I seem to have gone wrong somewhere. Although I'm dabbling my manicured
toes somewhere in the shallow forties, I'm making not a ripple with the
under twenty fives. Okay, I'm no Kathleen Turner baring all to seduce
the youthful Matthew Rhys once a night and twice when there's a matinee
- but still - you'd think some luckless juvenile, somewhere, would be
interested. Isn't there a trend here that I'm missing?
During the whole Kathleen Turner kit-off furore, the strangest thing to
me hasn't been why a woman of forty five would want to perform naked on
the West End stage, but just how many cherished male memories the whole
Mrs Robinson thing seemed to trigger.
There's a whole host of men out there who've told me that the first time
they had sex was with a fortysomething woman. They fairly whimper with
gratitude when they talk about finally being introduced to the delights
of carnal knowledge where they themselves didn't play both starring and
supporting roles. Graduate, indeed.
For one it was a mother at the beach the summer he was seventeen, for
another the woman next door, and yet another his landlady the year he
started college. Each one fondly recites her full name, followed by the
place and time - their eyes misting over as they croon nostalgic Bobbie
Goldsboro choruses of 'I knew nothing about love, she knew everything'.
'Oh that woman taught me so much,' said one of the initiates dreamily,
lost in his blue-tinted reminiscences. Each man can recall every single
detail, albeit somewhat amplified by the passage of time; but certainly,
not one mentions her cellulite. Not one remembers whether or not her charms
were suffering from the effects of gravity. Did Dustin Hoffman spend much
time looking for stretch marks when Anne Bancroft stripped off that stocking?
I think not.
So does Kathleen Turner have a great body? Was it 'brave' of her is it
to strip off and reveal it - compared with - say a beach frolicking Mel
C who, after laying off the gym for a while, has been renamed Porky Spice.
Or what about the catwalk strutting logoed tapeworm Posh Spice who, of
course, is not painfully emaciated but merely svelte.
The media is a harsh, hard-to-please, body-dysmorphic lover. Men, on the
other hand, usually don't give a damn. Although the owner of a less than
perfect body might think she's a minority interest - there seems to be
a substantial following devoted to the bizarre and forbidden pleasure
of the okay-looking, middle aged woman.
Good god - overweight and over forty and men still fancy us! The shame
Some of them even prefer family-sized women with more hip than hip-bone.
I was at a party recently where two men were unashamedly ogling the amply
proportioned Fern Britton of Ready, Steady, Cook. 'Oh isn't she just gorgeous,
they whispered, drooling over her from a distance.
And as for me? Oh, you're just not big enough, love, said one.
Of course, times have changed. When The Graduate was first released many
fortysomething women would have had grown-up children of marriageable
age. Maturity wasn't sexy - it was vaguely offensive, like strong cheese.
You spent your middle years having tennis lessons, or waiting for grandchildren.
No wonder people took tranquillisers.
Nowadays, with many women delaying starting a family while pursuing a
career, or the impossible notion of finding a man who isn't a commitment
phobe - Mrs Robinson's contemporary is just as likely to be sending her
child off to nursery as college. When she says she's having her first
baby, she means one that fits into the Moses basket, not the master bedroom
- and though she might be hitting forty - she probably isn't hitting on
Frankly, who would want to? It's bad enough trying to teach a grown man
how to do complicated button pushing tasks like programming the video,
without running a YTS scheme for swinging lovers.
I mean, do you really feel like doing show and tell several times a night.
Who has the energy? You might already be up all night with one fretful,
demanding child. Two is pushing it.
Enthusiasm is all very well but teaching isn't overtone's vocation. As
another, younger, male friend of mine said about sex - it's like lacrosse.
I'm there on the pitch, and I've got the uniform on, and the little net
thingie clasped very firmly in my hand. I know all the rules - but I don't
really have the foggiest idea how to play.
So practice on someone your own age.
Forget stripping off at forty five - it's the willingness to go orienteering
without a map, a compass, with an inexperienced rambler that's really