Thursday, 17 May 2012

Until You Die

Kat of the Crescat has a crush on a Young Fogey. She observes that she is 35 and asks if she isn't too old for crushes. The answer, of course, is no.

The incomparable Nancy Mitford once wrote a letter (actually she wrote so many letters that it would take me hours to find it and copy it here) about being interviewed by a lovely young lady. Nancy had won international fame as the author of In Pursuit of Love and, as an aristocratic Englishwoman who lived in Paris and dressed beautifully, was a heroine to younger literary ladies. (They did not know, as Nancy did not know, that her lover would up and marry her rival, the beast.)

This lovely young lady asked all the professional questions and then, as you or I certainly would do, got to the important, personal stuff and shyly asked at what age feelings of unrequited love went away. "Never," said the almost-elderly Miss Mitford. The lovely young lady was bowled away by this remark.

This reminds me of when I was about 30 and terribly fit and the nurse examining me told me I had the heart of a fourteen year old.

"Tell me about it," I said.

And this also reminds me of my wonderful Canadian grandmother. My American grandmother never struck me as ever having been a girly-girl; food and family quarrels were much more her interests. But my Canadian grandmother was very chic and outgoing, hung out with a gang of friends, did her nails, had her hair done, and went away on holiday to a Muskoka resort, where she drank cocktails. She had been enormously in love with my grandfather, and although she was pursued by the occasional widower, she had no interest in marrying again.

However, when I was grown-up and divorced (and invalidated, as they say in Poland, not that my Protestant granny could ever get her head around that), and my grandmother was quite elderly, I discovered that this lack of interest in marrying again was not because Grandma had packed in her appreciation of the caffeine in the cappuccino of life. Not at all.

Grandma--my mother will kill me for telling this story again--Grandma on two or maybe three occasions panicked in the middle of the night over some pain or other and summoned an ambulance. The ambulance would arrive promptly and young male paramedics would rush to my grandmother's aid.

"And I said, 'Well, you're all very handsome'," related Grandma after one such episode.

"MOTHER," said my mother in an awful voice, and Grandma giggled.

"Why not?" she said. "And it all gave me quite a thrill."

"It all cost two hundred and fifty dollars," growled my mother.

"What?" cried my Scottish-Canadian grandmother. "Two hundred and fifty dollars?" She meditated on this and sniffed. "Huh. Some thrill."

Eventually Grandma "temporarily" moved from her house to the local nursing home for round-the-clock care. Instead of young paramedics, the place abounded with young orderlies, and even--as my Grandmother related with a twinkle--a handsome young masseur. I think the idea of therapeutic massage would have been absolutely scandalous to my grandmother when she was younger, but as it seemed to be one of the very few perks life offered to the 80+ set, she enjoyed it.

It delights me to no end that as an eighty-year old my grandmother had the freedom and confidence to flirt with the paramedics loading her onto an ambulance. I doubt, however, that she ever actually lost her heart to a paramedic or masseur, so maybe the pains of arthritis, etc., do cancel out the pains of unrequited love.

But it would appear that the feminine appreciation of masculine youth and beauty does not necessarily flee with the approach of old age. Thank heavens for that.

Update: Samantha drops another brick. Obviously she never read the works of Nancy Mitford. This report made me howl. Dear, dear. How odd to make money by soliciting hatred of oneself.


healthily sanguine said...

I always find it cathartic when you post about having crushes, even when I don't have one at the time. :)

Seraphic said...

Good! It can be great fun to think of them in the abstract because then you realize that almost everyone, perhaps even the postman, has a crush on someone sometime and hardly anyone notices. We are all too worried about our own crushes.

Sinéad said...

Nancy Mitford's book was The Pursuit of Love. In Pursuit of Love is a book on Catholic sexual teaching that cites Charles Curran as an authority. ;-)

Poor Samantha, I think that the only way she can make money as a journalist now is to write those sorts of articles. I hope she can eventually steer her work in another direction and still make a living.

Jam said...

I can't help but think that there are plenty of people who rejoice to think that people hate them, because surely all those haters are just a sign that what they say is true. I'm not surprised that Samantha Brick just keeps going.

The Crescat said...

I think it might be dismissive of my feelings to compare them with an 80 year old woman who thinks her EMT is dashing. This NCB and Young Fogey is someone of genuine interest and someone I've admired and liked for many many years. Maybe my use of the word "crush" was the wrong one. Perhaps the fault is my own in phrasing it so nonchalantly.

And I was seriously looking forward to old age when I could quit all this silly nonsense like having feelings for the opposite sex. Unrequited is a sucky place to be.

Seraphic said...

Sinead, oops! You're right. I fix.

Kat, I wasn't trying to be dismissive. In fact, I am definitely sympathetic. No offense meant.

The Crescat said...

I wasn't offended. Now I'm sorry I made you feel like you needed to apologize. Bah.

I'm still disappointed to learn I may be 80 and developing crushes. Boo.

Caelaeno said...

Oh my. Is it possible that Samantha Brick is self-sabotaging? She must realize that attacking the women of an entire country will not garner professional respect...

Mustard Seed said...

I know firsthand how uncomfortable and beastly crushes can be, and just wanting them to be over. But I also think it's part of being human, and whatever good you see in your crush can also provide you insight into what you're looking for in other relationships, or what you might want to develop more in yourself. At least that is one way to try to take something good away from it.

Also, viva las old ladies living life! This is a little random, but I just saw this video of the world's oldest yoga instructor:
I admire her approach to life. And I hope I still appreciate men even as an old woman! By then I'll probably be a pro at dealing with crushes anyway. (Do they have reruns of The Golden Girls in the UK? They get crushes all the time, haha.)