I also like the poem because it flies in the face of “best before” dates (and yes, there is an abominable program on one of the networks Fine Living, maybe? that talks about a woman’s “best before” date. Which makes me both sad and angry) and reminds us that we all have value regardless of how old we are or what we look like.
Some otherwise-serious people actually believe in that sort of thing. Three years ago, John Derbyshire at NRO came up with this:
While I have no doubt that Ms. [Jennifer] Aniston is a paragon of charm, wit, and intelligence, she is also 36 years old. Even with the strenuous body-hardening exercise routines now compulsory for movie stars, at age 36 the forces of nature have won out over the view-worthiness of the unsupported female bust.
It is, in fact, a sad truth about human life that beyond our salad days, very few of us are interesting to look at in the buff. Added to that sadness is the very unfair truth that a woman’s salad days are shorter than a man’s really, in this precise context, only from about 15 to 20. The Nautilus and the treadmill can add a half decade or so, but by 36 the bloom is definitely off the rose.
You may be sure that I gave this at least a fraction of the scorn it deserved.