Thursday, February 14, 2013

Desire Under the Tums: Valentine's Tips for the Middle-Aged

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Happy Valentine's Day! Every newspaper, magazine and website will be offering a Valentine theme today, and we, dear readers, are no different. Except for this: much of the advice proffered for Valentine's Day is oriented to, shall we say, the novices of love. People dating, or wanting to date, or hoping to make a commitment. Newlyweds and harried young parents wondering if the bloom is off the rose (1) 

Where are the love secrets for those "of a certain age," as the French say? Why, right here. If you're already certainly aged, you know things are different. "Feeling hot in bed" means it's time to ask your doctor about hormones. When your man is getting up in the middle of the night, it's to go to the bathroom. Forthwith, some tips and tricks to keep things popping (and I don't mean your knees.)

1. Take your glasses off. Mother Nature has created a beautiful plan for us: just as our faces start sprouting unidentifiable spots (2), mystery hairs and crow's feet, we lose the ability to see anything closer than two feet away without the aid of powerful lenses. Take those glasses off and watch your beloved's care-worn visage blur into the same fresh-faced youth you met at the disco.

2. Speaking of mystery hairs, most of us ladies know what to do if we want to defoliate. The same can't be said for the men in our lives. Guys who at twenty-five are as smooth as Michael Phelps become Yeti look-alikes at fifty.  If you find flinging your arms around your husband reminds you of bear wrestling, slip him a gift certificate to a local spa for some manscaping. (3) If he resists going, pull out the beard trimmer and tell him to lie down, it won't hurt a bit. (4)

3. Of course, hitting middle age means discovering sometimes it does hurt a bit when you lie down.(5) There's nothing that can douse the flame of love quicker than hearing something go SNAP in the heat of the moment. Not to mention the bad knee, dicey shoulder or tricky lower back you and your beloved are probably sporting. How to get around the fact you're falling apart at the joints? Try gazing into each others eyes and toasting as you down your prophylactic ibuprofen. Consider making "Ben Gay" part of your foreplay.(6) And take a leaf from college kids: ask before you proceed. Questions like "Does this hurt?" "Can you bend like that?" and "Mind if we just forget it and watch Elementary?" will help things run much more smoothly.

4. Finding privacy for those intimate moments can be a challenge if you have teens still at home or twenty-something "rebounders" (7). When they were toddlers, you could stick them in front of a Barney tape and dash off for a twenty minute quickie. Now, they stay up later than you do, and they know about S-E-X (8). What to do? It's difficult to order them outside to play in the fresh air when they're 19 and 22. Try bribing them with money to go to the mall. Some couples find it helpful to play loud, teen-repelling music in their bedrooms. Try 1980's country. (9) A final alternative? Be truthful. A friend of mine swore he could clear the house in under three minutes by loudly announcing, "Mom and I are going upstairs to have sex now."

5. Don't forget the little, tender moments that create a sense of love and intimacy. Consider taking your morning pills side-by-side together. Help each other remember what the hell you came into the kitchen for. Compliment your partner on his sexy relaxed-fit Dockers or her stylin' orthopedic shoes. Take the time to text something besides "Pls pick up dogfd, lghtblbs on way home." Marvel together about the up-and-coming generation's inability to walk three steps without sticking earbuds in their heads (10).

Despite that fact that you're getting weekly AARP solicitations in the mail and you still don't understand Google+, these can, indeed, be the good years. Secure in each other, you don't need to sweat the cards, the flowers, or the overpriced Valentine's Day dinner. Simply take a moment to let your sweetie know that, in your eyes, he or she is the same sweet person you fell for all those years ago (11).  Then whisper the words your beloved is longing to hear:

"Want to watch Elementary tonight?"

(1) It is. Just go with it for a few years.
(2) Go see the dermo.
(3) Of course, if you're a "bear daddy" fan, this could be a huge plus. 
(4) Who knows? You may find out you both like playing The Naughty Inmate and the Stern Prison Matron.
(5) And not in that 50 SHADES OF GRAY way, either.
(6) But for God's sakes, watch where you put it.
(7) Yes, they have their own name, now. Lord help us all.
(8) Although they still suspect their parents have only done it as many times as necessary to make a baby. If you adopted your child, he or she is happy to consider you may NEVER have had sex.
(9) This means, however, you'll have to learn to find Kenny Rogers singing "Lady" a turn-on.
(10) Seriously. What's up with that? 
(11) Pro tip: don't say, "You look weathered, like an old barn." Which is a real thing my husband said to me. And then had no idea why I got mad.


