There’s an opinion piece by Pamela Druckerman in today’s homepage of the WaPo. Who, you ask, is Pamela Druckerman? Well, besides being the owner of an interesting surname, she’s also the author of Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity From Tokyo to Tennessee. Druckerman, who for esthetic reasons I will call “Pamela,” writes about lust in the WaPo, too.
Specifically, about lustful aging Frenchwomen. Even more specifically — alas, almost too much so — about how Pamela herself would like to emulate them. Why? “It’s because, quite frankly, I’d like to keep having sex,” she explains. Right off the bat, one feels one knows far too much about Pamela.
According to the latest “national statistics,” women in America stop having sex in their 50’s. I would say that’s proof we are indeed God’s country, but Pamela thinks it places us way behind older Frenchwomen. Their national statistics have them romping well into senility. But the important question is: who takes those statistics? And if I weren’t a happily married man — which, happily, I am — I would follow that up with: where does one apply for the “national sex statistics” job?
The French older-woman-having-sex data, by the way, is gathered by that country’s Regional Health Observatory. What sort of telescope are we talking about here? Anyhow, Pamela’s own observings reveal the state of affairs in the City of Love:
This post-menopausal sexiness is palpable here. In the lingerie section of an upscale department store, I recently watched a gray-haired man earnestly inspecting the black lace bra and panties that his similarly aged companion had just picked out. “That’s just what’s needed,” he clucked, handing his credit card to the clerk.
So: a grayheaded geezer clucking over female lingerie proves, beyond hope of refutation, the superior sexual condition of Frenchwomen. And what of us American geezers? Speaking as a member of the tribe, I don’t foresee much clucking. I think we max out at mumbling distractedly when we pass Victoria’s Secrets.
Pamela produces any number of reasons (beyond the clucking geezer hypothesis) why older French females seem randier than their American counterparts. They dominate the nation’s cinema, and get Sexy Lady awards. They experienced a sexual revolution in 1968 (how did that pass me by?). They aren’t choosy.
In contrast, American women of a certain age suffer from “sexual conservatism.” They meet willing partners, but have some primitive block about actually liking that person before hopping in bed. Embrace that geezer, ladies. He may be your last shot at upping the national statistics.
But the main reason for graying lustfulness goes unnoticed by Pamela. France, like all Europe, is getting older. Of course, technically we’re all getting older, but the French are going at it in a specific way: by refusing to reproduce. Large families in France are invariably of immigrant origins, usually Muslim, like this award-winning group. Women of Gallic roots stopped having babies around the time that 1968 party got started.
Therefore, the invidious comparisons made by Pamela are grossly unfair. If you don’t have children, you can act like a teenager your whole life long. As you get older, all you need do is squint a little and lie a lot. But if you do have children, everyone knows that sex will rank far behind sleeping among the pleasures of the flesh. Metaphorically speaking, we’re like salmon: exhausted before, and inert after, reproduction.
Which is why I would like to make a modest proposal. Aging American women deserve a shot at post-menopausal glory. Aging Frenchwomen need to learn the joys of motherhood. Let us, therefore, ship the entire population of the United States under the age of, say, fourteen — I’m open to any number under 50 — to la belle France.
They will grow up sophisticated, true. They will spend much time debating which wine to drink with which sauce. They will burn cars to save on gasoline. They will pucker their lips when anything American gets mentioned. Worse yet, they will actually enjoy soccer.
But such a mutilation of the uncouth character of our youth is, I believe, a small price to pay, if it releases the inner Frenchwoman inside every aging female in America.
Meanwhile, the rest of us can catch up on our sleep.