"The Ethicist" is Randy Cohen's long-running advice column in the New York Times. Each week, Gabriel Delahaye's "The Unethicist" will answer the same questions as "The Ethicist," with obvious differences.

This week old people act old, which is gross, if you're young and narcissistic and afraid of death, which you so totally are.

My wife of 30 years and I are in our 60s. A few years ago she asked that we no longer engage in sex. "It's not such a big deal anymore," she said. She would not see a doctor or consider other help. I began an affair with a widow. Recently my wife found out and went ballistic. If she can casually renounce sex, can't I seek it elsewhere? — name withheld, Massachusetts

This is the grossest question I have ever had to consider, much less answer.


God. Seriously. I want to help, but your dusty balls and your wife's withered vagina keep getting in the way. I can't do this.


Okay, while I have no idea why your superhot, almost underage wife would want to stop having sex when young people are so hot having sex and not old and gross at all, but that is the situation you are in, young man. And the answer to your question is: yes. Obviously, by getting married, she knew that if she didn't put out, you were going to "dip your wick" somewhere else, that is the agreement you made under the eyes of God. It's also appropriate that you did not tell her. Wives, even superhot teenage babes, should never ask questions.

UPDATE: The couple has settled into an uneasy routine of don't ask, don't tell.

Nice. I could not have advised a better course of action.

When a friend and I went to the movies, I requested two senior tickets although I knew we were both too young to qualify at that theater. My husband says I misrepresented myself as a senior and acted unethically. I believe it's up to the cashier to ask for proof of age, which I'm happy to provide. Who is right? — Gaby Roughneen, Bedford, Nova Scotia

The only thing more boring than old people are people right on the cusp of being old. At least old people have settled into their bizarre eccentricities and comfortable Sears clothing. People on the verge of being old still get excited about shit like pity-discounts, not realizing that it's the world's way of saying "Sorry about how you're going to die soon. Hopefully the two dollars you saved on this purchase will help pay for all those prescription medications you're going to need."

Everyone worries about getting older in their own way. Some people seek out the plastic surgeon's knife, others accumulate material wealth or seek fame. I have no idea what homeless people do. They probably write their names in feces on very hard to reach pylons and tunnel walls. But we all get old, and we all die. That is the hard, inescapable truth of it.

Some of us just don't greedily embrace the reaper's scyth for a two dollar discount at Jindabyne (or whatever David Edelstein reviewed on Fresh Air this week).

As for the lying, I have no problem with this.

Previously: Workers Of The World Unite, You Have Nothing To Lose But My Patience