By Tilly Smith Dix
When you were raised by a romantic, often a dreamer, Mom, who only saw the bright side, married to a man who adored her and always put her first, you are perhaps ruined for life, I guess, as once we become adults, we are often disappointed by the realities that bite, sting, stab, abandon, abuse, ignore, or cheat…
Conversations with women over sixty have brought me to the conclusion that most men in our age group regard us as over the hill, desperate, or irrelevant, or all of the above!
So, let me begin by sending a resounding cheer to men of ANY age who believe we matter, we are interesting, we are beautiful, and intelligent, and we have stories to share. Those men, seemingly few and far between, don’t see us as OVER, just older and wiser, which they seem to value too. To the rest, well, darlings, you honestly don’t matter. We are busy living.
When we need to communicate with you for any reason, but never on a romantic level, we do so with grace and a KNOWING you’d never understand. Well, perhaps you do but that indeed is what scares the testosterone bejesus out of you. Too bad. We sleep well at night as most of us are content in our space and our skin. Something you would simply never understand. Authenticity.
Interestingly, many of you are not what we dream about in a mature partner anyway. That explains why cougars seem to be flourishing with their much younger partners who are with them not only because of what is happening between their two big toes, but also between their ears, and for understanding so much more about the human condition.
Well, men have been riding the wave, pun intended, for so many years with their ability to court much younger women, and good luck to them. It seems to be working the other way around too and I say cheers to those brave women, and dashing men!
So odd, in my younger days, I was always attracted to much older, charming, seemingly worldly men. Perhaps I hoped they’d be mature and would be able to teach me something about life? Yet, in retrospect, seldom were they more mature than me, even when I was in my twenties. Was that why they were seeking young wives?
To the mature women who take good care of themselves physically, emotionally and intellectually, and the men who find them alluring because of the knowledge, ripeness and tenacity that make them exciting to be around, I salute you.
As for my dating? That is private. However, suffice to say I’m feeling better and more empowered than ever. My mind is active, my life is full. What is my focus? Living my life, treasuring the great moments, being grateful for incredible friends and family, and savouring the bounty called life.
So, some of the mature dating stories I’ve heard recently caused a chuckle, not malicious, embittered laughter, just a knowing chuckle…
Categorising people is not a healthy mindset but damnit, at times it’s just too difficult not to do so, so, here goes with some of the hairy tales I’ve listened to of late over a glass of bubbles, great company, laughter, and vistas of bay and vineyards that will turn many into green jelly with envy.
A woman of sixty-plus told me of a man, possibly a year or so older than her and now retired, who flew all over the world regularly as an executive. During that time, he had affairs with women in many cities he visited, and he lost a few wives in the process. He now laments how lonely he is but made it clear he was not interested in any committed relationship, but he wanted to see her.
When she confessed she was not looking for meaningless dating, his question to her was, “why not just have fun with no strings as life is short?” My response to her story? Life is just too short to waste on anyone who has difficulty escaping the dating games of the 70s.
Stories abound as another gorgeous woman over sixty told me how a lover of many years ago contacted her when she was going through a painful divorce. She felt quite alone as this was during Covid lockdowns, so, hearing this familiar voice was heart-warming for her.
Not for long, though. Insensitive to her emotional pain and her brave efforts to engage in honest, platonic conversation, the said charmer was trying to engage her in phone intimacy! Seriously? Then, after disconnecting the call, she flicked through social media, only to see Casanova was in a relationship! She did not comment. When he next tried calling, she blocked him on her phone, using her powerful middle finger. Smart gal.
Another woman spoke of a man she had felt sorry for as his pain of losing his wife to illness was obvious and seemingly raw. He appreciated her condolences and started calling her regularly. All she wanted, she says, was friendship and for the man to know she understood his pain as she’d gone through similar trauma some years earlier.
Then she discovered this ageing Lothario had engaged in several affairs and had strung several women along, living in fear they might find out about one another, during the year in which his wife passed on!
How exhausting! I thought people stopped such stupidity in their twenties but hey, to each his own, as long as they are honest with their conquests about playing the field.
Claiming to be going through a process of healing, the man thought his behaviour was justified. How does one heal by hurting others who are vulnerable, perhaps lonely, hurt, and hoping to find a loving partner? Not to mention cashing in on endless sympathy from loved ones, professing to be in emotional pain about the loss of his wife, whilst pinching the cat, in fact several, in the dark – no disrespect intended for these unsuspecting women by mentioning ‘cat’.
With such scant respect for women, this is the kind of man our mamas warned us about! Run!
A medical doctor friend told me most of his patients struggling with STDs were people on the dating scene, and mostly over 50s! No surprises there. It is still a reality.
A friend once described her ex as a monkey, which, in my old country, is immensely disrespectful and darkly politically incorrect. She still cared about the man but as an intelligent, beautiful, mature woman, she had formed this opinion of him, as monkeys hold onto a branch whilst grasping for another one to swing on.
