The first panel in the cartoon showed a choice of two red buttons. By the left button, the words “Kill Grandma” appeared. By the right button the words “Some Rich Assholes Become Slightly Less Rich.”
The second panel showed a young guy sweating away, trying to decide which button to push.
When Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick suggested in a March 23rd interview that many grandparents would sacrifice themselves to benefit the economy, he exemplified the ageism that characterizes the American response to the pandemic that transformed our lives. “If he wants to sacrifice himself, that’s one thing. If he wants to sacrifice others, that’s genocide,” as one Twitter user observed.
People of a certain age and people with disabilities have reacted with outrage and alarm to the idea that vulnerable populations may be at the wrong end of medical triage if the pandemic accelerates in the United States (this type of triage has already happened in Italy). Meanwhile pictures of young people flocking to beaches and Mardi Gras reinforced the idea that older people, who are more likely to be severely affected by the corona virus, are dispensable to our culture. After Mardi Gras, case numbers skyrocketed in Louisiana as carriers brought the disease home to people more likely to become seriously ill.
Many of us who are over sixty and see this as the prime of our lives were jolted by the realization that our immune systems are not what they were, despite how vivid our lives may be. It is a vastly different picture than when I wrote this newsletter a month ago, and given the slow health preparations in the United States, it is likely to be a very different picture again next month.
I turned in my finished screenplay for Brilliant Charming Bastard to Meryl Streep’s The Writers’ Lab on March 4, just four days before what was then the deadline (The regular deadline has now been extended to April 22, in case you have a script to submit). Then I started working on the novel version of the story. But day by day, as case numbers skyrocketed and our lives became more closed in, the premise of three older women discovering they were dating the same man took on an increasingly surreal quality. Hookup culture for the over sixties is suddenly obsolete. In fact, it is hard to think of a fictional story that could compete with the drama in the news. I feel bad for the folks judging screenplay submissions. Only post-apocalyptic scenarios seem relevant.
Where does this leave us, as sexy older women? As I wrote in my recent blog, research shows we are less likely to feel sexy when we are stressed and producing extra cortisol. On the other hand, the research also shows that being sexual causes us to make more sex hormones and less cortisol, which in turn lowers our stress levels. In other words, we can lower our stress levels by having sex. Other research shows that lowering our stress helps our immune systems to function, which is extra important for all of us now.
So while you are sheltering in place, in seclusion, in exile for the good of the realm, or whatever you choose to call the current lockdown, remember that erotic play (by yourself or with a quarantine partner) is actually good for your health [see the blog link, below]. And what is good for your health is good for public health. Our new slogan should be: Orgasm for the Good of the Realm.
Keep that in mind as you read my recent interview in CrunchyTales eZine. And keep that in mind as you turn back to your writing. Research has shown that writing, like sex, can help bring down our stress levels. We have more time to write now that we are not socializing or commuting, so this is the perfect time for your writing project. If you have trouble focusing, try some of the prompts in Aphrodite’s Pen, or sign up for my free one week writing course to keep you on track.
We know that as sexy older women we have value, and our writing continues to be a great way to remind ourselves of that.
Please take care of your precious self. Exercise at home every day.
Try turning on the radio and dancing by yourself.
Write every day.
Take time for sensuality each day.
Stay exiled for the good of the realm.
And an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away.
With all best wishes,