Regrets in Life
I’m going through one of those really dry spells, but I’m hoping in my old age that I won’t have any regrets about the amount of shagging I’ve done in my lifetime.
The Sunday Times October 22, 2006
Regrets, they’ve had a few – mainly over not having more sex by Rod Liddle
As the hospital screens are drawn around you for one last time and the thin brigade of relatives begin their thin, dry, sobs and the nurse finally removes the drip from your arm to shove into some other poor sap three beds down — what will be your last mortal thought? Think of it, now. Death, with his big black wings, is hovering above your head, grinning like Jonathan Ross on receipt of his last BBC contract (except slightly less pleased with himself). You have just seconds to reflect upon your life before being dispatched to somewhere else: what, upon shuffling off this mortal coil, do you most regret? Well, apparently, seven out of 10 British pensioners regret not having shagged around more. That’s the thing that claws at them as the final twilight swiftly approaches. They will go to their graves regretting not that they failed to sign up to Charter 88, or never got around to adopting a little black child from Malawi, or forgot to video the final episode of Extras, or didn’t punch Peter Mandelson in the face when they saw him in the local branch of Waitrose: 70% of them wish, beyond all other considerations, that they’d had more sex. The men and the women.
This was a survey instigated by that most respected of social science institutions, the satellite channel UKTV Gold. So I suppose they may have added up the figures wrongly, what with having to run around scheduling all those repeats of Porridge, etc. But it has about it the horrible clang of truth, doesn’t it? It accords with the nasty Darwinian thesis that insists frankly, that’s why we’re here, perhaps the only reason — to propagate, regardless of the social norms preventing us, at times, from so doing. The second biggest regret of our pensioners, incidentally, is that they didn’t travel more — perhaps to experience strange foreign cultures, or perhaps to cop off with the holiday rep, the one with the blonde ponytail and retroussé nose. Another recent survey suggested that the main reason Brits went on holiday abroad was to favour Pilar, or Svetlana with their amorous attentions. So: their first regret is not having more sex, their second regret is not taking part in activities which lead to more sex.
The young people surveyed by UKTV Gold have not yet started to worry about sex, apparently. They think they’re doing all right in that direction; 80% are worried instead that they haven’t yet clambered aboard the property ladder, haven’t yet managed to put some money down on a two-bed in Woking so that, a few years hence, they can buy a three-bed in Bracknell and later maybe a four-bed in a gated development in Staines.
The young are riven by money worries, about the wealth they fear they may never have. The elderly, meanwhile, are tormented by the ghosts of the people they never slept with.