Before you call me a dirty old man, let me relate the whole story to you. It was 2003 and I was living in the UK, where I was born. I have been around a little, having lived in the UK, France, Bahamas, Jamaica, Canada, Colombia and a few other places.
At the good old age of sixty nine, life was a little boring. I lived in Sheffield with my sister and her husband in a house left to us my my mother. I believe that she paid about 30,000 pounds for the house in the forties. Before the housing price collapse, this same house was valued at about 300,000 pounds. I was still working, selling PVC windows and doors on commission and doing OK financially. Not rich but I was able to support myself. I drove my old BMW around and followed a few of my interests like gardening, writing, photography and computers. Unfortunately I had to give up my two favourite hobbies, that of flying and motor racing. Apart from anything else, my hearing was going down the drain. Health wise I was in pretty good shape. Ten years earlier I did have bypass surgery for blocked arteries but made a complete recovery and also changed my eating habits constructively in order to prevent a re-occurrence. I kept my mind in good shape by solving the most difficult crosswords and sukodus.
The one thing missing in my life was someone to love and to love me. Of course during my life I had had numerous affairs. I lived with a Colombian girl for twelve years and have a daughter who is in her twenties and with whom I am very close. On the other hand, I had never had any desire to actually tie the knot. Now, I thought, it’s too late to even think about that. I did have a couple of female friends in their fifties with whom I associated and occasionally slept with but there was no real love there.
Surfing around the internet, I struck up a friendship with a young man called Ali from Indonesia. I had to get out the atlas to find out exactly where that was. We often discussed the differences in our cultures, he being a practicing Muslim and me being born Jewish but now a staunch Atheist. This did not affect our friendship and Ali kept on inviting me down there to visit him. He was always asking me why I wasn’t married and I tried to explain to him that I was really too old to think about that. He consistently mentioned that the girls in his town were not that interested in a man’s age and in fact preferred older men as they were more faithful and reliable.
Well the time came when I was particularly bored and Ali invited me once again. This time I said “Let’s do it!” The next day I booked a flight to Jakarta from Manchester airport and I was on my way.
A direct flight would have cost me thousands of pounds, so I elected to travel via Dubai. There was a long stopover there but I was saving a pile so just put up with it. The airline that I was flying was Emirates and I was very impressed with the service.
I lost count of the hours but finally arrived in Jakarta. As I entered the reception hall, the first thing that I noticed was that everyone had a big, beaming smile. Even the Immigration officer and the Customs inspector, who just took the form that I had filled out without reading it and just waved me through. Definitely not like entering the USA where I was often treated like a suspected mass murderer!
Ali had offered to meet the flight but that would have meant him travelling hundreds of kilometers. As I was a seasoned traveller I felt that I would have no difficulty, in spite of not speaking one word of Indonesian.
After I left the reception area and entered the airport I was really surprised that many more people smiled an waved at me, like they knew me. In the UK I would walk for miles and be totally ignored. I was beginning to like Indonesia already!
From Jakarta a took a one and a half hour flight to Surabaya where Ali met me. From there we drove for almost three hours to his house in Problinggo. By this time I had been travelling for thirty six house without any sleep. I have never been able to sleep on airplanes, probably because I am an ex-pilot and always wonder what is going on in the cockpit. Something like a car driver who hates to be driven by someone else! So I slept at Ali’s place for a few hours until I felt refreshed and not suffering from jet lag.
Probolinggo is a small town located in East Java. There is only one main street and very few traffic lights. Most of the residents live in villages and are generally poor. Because of this, the prices of most things are extremely low. Many families exist on less than one hundred dollars per month.
Ali took me downtown and we did a tour of the local stores. What really amazed me was that many young, beautiful store girls approached us and asked Ali where I was from and even asked him to bring me to their houses to visit. Ali explained that they very rarely see anyone from the West and are really attracted to them. He told me that I could probably marry many of the young girls who I had met. I couldn’t believe it. “If that’s the case,” I said to him. “Why don’t we start a website introducing Indonesian girls to Western men? I’ll design it and you find the girls.” Ali thought that that was a great idea so over the next few days he took me to photograph many beautiful girls who he said would love to marry Westerners. During these excursions, I received several offers of marriage…I was in shock! Ali told me that most of the girls estimated my age as below 50…I wish!
On the third day of my visit I was taken to meet a young lady called Yuyun. I didn’t think that she was ravishingly beautiful but she was very sexy looking. She was 20 years old and didn’t speak one word of English. I led her out of her house into the garden to take some photos of her and, as we were walking, she took my hand. I felt a little pulse of excitement but assumed that she was just being friendly.
