Hot at 75
FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - June 30, 2019 - 12:00am

I, turning 75 soon, was walking around the room. My husband was lying in bed watching YouTube. He likes to watch shows that feature attractive women. This evening he was watching a young local girl, a recent model in a girlie magazine, talk proudly about her beautiful body, saying, “I still want to be hot at 40.”

I turned around to face this ignorant model. I said, “I still want to be hot at 75. If I’m alive at 90, I will still want to be hot.” These young people think they have the world panting at their feet. They think they’re the only ones who know how to have fun, how to be pretty, provocative, how to be hot. There is one very important lesson I learned from my mother who had Alzheimer’s and whose heart stopped beating one Sunday when she was 88. As you grow older you may lose your hearing, your eyesight, your ability to walk. But there is one thing that will die only when you die. That’s libido. You don’t know the meaning of the word? Look it up in the dictionary, punk.

I met my husband when I was 72. We were rehearsing for some event when the guy who was to hit the stage before me began to sing. He was going to talk about art in the workplace and would introduce his talk with a song. He had a beautiful voice. Suddenly I remembered that when I was 10 or 11 years old I had watched Carmen Soriano at her singing debut. I decided then and there that I wanted to age like her.

But life took over. I got married at 18 instead, became a housewife, had children, got separated and later annulled, and went to work. I worked and worked. I forgot about becoming a torch singer. But Oliver, the guy who sang, reminded me and I decided to take voice lessons at age 72.

That was the first step towards meeting my husband, who had been a widower for six years, and who loved to sing.  He had a singing group come over to his house at least once a week and I was dragged over there by a friend. We met. He is six years older than I. We had fun. In the end he asked me to marry him because, surprisingly, he stood at attention when he held me. That part that had been sleeping for years, even when other women tried to seduce him, almost saluted me. In other words, he found me hot. Now you know why I want to stay that way until we die.

Seniors or old people still want to have fun. We behave exactly like young people who are newlywed. We are still on our honeymoon. We also have our gangs of friends. About a year ago he brought me to his gathering of old poker friends. They like to have lunch at Vikings. They like to tease, fight, laugh among themselves. It was Eli’s birthday. I remembered I met them about a year ago. It was also Eli’s birthday. Eli and I love turkey with cranberry sauce. We celebrated at Vikings with Roger Jamora, Valy Hemedes, Jing Pascual, Ed Aquino and Eli Santos. As usual, I was the only girl.

My husband Loy has a full head of white hair. He is the ivory in our pair. I have almost a full head of black hair. That’s the ebony part. It’s fake, I know. I dye it with the shampoo dyes you buy off the rack at drugstores. Now the white part is burgundy. I could not resist the color. Dyeing my hair myself is one of my adventures these days.

What’s the difference between being young or old? Money! Now we have the money to spend on whatever we like. When we were young we didn’t have it. Now we don’t have to be anxious about paying our bills. We either have the money from pensions or sidelines, or from our friends, or from our children who love us. So life is easy. We don’t look like something the cat dragged in. We — my husband and I, anyway — are always fashionably dressed. I like to make my own jewelry and I can’t even wear everything I have because we don’t go out that much.

So I don’t want to hear young people say, “When I get old” and mean when they turn 40 or 50 or 60. Age is something older now. There was a time when people died at 40. Now they live beyond 90. We went to the 90th birthday party of Joe Magsaysay, an old friend from advertising. He was dancing the boogie most of the night. Being old — 75 and 81 — is the most wonderful time of our lives. I want all the young people to know that so they can look forward to getting old instead of viewing it as being comatose or dropping dead.

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