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Getting Naked with Old People and Consulting Young People

Our topsy-turvy world

photo of woman holding tennis racquet
Photo by Roy Reyna on

I ran across two items about age in the past 24 hours.

The first is the story about the (previously) gorgeous Paulina Porizkova posting naked pictures of herself at age 55, with a post puzzling about why men wanted to see her naked at age 30 but not now.

She concludes that it's because men, biologically, want to procreate, so they gravitate toward the body type that evidences an ability to bear children, and the older woman's body isn't that type.

That's actually a pretty good conclusion, though it's not the entire story. There's also the uncomfortable fact that the body starts to break down as it prepares to leave this vale of tears and no one wants to bang a corpse (well, almost no one), so the closer you get to resembling one, the less attractive you are.

Both explanations, though, don't explain why she felt compelled to post naked pics of herself (though she actually looks good for her age). (I hasten to add that, though she is clearly naked, the, ahem, vitals are covered up.)

The second item comes from that Kaplan essay I linked to earlier today. In it, he writes:

"Having lived enough years in the past makes one humble, unsteady, aware of the imperfections of life and of fate, and therefore more immune to ideal solutions for society. To trust youth blindly, to see in youth the answer to our own sins and imperfections, may hold some appeal, but it is also dimwitted." Solzhenitsyn & the Engine of History, Robert D. Kaplan.

Young people, in short, don't have humility. They might have knowledge, they might be smart, they may even have insights and a measure of wisdom, but they don't have the humility pounded into them by a lifetime of screwing up.

We all recognize that falling and getting up makes us stronger and wiser, but in contemporary discussions, we seem to place a lot of value on what the young think. We shouldn't. They need a place at the discussion table since they're the ones who are going to pay the debts for our mistakes, plus they offer insights that will escape the notice of older people, but to let them control the discussion?


They simply haven't had enough time to fall and get up 10,000 times.

I want to hear what the young think about as much as I want to see a naked Paulina Porizkova. There are young people out there with good ideas, especially for their age, just as Ms. Porizkova looks good, especially for her age.

But as a general rule, the young should be as demure in their positions as Ms. Porizkova should be with her clothes.