After about thirty minutes we returned to the house and said our farewells. I had almost forgotten about it three days later as Ali and I were driving around. He received a call on his cell phone and turned to me. “That was Yuyun.” he said. “She wants to know why you haven’t called her and she wants you to take her up in the mountain tomorrow.” I was somewhat taken aback but I certainly wasn’t going to say no.
The next morning, Ali duly drove us up into the hills and arranged to pick us up in the late afternoon. I was armed with an electronic translator, pen and paper. In spite of the lack of language we managed to communicate really well and I found that Yuyun and I had a similar sense of humour. We spent most of the day laughing together. We had so much fun that we arranged to meet the next day…and the next…and the next. Ended up that we spent every day together until it was time for me to return to the UK. We had become really close friends and that’s all that I expected. Eventually we met to say our farewells. “I really hate to leave you,” I told her. “I wish that I could stay with you forever.”
“Well,” she replied. “Why don’t you marry me?
“Are you crazy?” I said. “I’m old enough to be your grandfather.”
“I don’t care,” she answered. “I love you.”
Now I REALLY was in shock. I had to leave the next day as my ticket was unchangeable so I had to make some very fast decisions. There was no doubt that in my mind Yuyun was the most fabulous person that I had ever met but I would be marrying a child almost. I wondered how many more years I would have in this world. My father, who kept himself in fantastic shape and was a champion boxer in his day, died from mital stenosis at sixty two. He did have rhematic fever at an early age which the doctors claimed brought on his problem. Maybe I would inherit my grandparents genes? Grandmother was run over by a bus at ninety two and grandfather killed himself on the motorbike at eighty five! Then there was the possibility of children. Although my performance was obviously not as good as it used to be, I was still able to have sex. It would be unfair to leave Yuyun with a young child.
We got together with Ali and discussed these and other points but Yuyun still insisted that she wanted to marry me. We talked to her parents and they had no objections. “OK.” I said finally. “I know I must be crazy but I am not going to give up this last chance of happiness that I have.”
I told Yuyun that I would settle up all my affairs in the UK and return in three months and set up house with her. I had been looking at houses with Ali a few days before so left him some money to pay as deposit on one.
All the way home I kept wondering if I had done the right thing. Every middle aged man has fantasies of making it with a young girl and here I was, about to make a life of fantasy into real life. As soon as I arrived home I called my daughter in the USA.
“Hi Baby,” I greeted her. “I’m going to get married.”
“That’s great Daddy, she replied. “Whatever makes you happy makes me happy.”
“There’s just one thing,” I continued hesitatingly. “She is two years younger than you.”
There was a short silence. “Oh…Really? Well I’ll have to send you a wedding gift…How about a baby seat for the car?”
I explained that we were not yet planning to have children.
“It’s not for a child, it’s for your new wife” she giggled
“Very funny!” I said.
I should mention that the two of them have now met and are really good friends. Once while we were out together someone asked my daughter if Yuyun was her sister. “Don’t be silly,” she said jokingly. “That’s my mother.”
Well, after just a week in the UK I missed Yuyun so much I asked my sister to just dispose of my car and everything and booked the next flight back to Indonesia. When I arrived there, we started making the wedding arrangements. Yuyun took me to many of her friends and relatives to introduce me and I received a fantastic reception. Nobody made any remarks about the age difference in fact a few of her friends told her that they wish that they could find a nice husband like me. The arrangements were completed in three days and we were married. The reception was small, about fifty people and lasted into the night. After that, we went to our new house which Ali had furnished for us and started our life together.
To tell you the truth, the age difference has not really entered our minds. We are totally in love and, at the time of this writing have been together for six years. We are still like a coupe of teens, hugging and kissing all day. We always hold hands wherever we go and we are constantly saying how much we love each other. Personally I don’t feel old except when I look in the mirror or have my photo taken. As of this writing, we have been together for six years. To date, we have never had a fight or even an argument even though we spend all day together. Actually we hate to be separated even for a hour and never get bored with each other. Yuyun wakes up with a smile which stays with her all day long. I can wake her up in the middle of the night, take her out on the motorbike in heavy rain and she will still be laughing and giggling…even during the couple of times that we have slid off the bike into the mud.
I started a fish farm here so that after my demise, Yuyun can decide whether to remain here and be assured that she has a living income, or to go to the US and live with my daughter who would be happy to have her. Everything here is under her name so that she will not have any legal problems.
While I certainly am not recommending that someone my age follow in my footsteps, I know now that I made the right decision. I could never have met anyone like Yuyun in the UK.If I die tomorrow, it will have been well worth it.