Richard Brody memorializes French New Wave director Claude Chabrol, who died last Sunday:
Interviewed in Libération in 1995 about being in his sixties, he said, "Except for the fact that one fucks much less than at twentyexcept for that horrible detail, everything is better" ...
He was plus bourgeois que les bourgeois, but cavalier about it and unproud of it; he took his pleasures gleefully and without dissimulation, ostentation, or bien-pensant respect for the trappings of respectability, and he filmed the same way.
Woody Allen is even bleaker:
Q. How do you feel about the aging process?
A. Well, I’m against it. I think it has nothing to recommend it. You don’t gain any wisdom as the years go by. You fall apart, is what happens. People try and put a nice varnish on it, and say, well, you mellow. You come to understand life and accept things. But you’d trade all of that for being 35 again.
I’ve experienced that thing where you wake up in the middle of the night and you start to think about your own mortality and envision it, and it gives you a little shiver. That’s what happens to Anthony Hopkins at the beginning of the movie, and from then on in, he did not want to hear from his more realistic wife, “Oh, you can’t keep doing that you’re not young anymore.” Yes, she’s right, but nobody wants to hear that.
I do not want to abandon the notion of wisdom and age. And I think the decline of testosterone and the vibration on the train tracks of death can lead to a more dispassionate understanding of the world, and, perhaps, thereby, a greater and deeper relationship with God. Maybe that's what separates me from these men's views: faith. And the sense that less need for sex is some kind of relief, not a curse, however one misses the perpetual hardons of youth.
But it still requires adjustment. Just as it took me about a year or two to throw out the Rogaine and deal with being bald, so I've now thrown out the Just For Men on my beard.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.