As an ‘old’ man (over 70), am I a dirty old man? Yes, of course. Not by being a pervert or flasher, but by finding young women attractive. I love my wife and wouldn’t cheat – but I look at young women lustfully.
Women of any age can be attractive – but young women are special. That’s the ‘dirty old man’ bit.
Lust is primal. Age tempers it – it becomes less visceral and more cerebral (and what chance of reciprocation would an old man have anyway?) but it remains present and incorrect.
The memorable phrase, ‘All men are rapists‘ (said by a character in the novel The Women’s Room by radical feminist Marilyn French) is a good starting point. If it’s true, what should we modern, civilised men do with that evolved predatory tendency?
First we should acknowledge it. After all we’re animals with monsters from the id. Then we should chose to live above it.
Most men are decent and don’t rape, but the tidal wave of testimony that followed Sarah’s death shows that many men and boys do rape and assault – and get away with it.
Those who wish to reject that brutality can acknowledge the lusftful impulse, admire the beauty, consciously reject any predatory urge and be prepared to protect women and girls.
So If I’m walking in the park, being alive and heterosexual I’ll discreetly admire young women jogging in skin-tight leggings. (Discreetly, because staring is intrusive. Marilyn French’s character goes on to say, ‘They rape us with their eyes’.)
But I’ll also be on the lookout for any predatory behaviour and be ready to intervene. Arthritis permitting. I’m a woke dirty old man.