Magazine article The Spectator

Amorous Intentions

Magazine article The Spectator

Amorous Intentions

Article excerpt

No life

We'd been standing in the queue at the supermarket checkout for what had seemed like a very long time. A three-toed sloth on Mogadon would have been quicker at locating the bar codes than the young trainee at the till. My heart went out to the lad. Born and raised to maturity by loving parents, and given just enough education to enable him to read advertisements and final reminders, here, on his first day at work, was the 21st-- century equivalent of the mill-hand.

There was a newspaper rack nearby. The headline on the front page of the local paper, I noticed, was: 95-YEAR-OLD MAN RAPES 99-YEAR-OLD WOMAN. Returning to the queue with a copy, I read out the report to my ex-girlfriend's mother to pass the time.

Rapist and victim lived at a residential home for the elderly. The man, who has Alzheimer's disease, was currently being held in the psychiatric wing of the local hospital. The woman was in a state of shock but said to be comfortable. Had she heard of the' residential home, I asked my ex-girlfriend's mother? She had, she said. Her father was in there. In fact, it was her father who had been detained. Could I lend her 50p or something for the phone?

I live in a residential home for the elderly as well. Apart from myself, there are only two other residents now: a gentleman of 91 and a lady of 103. The lady of 103, whose mind is still as clear as a bell, remembers marching around the nursery and banging a toy drum in celebration of the Relief of Ladysmith. She is a spinster, and the gentleman a fastidious bachelor, so I should be very a if it came to light that one had been forcing themselves on the other in the night. But in the past, when we were full, amorous octogenarians have been something of a problem.

Not that there's anything wrong with residents of old people's homes having a cuddie, of course. If they were in their right minds we would have stood back and cheered. But with those who are suffering from Alzheimer's disease - which, they tell us, affects one in three of those who make it past 60 - there is the complication that their appetite for sex is a peculiar manifestation of their illness rather than the result of a direct hit by Cupid's arrow. And in cases where the lady or gentleman resident has previously led a blameless and upright life, priapism or nymphomania in old age is particularly grotesque, not to mention upsetting to the children. …

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