In the wild, this is smart. In human terms, it smacks of a deeply insecure person, who’s ego needs constant polishing, amongst other things. Advice from this Aunty Agony? Let the monkey go! Most of us admire Sir David Attenborough’s incredible work in biology and anthropology, and I find wildlife fascinating but that’s a completely different kettle of fish. Man should have evolved by now… So, if someone is stuck in monkey mode, refuse them access to your delicious branch.
I recently heard of a couple who met and married in their late seventies, professing having found the great loves of their lives! How fabulous is that? They met through mutual friends.
When a good friend asked her father, who had been a philanderer most of his life, what happened to ageing womanisers, he responded with a gracious flush, “they just get tired.”
Desperation begets desperados. Be careful, the struggle is real, chuckle, eyes wide shut, (autocorrect chose an ‘i’ instead of the ‘u,’ and that really made me laugh out loud)!
I recently caught up with a divorced friend who now lives not far from me, and it was invigorating catching up on her news. She met a man through mutual friends whom she respects and loves, who treats her as she should be treated, with consideration, love, and respect. Widowed some years earlier, he was honest enough to tell her he was not ready to move on, but he liked her as a friend. He’d focused on his family and friends after the death of his beloved wife, not looking for a woman as he knew he had to work through his loss in his own time before lumbering a new partner with baggage.
My lovely friend admitted she would be happy to be friends with him as she enjoyed his company but as she was ready for love, she was not interested in playing second fiddle to a spouse now possibly canonised in death, therefore she would be open to meeting new people, whilst having a purely platonic relationship with him.
This man was not cashing in on sympathy as he’d been in private, quiet mourning for several years. However, he thought about their conversation, and very soon afterwards asked her on a proper date as he realised he was indeed ready to move on and who better to join him on his new journey than a lovely, intelligent, authentic, independent, strong, stimulating woman! Give that man a Bells – now just behave, spellcheck. It’s Bells! I’ll have mine on the rocks, cheers.
Our grief, says a psychologist friend, is mostly for ourselves when we lose a loved one through divorce or death. Of course, we are allowed to a large degree to indulge in self-pity after such a loss. We are human.
Choosing life comes up trumps. Here, I have found, after many conversations with folks close to me suffering the loss of a beloved partner, therapy worked for them, and pursuing a new interest, something that is uniquely their own and was not shared with their dearly departed, could be a good start. This makes sense. It’s a positive step forward. It’s the first step to a new life.
As with nature, we should be sensitive to people. If we could be taught to look and truly see, we are ahead of the game of life. Embracing all the layers of our existence, of ourselves, the world, and those we love, is a precious gift.
Savour every moment, even the bitter times, as it won’t last if we recognise it as just another moment in time, before the good stuff rolls in… not necessarily on a white stallion, as some horses are just high maintenance! As for careless whispers, that is just what they are, careless. Just because we were given a rib to exist does not mean we should be disrespected by the doners.
So, again, cheers to the good guys! We see you. As for the mature, fabulous women out there hoping to find love? YOU are enough. What will be, will be, as Doris Day sang… just LIVE!
Tio Tapas in Mornington
The Zucchini and Cauliflower Fritters served with pebre salsa, and Lamb Cutlets chargrilled with rosemary, garlic, served with pebre & yoghurt salsa, were delicious. I’ll be back for more!
Pictured above, lamb cutlets at Tio Tapas in Mornington.
Vaporetto Venetian Bar and Eatery in Hawthorne
The Aperol Spritz complemented the Spaghetti Vongole perfectly, and the Vanilla Gelato with Frangelico and Espresso proved a worthy, hedonistic finale. Authentic, delightful, delicious cuisine, and superb service.
My friends loved their Risotto ai Porri, Carnaroli Rice with Baby Leeks, accompanied by white vermouth, shiitake mushrooms, lemon mascarpone, parmesan cheese and fried garlic. Delicioso!
Pictured above, delectable dining at Vaporetto Venetian Bar and Eatery in Hawthorne.
Waves on Frankston Beach
This has to be my favourite eatery within a 15 minute drive of home. My most recent visit with good friends did not disappoint.
The Eye Steak, which I ordered medium, was perfectly pink and tender, served on bacon mash potato, roasted green beans and baby carrots.
Friendly, professional service, delicious food, affordable French bubbles, and if it was any closer to the beach, we’d get our feet wet!
The golden fried Calamari, Salmon and King Prawns with bok choi and wild mushrooms, Grilled Barramundi, Seafood pasta, and tender Lamb Cutlets on my next visit, when we shared these dishes, were scrumptious. Working my way through the new menu… no struggle!
Pictured above, dining with a view at Waves in Frankston, with Melbourne on the horizon.
Crackerjacks on Seaford Beach
Family-friendly and with a dreamy sea view, this remains a great spot to meet family and friends. Sitting outside on a mild autumn day, looking at the bay and taking a beach stroll afterwards, when the pixies got busy with sandcastles and exhausting their new puppy, proved another memorable visit.
