Thu | Dec 9, 2021

In praise of older women, too

Published:Saturday | June 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Tony Deyal

About 10 years ago, Tallpree, a calypso singer from Grenada, became popular in Trinidad because of a song in which he avows a preference for female senior citizens. Eschewing young women, the singer maintains that old women alone are allowed to take him home.

Unfortunately, there are some young men who do not share the singer's passion for senior females. An elderly woman was turning her Mercedes into a parking space at the mall when she was edged out by a red sports car.

"You've got to be young and fast," jeered the young male driver as he jumped out from behind the wheel. The woman reversed, revved her engine and rammed the sports car.

The completely bewildered young man turned and gaped, then ran over and banged on the woman's window. "Why did you deliberately hit my car?" he demanded. "You've got to be old and rich," the lady explained, smiling sweetly.

One very aggressive older woman, drinking with her friends at a beach bar, half-jokingly asked the handsome and muscular young waiter, "So tell me, cutie, where have you been all my life?" "Actually, ma'am," he replied, "for the first 50 years of it, I wasn't even around."

Put-downs and hostility from younger men do not deter some older women who believe that life at that age is a question of mathematics. They choose younger men because, as one lady explained to me, "Twenty can go into 80 more times than 80 can go into 20."

frustration

One old woman was asked by her doctor about her night vision, "When you want to make love, do you have a tough time finding your husband in the dark?" "No," she responded truthfully, "it isn't hard." There was the old man who boasted that he was different, he and his wife made love almost every night - almost Monday, almost Tuesday ... .

It is perhaps that sense of frustration that a few years ago led a 73-year-old grandmother to become a serial rapist of young men. The woman, from Vilnius in Lithuania, accosted young men between the ages of 16 and 28, raped them at gunpoint, and then left them naked at the scene of the crime, taking their clothes with her.

She would strip naked, put on a trench coat and carry a basket with a .44 magnum pistol inside. Then she waited at the side of a jogging track in the park, looking out for heavily muscled young men with blue eyes and blonde hair. According to the police, "For the victims, the rapes were a horrifying experience, but they must have been satisfying for the woman, because she repeated the crime over and over." The woman added insult to injury, by laughing at her victims and tormenting them after the crime.

There is a tragic side to this in Korea, where the tradition is to revere the old, but because of economic problems, some older women are turning to prostitution. A BBC report earlier this week titled 'The Korean Grandmothers Who Sell Sex' stated, "Kim Eun-ja sits on the steps at Seoul's Jongno-3 subway station, scanning the scene in front of her. The 71-year-old's bright lipstick and shiny red coat stand out against her papery skin. Beside her is a large bag, from which comes the clink of glass bottles as she shifts on the cold concrete. Mrs Kim is one of South Korea's 'Bacchus Ladies' - older women who make a living by selling tiny bottles of the popular Bacchus energy drink to male customers. But often that's not all they're selling. At an age when Korean grandmothers are supposed to be venerated as matriarchs, some are selling sex."

deep trouble

Most of these ladies got into the sex trade late in life because of their new kind of old-age poverty. One 60-year-old woman admitted, "I don't have any money. I can't trust my children to help. They're in deep trouble because they have to start preparing for their old age. Almost all of the old folks here are in the same situation."

The report summarises the predicament of the old women in the new Korea: "But for the grandparents who built its fearsome economy, food is expensive, sex is cheap, and human warmth rarely available at any price."

I suppose that kind of fear - of growing old, of increasing poverty, of rejection by your children, your government and society as a whole - is what adds the desperate, bitter edge to the jokes about the elderly by the elderly.

When an older lady heard about the case of the Vilnius woman and the Korean grandmothers, she responded, "Well, there is one situation I know where an older man tried the same thing on a young female. Fortunately, the police arrested him. The real problem arose when the case was dismissed because the evidence did not stand up in court." Somehow the story had a hollow ring to it.

Tony Deyal was last seen talking about the case of the very old woman who was asked by her young male doctor whether she had ever been bedridden before. "Yes," she boasted, "Several times. And once in the back of a buggy."