  1. If I ever manage to stop laughing, I am going to a.) find my glasses, b.) scrounge around for some Kenny Rogers music, c,) forget about figuring out Google+, and d.) check out “Elementary” . . . what a great post! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  2. Happy Valentine's Day to all the Reds. Dee

  3. Great tips, Julia!

    My beau and I met nine years ago today and we were already of a certain age (which makes us even MORE certain now), so we got used to some of that stuff right off the bat. I did have sons at home for the first few years, and might get one back later this spring for a while, but they're pretty cool adults now.

    Here's to love!

  4. Simply hysterical!!! I giggled at 7:17 A.M. Thanks for the hilarity! Thelma Straw in Manhattan

  5. I think you missed your calling, Julia - perhaps you should consider replacing Dr. Ruth?

    My husband always draws me a valentine. This year it's two cardinals, a lady and a man, nuzzling over a frozen bird bath.It's lover-ly.

  6. Thanks Julia for a great start to the day! Hallie, love the description of your card:)

    Happy Valentine's day Reds--we love every one of you!

  7. Very funny, Ms. J. Thanks, but your complaints sound like the good old days to me. :)

  8. Yes, here's to love and to Julia's wonderful post.

    Blurry-visioned and Ben Gay-scented, unable to get Kenny Rogers' voice out of our heads, we march boldly toward the love frontier.

    Happy Valentine's Day, all!

  9. I'm really hoping your husband reads this *and learns*, Julia. An old barn, really?? Thanks for the tips and laughs!

  10. Harold alway gets me chocolates. Fortunately he isn' t bothered by the weight I'm putting on.

  11. My husband and I just shared the pill-taking routine. I never looked at it as a romantic moment but we must grab every moment we can.

    Thank you so much for the chuckle this morning. We've exchanged valentines this morning and he's taking me out - to buy yarn! What a sweetie.

    And I have to say that the picture of the Navy nurse really reminds me of my mother. That made me smile, too.

    Happy Valentine's Day to all!

  12. Very funny. Very true. Thanks for the great way to begin the day

  13. LAughing too hard to type!

    I literally, literally, have thoguht about how wonderful it is that neither of us can see each other clearly..and wondered if that was some cosmic gift.

    And we..take our blood pressures together. There,I confessed. :-)

    Happy Valentines Day to all..and may you stay happy.

  14. Very humorous, Julia. Happy Valentine's Day to everyone.

    Hint: Once the kids leave home, the whole ballgame changes. For the better. <3

  15. Julia, you made me snort my cereal!!If you missed your calling, it was as a replacement for the deliciously funny Erma Bombeck.

    And now I feel a little bit better about the fact that my hubby falls in the same category as Blake Shelton (no, he doesn't look like Blake Shelton, unfortunately.) Mr. Shelton was recently quoted as saying, "Valentine's Day is one of those ladies' holidays. They all pretty much suck." I assume he was referring to the made-up holidays, not the ladies.

    And yes, I am planning to watch Elementary.

  16. What a great take on V-Day! Love it!

    Mr. Right is a lovely, lovely man. Romantic, he is not. I asked him to get me an early Valentine's present and pick up a bottle of lavender shower gel at a shop in another town, when he went there for work. So he gave it to me, two days early, no fanfare. It’s blue. “I didn’t know what color you wanted. They have ten colors. You like blue.” It’s lavender. Thank goodness I didn’t ask for lemon or orange-blossom. But it will make me smile every time I use it, and that’s as sweet as anything could be.

  17. Oh myyyy, as George Takei would say. This will go down as one of my favorite JR days. As one of the "slightly over the hill gang", I've decided the new sexy is when your spouse/partner/significant other has you laughing so hard you have to go change your panty liner.

    Happy Valentine's Day to all.

    Julia, I'll be laughing all day.

  18. Oh Julia, I'm still laughing.
    You look like a weathered old barn--I'd shoot him.
    But my husband's idea of a compliment is "You don't look too bad today, better than that awful thing you were wearing the other day."

    Thanks for the Valentine's day reality check
    Another reality check--I can't read the frigging Katcha numbers!

  19. One additional note--the older you are, the more the phrase becomes not "location, location, location," but "position, position, position". :)

  20. The Muzak in the bank was Kenny Roger's The Gambler. I couldn't stop giggling in line.

  21. Ouch! And ouch again! These are too good!

  22. I have no other, significant or otherwise. But, if I did I would pay close attention to each of your wonderful suggestions. Of course if I took off my glasses, I am not sure I would see anyone. And the barn compliment, I am sure it was meant in the kindest manner.

    Thank each of you for making my day have many smiles.


  23. Julia, You made my day. What a fun look at middle age and older. Let's hope we are never too old to laugh at ourselves.

  24. Julia, this is wonderful! Hallie is right... Dr. Ruth. Loved her!

    My Valentine is coming home from the hospital rehab. I am so happy.

    ♡ ♡ ♡ Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. ♡ ♡ ♡