Last November, I turned 40.
It suddenly seemed the playground has shrunk and then some more. All that remained was this vision of a wooden bench in a park where tottering old fools lech at girls young enough to be their granddaughters. The image was so depressing I went into a sulk for the whole of the birthday month.
Was there no hope left in the world for 40 shades of grey and ticking?
The year 2016 began well. Rupert Murdoch announced his next acquisition: Jerry Hall, no less, and Kabir Bedi got his daughter very upset by taking in a new bride at 70. As Pooja Bedi lost her sanity over daddy's new wifey, there's hope, I thought, if you knew how to do it right. In came art writer Rosalyn D'Mello's first book: A Handbook for My Lover. D'Mello was 23 when she met PB, who was then 53, and the handbook is dedicated to this man, who she says "doesn't give a f**k". The whole book though is an ode to how they f**ked and fell in love and then f**ked some more.
Back in the day, when hippies embraced Hindustan with gaanja and hormonal overdrive, this sort of thing used to be cool. But in current "Holy Cow" days, unusual couplings can get you into very serious trouble. Then again, jab 69 kiya toh Sadhvi Prachi se darna kya. So ignore the saffron-coated culture keepers and pick up these play rules from D'Mello's ode to her older man.
1. The setting: It is okay to meet her online. On Facebook or Twitter. Through chat or direct message. But don't come across as a mangy dog in heat. Play it cool. Talk art to her, unless she keeps saying "anyways" and "lolz". Once you have had her attention, ask her out. But don't call it a "date".
Now comes the crucial part. Getting her where you want her. D'Mello describes her first encounter thus: "You pour me a glass of red wine; my poison. I slump into the sofa across from you... I stick to your eyes, steer clear of your lips. You prefer to look away."
Got what I'm saying? Look away! Don't keep ogling at what you so desperately crave. You are not 20 anymore! "We talk until we reach a pause. A gap. I'm unsure what to say next. So are you. So you leave me alone in the front room and walk into the bedroom. When you step back out, JJ Cale is singing the blues... Nice move."
See what I am saying!
2. The seduction: You know you have her and it is now only a matter of minutes. But hold on, old boy, let it simmer some more. "I can't tell if you're the hunter and I'm the prey, or if it's the other way around. You're new territory for me; your body seethes, your eyes are alive, aflame. I'm restless. I walk across the room. You follow me with your gaze... I'm drunk and I'm hungry and I want to make a feast of you." That is when you make your move.
3. The sex: Don't let your rickety bones get in the way of a good lay. Be the rogue you once were. Bring it on, Brosnan! "You leave me for a minute, walk to the bathroom to slip on a condom. When you return, you're naked, except for the condom. You hold two sets of newspapers in your hands.
"Times of India or Indian Express," you ask.
"Times of India. Thicker paper. Dispensable."
You lay a few centre spreads across the expensive linen that lines the bed and proceed to "f**k me."
4. The moaning after: Slam, nam, thank you, ma'am is so sexist and 1960s. Play the gentleman you aren't. Make her feel it wasn't about one night. Make her feel you value her beyond the blue bedspread. Let her know age has taught you to treat women as meaningful pursuits and not as disposable pleasures.
"One day later. Muggy evening. Intermittent drizzles. Our second encounter. Café Mondegar. Bombay. Your feet graze against mine under the table. The glutinous jukebox makes music of our coins... You spread regions of your life across the mug-ringed table. Your fingers serve as a compass, guiding me through twists and turns... 'I was surprised. I didn't expect it to lead to where it did,' you say. 'I find it hard to believe,' I reply in between sips of beer. 'Well, I'm not the young buck I used to be.'"
5. The critical cruelty: Once she has her taken off her guard, the "Real Slim Shady" can finally emerge. Don't be a sissy, be a strategist. Love is a good game to play when you know how to bend the rules. To make her hold on to you, show her the mean side. "You make a mockery of my tears. You are indifferent to my body's spill; in fact, you are frequently amazed and astounded by how you have reduced me to tears."
These simple tricks, among other unexplainable things, have kept D'Mello glued to her "Daddy Cool". Try them next time you fancy a pretty young 20-something. But here's the thing. Heard of the stock market term profit booking? It is nothing but encashing or realising the profit or gain in a share by selling it. Or simply, getting out while you are still ahead. If you have been successful with one, why stop? Dump one while it's still good and get on to the next one...