In the never-neverland between the incumbent’s departure and the swearing in of Biden and Harris, I put on a mask and stood in line for the coronavirus vaccine. At the appointed hour I got my jab of risky liberation. As a 25-year biotechnology professional, I was not thrilled at the prospect of taking an unapproved vaccine, only allowed by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization because of the current health crisis. But I was way less keen on living another year in a lockdown that sometimes feels like house arrest. I was determined to do my small part to fight the pandemic. And as the vaccine rolls out for the 65-plus crowd, I’ll bet many of you are making that same calculation.
That day, the twentieth of January, felt to many of us like a huge turning point, as a bizarre interlude in American history came to a close. The old order ended—kind of. The process of retraining my immune system to fight coronavirus began that day and will fine tune three weeks later courtesy of the second shot. The process of retraining the populace to distinguish lies from truth, reality from surreality, is just beginning.
Cleaning up the mess that rioters left in the United States Capitol was a tiny piece of the cleanup job left by the prior administration. That mess extends to every area of public life, from education to immigration, from social justice to climate change. And yet we gained hope on the twentieth of January; we saw a new start. The songs, the speeches, the executive orders, the change in control of the Executive and legislative branches, felt like opening a window in a fetid room.
Here in my little corner of the room, I’m enjoying that breeze while connecting the dots between the real lives of older women and the public perception. My new collection, The Erotic Pandemic Ball, is designed to entertain us as we wait to safely resume our full lives. In these stories about a locked down senior community, women entertain a variety of virus-resistant suitors including vampires, demons, and a time-traveling Madam. Billed as “The most fun you can have with a mask on,” one reader had this reaction:
“This is sex for the thinking person… you'll be plenty diverted by Fosse's clever ways of subverting Covid's pathetic attempt to keep sexy people apart!”
Please read it and enjoy.
Authors are made by reader reviews, it’s as simple as that. I’m always grateful for your honest thoughts about the work. If you would like a free review copy of The Erotic Pandemic Ball, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to send you an access code.
This book is the third in my Love in Lockdown series. If you want to start with a short sample, the first volume of the series is free: Her Poly Pod includes three stories to give a taste of what the Love in Lockdown series is all about. You can see details and links for all three books in the series below.
The last day of this month would have been my mother’s 95th birthday, and we are preparing a Celebration of Life for her that day. Looking at photos and writing her story helps me focus on the totality of her life and not just the last few months when the pandemic kept us apart. I am not alone. In the last ten months, many of the Boomer generation have lost parents they could not visit in person. For my mother and me, the telephone became our lifeline, a connection our grandparents did not have during the 1918 pandemic. My maternal grandmother was a telephone operator who lived through that pandemic, and I wonder whether she hoped that future generations living through lockdown would keep in touch that way.
After the strange twists and turns of 2020, I’ve gained some humility about predicting what the future holds. Perhaps you too are wondering whether this year’s Vision Board will be any more use than last year’s. Yet there is some value in claiming our wishes, regardless of the constraints under which we live right now. And there is value in imagining the future, regardless of how wrong we may turn out to be. Whether it comes to writing a book or living a life, it’s good to know where you think you’re going.
So here’s a plot twist to look out for: Will vaccinated 60+ year-olds be the new Cool Kids? Will we be part of a temporary social class of Haves, while our younger counterparts are, for the moment, the Have Nots? What a turn of events! A spokesperson for OKCupid recently told a New York Times reporter, “Getting the vaccine is the hottest thing you could be doing on a dating app right now.”
And a luxury travel service in London is booking members who are 65 or older to the United Arab Emirates to receive privately obtained vaccines. And then, get this: In the interval between the first and second jab, off they go to a desert safari. How glamorous.
What an odd little temporary fillip. “On OkCupid, those who indicate that they have already received the vaccine are being liked at double the rate of users who say that they are not interested in getting the vaccine,” says the New York Times.
Do I feel a writing prompt coming on? Anybody want to tackle the supreme panache of the older woman with a vaccination card?
And this leads directly to a new affliction: Vaccination Envy. As Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Smich puts it,
“The thought of getting a COVID-19 vaccine makes me impatient, greedy, needy. I yearn for a vaccine the way some people want a mansion or a Tesla or Michelle Obama’s dresses.”
So even those of use who have secured vaccination appointments should not lord it over our slightly younger and less fortunate brothers and sisters. We can be mature along with them and realize we are doing it for the greater good.
“Every shot in someone’s arm is a step closer to me and my family getting our lives back,” as a friend of Mary Smich wisely says. “This is another moment when our selfish country has to keep remembering the greater good, which ultimately helps us as individuals too.”
Good call. But meanwhile, I’m tempted to set this writing prompt:
The Vaccinated Cougar
Imagine that during this odd little bubble of time, you’re online, on a dating site and you post your completed vaccination card as your profile picture. And right away you begin to get those messages… what happens next?
Come, write along with me, the best is yet to be.
Have a marvelous February.
All best wishes for the year ahead.