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Granny Does It

Granny does it. Of course she does! By the same token, she eats, sleeps, uses the bathroom, and exists in many of the same ways as do members of younger generations. What’s more, Granny deigns to sing, to cook, to walk, to connect with friends, and, apart from that, toenjoy a full life.

Is the aforementioned riotous? Not really. Intimacy is as much a part of being human as is getting a good night’s sleep or as having a nourishing breakfast. Despite the fact that bodily functions decline in the golden years, connecting with one’s partner is as vital to an octogenarian as it is to a twenty-something. In a comparable manner, Granny enjoys her sunny side ups as much as do her grandkids, and, sometimes, can hike faster up hills than can they.

At the same time as toing and froing behind closed doors ought to remain private, a discussion of mature people’s tender moments belongs in the public domain. More exactly, we need to change our outlook on elders’ vitality. It’s insufficient to grant Granny ongoing culinary skills or enduring interest in exercising. We need to see her as a permanently sexual being, as well.

Too many of us spurn our own and others’ senescent bodies. We disempower ourselves when we integrate media hype about pensioner physiques into our belief systems. We dishonor ourselves every time that we accept fabrications about aging, specifically, or embrace inaccurate communications or elsewise erroneously kowtow to establishment doctrines, in general. We would benefit from pausing before we regard normal activities as unseemly for OAPs. Experience, over anyone’s lifetime, is complex, often incalculable.

Nonetheless, we elect to continue to live in a circumscribed way, viz., to attach ourselves to cultural myths that fail to serve us. That is, over and again, we fail to deconstruct stereotypes because we find it convenient to avoid critical thinking. Sometimes, we’re mixed-up about why we structure reality in the sense that we do. Other times, we’re perplexed by the idealized models that we’ve come to rely upon to determine people’s correctness.

See, our words generate worlds, which, in turn, are, occasionally, mere iterations of previous realms, or of  new, morally bankrupt ones. Either way, those spheres of influence, especially those built from notions that have been handed around, keep us conceptually shrink-wrapped. Our concerns with utility, i.e., the extent of language’s situational pertinence, and with parsimony, i.e., the extent of language’s fit to a given mode of judgment, impact how we receive and weigh viewpoints. For example, if a popular magazine, TV program or website claims that retirees ought to live less than fully, unless we bother to participate in objective analysis and evaluation, we agree.

It’s easier for us to scroll, click to a fresh URL, or listen to one more station, than to consider that the distinctions among representations, as they are defined by the media’s bracketing, are consciously created to shepherd our goings-on, while dissimilarly created rankings might be less manipulative. Really, it’s blockheaded of us to abide by Machiavellian social tenets. Yet, most of the time, we’d sooner nod at or even ignore bytes designed to get us to buy laxatives, blue pills, or other “geriatric sex aids” than question why the content in which those ads are embedded frames oldsters as impotent, ill, or otherwise unable to take part in/disinterested in physical affection.

As long as our society remains composed of people who are incapable of dodging or who are disinclined to sidestep hampering mindsets, we will suffer from woes such as multiple elections within short spans of years, demographically-based prejudice against our brothers, thievery by our vendors of goods and services, and more. After all, collectives that derive their ethics from peripheral agents have trouble addressing their constituents’ needs. The problem of our obstructed principles is not a problem of how we arbitrate the conduct of particular individuals. Mull over the verity that the lads and lasses who dismiss Granny’s cloistered time as being limited by physical dysfunction are the folks who disdain poverty as “laziness” and who downgrade leadership to “command” (rather than to “vision”).

That we bungle our portrayals of Granny’s love life is less worrisome than is the sway we clinch, across age groups, that frames commercial assertions as our rightful guides. Our weak bits are not Granny’s or Grandpop’s flagging primary or secondary sexual characteristics, but our overall flabby visualization, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of the ideas offered to us.

There’s no need to evoke conspiracies to emphasize this weakness. Polling results, the contemporary power of “influencers,” and our propensity to consume pricy, unhealthy comestibles all underscore how compromised our lack of stocktaking has made us. Truly, it’s immaterial to our civilization’s welfare whether or not any gray haired pair engages in coitus. What matters is why we hold certain beliefs about senior sex and, moreso, why we don’t question our “popular” perceptions.

If Granny does it, fine. If not, it’s her business. What we need is to allow for the idea that she might and to advance other “far-reaching” ways of thinking.

About the Author
KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words for an awfully long time. Initially a rhetoric professor and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar, she shed her academic laurels to romp around with a prickle of imaginary hedgehogs. Thereafter, her writing has been nominated once for The Best of the Net in poetry, three times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for poetry, once for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for fiction, once for the Million Writers Award for fiction, and once for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. To boot, Hannah’s had more than forty books published and has served as an editor for several literary journals.
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