Dirty Old Man?

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I’m not going to succumb to the grandiose new year contemplations on life, the future and our place in the great scheme of things which one might expect at the new year. Instead my thoughts have been rambling through the ramifications, if any, of reaching my sixties.

There is a cliché that, as we grow older, we feel the same inside but just look different on the outside. If that is true for many people then I have to assume that they have developed no philosophies, that they have never tried to fathom what their priorities are, that they have not tried to evolve in a way which minimises stupidity, selfishness and pointless fucking about.

From my late twenties onwards I have thought, worked, philosophised, revised my views constantly and I have continued, I hope, to evolve. I haven’t seen myself in a mirror since I was around 30 so I’ve been lucky not to see myself growing older and perhaps assuming that I was also growing wiser. I had to work at it and I stil have to work at it. The face I remember is young, a bit devilish, full of over-assured over-confident swagger. That’s the image I’m trying to improve upon every day. I don’t know if it’s working but it still feels like the right way to travel. I still rarely plan; I still insure nothing whatsoever; I still look forward with a smile to a future with untold possibilities but I have long since lost the sense of my own importance in the scheme of things.

There is, however, one troubling matter. Sex appeal. I reckon until you are around 40 years old then any adult in which you are interested is both appropriate and realistic as an aspiration. Recently, however, I attended an awayday seminar and caught myself feeling something strong and a bit new. One of the directors, a man a few years younger than I, had come down to stay overnight with his new PA. She was a lovely girl of around 24 I guess. In the hotel bar around 11pm there was the director, pretty sloshed, arm around his PA and positively drooling. My immediate and unheralded thought was ‘You dirty old man, this sucks’.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I like women, I like being with them, I like them to like me. I don’t see them as any particular age – see above – some of them are very realised at 24, some are still not out of nappies at 50 plus. But I have decided to be careful with how I deal with younger women now. I recently spent an afternoon with a truly lovely girl of 32. A musician and friend. ‘Rob you are looking very sexy lately you know?’ Alarm bells started ringing. I needed to get to the bottom of this. ‘In what way do you mean?’ ‘Well, in a sort of Steve Mcqueen kind of way I mean.’ ‘That’ll do nicely’ I thought….’Ok Millar think fast here. Lovely young girls say this kind of thing to you quite a lot don’t they?’

It’s because they can. It’s because they feel safe with me. It’s because – important this – they ARE safe with me. They would not talk to a man of 30 like this, whatever they felt…but imagine if I were to make a move on them…I think about my parent’s friends when I was a teenager. I imagine an uncle or a neighbour in his fifties or sixties making a lunge at one of my sisters or trying for a snog in the kitchen at Christmas…..aaarrrggghhh! say no more.

So my one tiny pearl of wisdom is directed at young women and old men. Young women, just remember that when you tell an old guy he’s as cool as Robert de Niro he probably thinks you are moist with desire for him. Old men, whatever happens, button it up, keep calm and whatever you do don’t think you are turning on the girl when you turn on the charm.

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