[Spoiler alert: To this senior woman and this senior man, there is no such thing as a “senior” body.]
When I was a teenager, my movie crushes were on Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart. I loved the long-drink-of-water look of them, their lanky ease of movement and the feelings they gave off with their not-too-thick, not-too-thin, but just right male bodies.
A lifetime later, when I was in my seventies, my heart gave that same Henry Fonda/Jimmy Stewart lurch when I walked into the restaurant in which I had arranged to meet a total stranger and saw a tall, lanky, silver-haired man unfold himself from the couch where he had been waiting.
“You must be Melanie,” he said quietly as he reached out his hand.
“Are you kidding?” I almost shouted, “You bet I’m Melanie!”
For the previous two years I had been answering personal ads placed by men in my age range and found that lanky guys were few and far between. Ubiquitous, however, were the—well, to be polite—the Buddha belly guys. You know, the ones who haven’t seen their, uh, toes for 20 years or more.
Just not my cuppa tea.
My husband can definitely see his toes.
It’s a wonderful thing for me to love my man’s body—to not only love who he is, how he is and what he is, but to love his body as well.
It’s like the frosting on the cake, or the prize in the Cracker Jack box or three outs with the bases loaded. You just know there’s gonna be a home run and that home run has added a dimension to our October love affair that has made it feel more like spring.
From the beginning, my husband told me that he appreciated my body—in particular, the age of it and all that an aged body brings with it.
It has wrinkles, yes. It has bags, yes. But it also has wisdom and knowledge.
“Your body has been a home to a lifetime of stories, awareness and loves,” he said.
And that is exactly how I feel about him when I see him and his beautiful body.
I see home.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all as esoteric as that.
I also see the long-ness of his body, its leanness and its lanky muscularity, which is exactly to my girlish/womanish taste.
I also like the soft underbelly of his arms, where the triceps muscle is long and the skin is smooth. The backs of his ankles and the twin valleys there that are the color of ivory. His long legs and the way he sits with them casually crossed at the knee. the cleft on his chest, the seemingly vulnerable back of his neck and the smoothness of his brow.
I also like that my husband is good with his hands—another attribute I look for in a man. He can use them to change the faucet in the sink, to build the cabinets in the kitchen and even to conduct Tchaikovsky while the L.A. Symphony orchestra is playing on You Tube.
I am particularly pleased by the way my husband inhabits his body—by how comfortable, confident and graceful he is in it—and how he is equally at home whether he is naked, dressed in a pair of jeans or wearing a sport coat for business.
His one-hipped cowboy-like stance and gracefulness are the epitome of masculinity to me, and all I have to do is watch him walk across the living room and the woman-self inside me rises to meet him.
As a bonus, while my husband is man of few words, when it comes to body language he is downright multi-lingual.
If I am sitting on the sofa, he sits right next to me, hip-to-hip. If I am waiting for him at the bar, he pulls his stool up next to mine thigh-to-thigh. If we are driving in the car, he reaches over and squeezes my leg; he caresses my hair when it is down and tugs my pony tail when it is not. He taps my leg with his foot, takes my hand when we are walking and rubs his shoulder next to mine in the movie theater. He cuddles for hours on end and his preferred way to read the newspaper is on his phone while stretched out beside me on the futon in our music room.
To me, my husband’s eloquence is in his body and it is constantly sending me invitations to engage—to notice, to feel and to respond.
“Here I am,” his body says. “Come to me.”
And, come to it I do.
To me, my husband doesn’t have a “senior body,” or an “aged body.” To me, my husband’s body is ageless.
And with a body like that, I can’t say no.
Author: Carmelene Siani
Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Author’s Own (the author and her husband at their wedding.)~