My substantial Steak Sandwich, shared, with golden fries, green salad, and Fried Prawn starters, was tender and tasty. The kids finished their Kids’ menu chicken nuggets with chips, and another steak sandwich to share without being prompted to eat their food.
Pictured above, Crackerjacks overlooks Seaford Beach.
Women Who Made History on Prime Video: Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, and plenty more to come. I thought these brief lessons in history were most entertaining. Working my way through the ages…
Obsession on Netflix, based on the book Damage – a good date night watch if you fancy each other. Bruising, though. Remember Jeremy Irons in the movie Damage years ago? This is the same story.
Ticket to Paradise on Netflix – easy to watch, with George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Great location, plenty giggles.
Good Luck to you Leo Grande on Prime Video, starring Emma Thompson. Provocative and insightful. A great watch for men and women. Go, Leo!
Mark Felts on SBS On Demand, starring Liam Neeson and Diane Lane. Riveting story about the Watergate scandal.
Apple TV has captured my night-time viewing. Two series I’m currently watching, with major stars delivering stellar performances, are:
The Last Thing He Told Me, starring the captivating Jennifer Garner and superb Aussie actress Angourie Rice, and always easy on the eye Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, has me begging for the next episode…
Morning Wars, about the Morning Show, should come with a warning: addictive! Starring Reese Witherspoon, (who also produces the series), Jennifer Aniston, Billy Crudup, Steve Carrell, and Julianna Margulies. I’m on Season 2 now and the storyline, chemistry, and direction make for compulsive bingeing.
Brilliant, as it deals with a topic that has been rife in the workplace for so long, and brought to attention by the Me Too movement.
I like how the topic is reflected in the series and yes, whilst too many sexual predators in power in the workplace made our lives a living hell at times, I believe it is also fair to say some women saw an opportunity to further their status by sleeping with men in power.
Tau in winter
Tau, meaning the place of the lion, continues to live up to its native origins in the eco-friendly Madikwe Reserve of South Africa, which borders Botswana.
The Tau rangers offer a heartfelt passion for the bush, its diverse creatures, and the healing powers of the indigenous flora.
Get involved with the tracking of the magnificent Mahiwa male lions, who cut a dashing sight in the savannah. Or perhaps cheetah is your preferred big cat. No, you’d prefer to see the illusive leopard? This is where the big cat action is in perpetual motion for an unforgettable safari…
Just over an easy four-hour drive from the bustling cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg, Tau Game Lodge offers understated five-star luxe accommodation, wholesome cuisine, a bijou spa overlooking the bush, and vistas of game, from the Big Five to the smallest creatures as well as magical birdlife at the waterhole, which is surrounded by the lodge.
It’s happy hour at the Tau waterhole 24/7, from elephants and predatorial cats causing trouble to reflect the pecking order of the wild, to those crafty crocodiles, seemingly lazy but never too dozy to spot a dining opportunity.
This is also a magical time in the bush, when hot toddies, and much conviviality abound on safari drives and in the snug hospitality areas of the lodge.
Pictured above, romance and locals at Tau, the place of the lion.
Winter 2023 rates start from R5,810 per person per night, including 3 meals daily and 2 safaris daily.
The highly addictive Tau live webcam is pure armchair heaven at: http://taugamelodge.co.za/main-lodge/live-webcam/
See more at: www.taugamelodge.co.za
Style at any age
Classics never die, they simply go for a well-deserved break in our trunk, or, in my case, my Pandora’s Suitcases, until they are back in style, with a new lease on life.
Seasons change, fashions change, but ageless style works for me. I recall spending my first pay check on a flared Italian knitted midi skirt and matching cable-knit belted cardigan, in rich cream. I wore these items for some twenty years.
Slow fashion, ageless style, call it what you like but choosing quality fabrics and garments for longevity and versatility will always be a priority for me. As for saving “the best” for “special,” forget that! Life is short. Wear your best, use your best linen, tableware and towels. Life is short!
Pictured above: Mixing and matching quality garments and textures, styling one item in different ways for versatility, make for timeless style. Updating an older pair of pants or skirt with the season’s latest accessories, creates further longevity. Some items featured above have celebrated over 20 years in my closet. Any new item is acquired only after I’ve listed the many ways in which it could serve my existing wardrobe. Labels providing me with garments to feature periodically are featured on IG @Sixty_is_the_new_40 daily.
Cheers to the good life, we deserve it. Happy autumn or spring, wherever you are, and thanks so much for reading this far! Your feedback is always welcome!
2 thoughts on “We’re Enough”
You are More gorgeous than ever and it gets better every time I look at you!! You cannot teach this kind of thing, you either have it or you don’t!! Much love darling Tilly Joycexxxxx
Thank you my beautiful, amazing icon. Love you forever xox