My husband, Charles, and I agree on many things, but aging is not one of them. While I’m self-conscious about our status as later-in-life lovers, he’s blissfully unaware.
On our wedding day last year, I thought we’d curated our lovefest’s soundtrack perfectly. We’d walk down the aisle to “The Best Is Yet to Come.’’ Our first dance would begin with a newer song by Jill Barber, “Never Quit Loving You,’’ morphing into Ella Fitzgerald singing the Jerome Kern classic “All the Things You Are.’’ The millennial guests would bop to Pitbull; our cohorts would shake their gravitationally compromised booties to “Love Shack.’’
But as Charles and I danced between the appetizers and the main course, we heard the one song that would have topped our do-not-play list, if we’d remembered to create one: “When I’m Sixty-Four’’ — a beautiful Beatles tune, but also the age Charles was turning in one month.
I was ready to perform a quick intervention, embarrassed by the limited commitment implied, never mind the low bar of “need me” and “feed me.” But Charles just smiled and dipped me deeply, confirming that he still had it. Given his herniated disks, I prayed he’d get me back up.
Charles’s carefree attitude was similarly evident on our honeymoon in Panama, when he enthusiastically deployed his high school Spanish, telling everyone we were on our “luna de miel.” This old hombre a newlywed? Best case, locals thought his language skills were poor; worst case, they suspected memory issues.
My man even remained unfazed when, back home, a young woman on a scavenger hunt asked if we’d lock lips for a photo. She needed a picture of an old couple kissing. I was disconcerted that we qualified; Charles simply gave me a big smooch.
During a recent dinner, as a friend described her search for a couples therapist, I found I wasn’t the only one experiencing the land mines associated with August-September relationships.
One candidate had excellent reviews, but my pal, noticing that the therapist had written extensively on parenting, worried that her specialty might not be right. An unforgettable phone conversation ensued.
Friend: “I wanted to confirm you’re experienced with more mature couples.”
Therapist: “No problem. I now specialize in end-of-life relationships.”
Well, that was a kick in the stretch pants!
Back home, I asked Charles what he thought of the concept of an end-of-life relationship therapist. Consistent with his age obliviousness, he assumed “end-of-life” referred to the partnership itself — like relationship hospice — and not the couple.
After I clarified, Charles said he sees our ages as an opportunity. We’re smarter, we’re more experienced, and we know who we are.
“I see us as a second chance for a first great marriage.”
He took “The Best Is Yet to Come’’ literally. I decided that I should, too.
Which brings me to our latest age-related experience.
Charles saw that Jill Barber, whose song had launched our first dance, would be appearing nearby. He got tickets and sent an e-mail requesting that she perform it.
At the show, she introduced our song and asked us — and another couple who also inaugurated their marriage to the tune — to come up and dance. They were young and stunning. We were, well, us.
I felt like the last two pairs in a dance marathon. All eyes upon us, I backslid and was ready to simply sway. But Charles’s muscles tensed like a matador’s, and he began his two moves — swirl and dip — and repeated them with increasing frenzy.
Amazingly, the young couple did the basic sway, and the crowd roared as Charles and I left the stage. We had our moment in the sun, which we older folk love.
No matter how hard you try to curate your life’s soundtrack, there’s not much you can control at any age. How you respond is the trick — and Charles’s response was one more reason to need and feed my Medicare-eligible, age-impervious man.