What follows here are two parallel stories that are meant to be compared and discussed. The first one is about an older man who temporarily reunites with a younger and very attractive, but manipulative woman with whom he was once romantically involved. The second story, following it, has the exact same wording, and describes the exact same events, but the roles of the man and the woman are reversed, so that in the second story it is the woman who is older, financially secure, while it is the man who is younger and very attractive & manipulative. The point of presenting these two stories side by side is to precipitate a discussion that will, among other things, possibly shed light on thoughts (prejudices?) that most all of us have but don't know we have, as regards men and women and their respective and culturally assigned roles, their associated bad habits, and their often-granted (and respective) privileges in life. It's also hoped that the two stories will prompt some reflection on the different kinds of love there are that exist between men and women, and also what the costs are, to any relationship, when one or more of the two people lack any real ability or willingness to even for a few minutes put themselves in the shoes of the other person.
First up, then, is the story in which the man is older and financially secure, and the woman is younger and more attractive financially insecure.
Following it, the same story but with the woman this time being older and financially secure, and the man being younger and more attractive but financially insecure.
One of the stories is based on real events, as perceived by one of the two people involved. Only the names, certain circumstances within the story, and the locations in the stories have been changed, to protect the identities of the two individuals.
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Robert looked very good for 66. He walked a couple of miles every day at a pretty good clip to keep in shape, and ate plenty of salads, and very little meat or dairy. His parents had both worked hard and saved a remarkable amount of money. So when they passed on, they left him a pretty penny, which he had invested wisely. Well, fairly wisely. Unfortunately the apartment building he had invested in had lost value in the recession and needed plenty of repairs. But he still had his social security check, and the apartment building did yield at least a few hundred extra most every month, and sometimes a thousand or two or three, after all the expenses were paid for the month.
The problem in his life was not money, really, because he was not that fond of material things. His politics, art, conversation and thoughts were of much greater importance to him. Plus he had a great reverence for nature and loved to commune with it. It took the place of religion.
His problems were with women, and right now it was with one woman in particular. Wanda was only 51 and he'd always been quite fond of her. They certainly didn't have everything in common, but they did share a few very basic things: they laughed at many of the same jokes, liked a lot of the same music, enjoyed the same kind of food, and both loved nature and the outdoors. And perhaps most important of all, they had had, for a few years at least, a great sex life. He loved the way she made love with him. No one else compared. Wanda was very nice looking, had a beautiful body, and knew exactly what to do in bed, to make him feel as no one else could.