Today’s waking thought teleported me into the past. My family past to be precise.
My family were what you might call an old school lot. That is to say the values, behaviours and moral standards were such that Queen Victoria would have been at ease in their company.
The, Old fool comment and its first cousin, There is no fool like an old fool, I’ve heard what seems like countless times. It was a favourite verbal weapon of derision.
Whenever discussion turned to someone having done something that was considered foolish, they were generally described as, Stupid! Unless they were well liked, in which case it was, Ah, it can happen to anybody. What can you do?
Whenever the perpetrator happened to be an older person, however, it was, Old fool, or, There’s no fool like an old fool. It was said with malice and venomous verve. This was my grandmother’s personal favourite. She was fond of old-time sayings and quotes. Maybe I’ll write a handbook of them. Some were rough as anything but at the same time practical as anything too. And there are funny ones also. She may have been a Queen Victoria lookalike but she was also known to spin a good and at times funny yarn.
Back to the old fools and other pithy favourites however. The old fool was as I remember it reserved particularly for older men and women who had taken up with younger people. So going by that definition, every cougar and sugar daddy would have qualified for starters.
When I reflect on the values my family held, and grandmother was our family matriarch, this makes sense. According to their way of thinking couples went out and became romantically involved only because they were serious about one another and the union was going to lead to something Nice, you know, beautiful. So when an older man took up with a younger woman, that was never about anything real; he was an old fool and she was a gold digger and a … well, that description hasn’t changed throughout the ages; you can find it in the bible even.
Conversely, when an older woman took up with a younger man, she became the Old fool but he—he was, Smart. A double standard? Not according to those principles. Women were expected to know better.
Those were the times when different standards were applied to males and females. To give you an idea, grandmother had this saying; A man will not come home with a full stomach.
On the surface the above comment appears one sided, if not sexist. However, as far as that generation was concerned the saying was practical advice. They saw it as a man can go and play around all he likes, the worst thing he’ll come home with is an itch or a scratch which a shot of penicillin will fix. A woman on the other hand will be left to care for the little bundle of joy the stork brought in from heaven and dumped on her doorstep. And who was going to marry a single mother? A loose woman, a …
Sounds harsh, doesn’t it dear reader? One sided? But those were the times, and those were the stigmas.
The good old days.