahcim Semaj, PhD, is a psychologist and ideator at The JobBank. Email feedback to and