I’ve long been an advocate of aging gracefully, and not continually trying to pretend that you’re younger than you actually are. Toupees and expensive replacement procedures for hair loss, coloring your gray hair, tummy tucks, and other similar things were just vain and futile attempts to continue to look young, rather than gracefully accepting the fact that you were older.
And so, when Viagra first went on the market almost 20 years ago, I thought, “Here we go again.” I thought it was about 60-something men not wanting to admit that they were no longer 20-something. I figured that things naturally tapered off with time, and so what if you couldn’t do it three times in one night anymore? Can you do it three times in a week? Can you do it once a week? Can you remember a time when you weren’t getting any at all?
With that in mind, Viagra seemed like a “vanity drug” to me. It was marketed to the vanity of people who just couldn’t bring themselves to accept the fact that things change with time.
And then I thought about my knees.
A lot of us start having knee problems as we get older, and a lot of us get knee replacements. Hip replacements too. I heard once that based on newer technologies, what was once the $6 Million Man is probably now the $12,000 Man.
But I have no problem with joint replacements. I don’t tell those people to just suck it up because it’s a part of aging. I don’t tell people with cataracts that the surgery to fix them is “vanity surgery.” I encourage them to get it, and tell them that from everything I’ve heard, it’s absolutely life-changing.
And then there are those hair issues. It took an episode of the TV show LA Law to teach me that hair color and hair replacement isn’t always an issue of vainly trying to pretend that you’re younger. Sometimes it’s just a matter of a style that you prefer. And what’s wrong with that?
But this got me thinking about Viagra again. If I wouldn’t tell my friends with failing joints and eyes that they should just suck it up because it’s a normal part of aging, why should I tell my friends with erectile problems that Viagra was a “vanity drug”, and they should just accept decreased performance as a simple fact of life.
And then there was something else that just blew me away. I read somewhere that it turns out that I was wrong about why men of a certain age were using the stuff. It wasn’t 60-something men who wanted to pretend that they were 20-something and do it three times a night. It was the partners of those men, who wanted them to be able to perform like they were 40-something again two or three times a week.
Not a vanity drug at all, but something you did for your partner. Wow.
Then, as I did a little more reading, I discovered something that hit extremely close to home. It’s also used by diabetics…did you hear that, diabetics, who have diabetic neuropathy that prevents the plumbing from working properly. Well, I guess this means that one of these days I’ll be looking at the little blue pills too…along with the cataract surgery I know is in my future.
But I’m not coloring my hair or getting a toupee.
I intend to age gracefully.