Why is it that we're so surprised when senior citizens talk like us? Sure, movies and TV shows from their era portray only G-rated language, and it's natural to assume we'll mellow out with age. But accumulating a lifetime of wisdom doesn't necessarily mean losing your sense of fun.
Just ask Brooklyn-born Lorraine Levine, 89, who may be on the verge of online stardom with her extremely NSFW videos, which have racked up 4,000 Vine loops and 5,000 YouTube views in a couple days. (Her neighbor, filmmaker Robert La Force, is behind the camera, hence the series' title "Ask My Neighbor Lorraine.") Here she is, describing losing her virginity, and again we emphasize NSFW, perhaps the only four letters Lorraine isn't familiar with:
We reached out for an interview and Lorraine replied immediately, "I suggest you get off your ass and do it very shortly, because I am almost 90 and I may not be here tomorrow." We expected a hilarious conversation -- and got it, edited for length below -- but she also offered plenty of genuine insight. Genuine, profanity-filled insight.
MTV: We were curious about your life leading up to all of these videos.
Lorraine Levine: You got a few years to hear it? It's a long life, kid. ... I don't worry about yesterday. Do you want to hear about my five husbands? I can tell stories that'll make your hair stand up. You'll laugh like hell.
I should've listened to that Greek lady -- when I wanted to divorce my first husband, she said, "Take a lover, don't divorce, because you'll marry the same guy five times." Like I did.
MTV: So you're saying we wind up in the same kind of relationship over and over, because we have a type?
Levine: It happens that way. You go out with a girl or a guy, whatever you do, and find you're very happy. After a few months -- or a year or two or eight -- it falls flat, because we all believe life is a 1940s movie, and life isn't that way.
That’s what I did, I married the same guy over and over again. I had five husbands and 35 lovers. ... If I was younger, I'd end up being a hooker -- don't laugh, I would, it's true! I might as well get paid for what I did for nothing. I did it for love.
MTV: Have you given up on love?
Levine: I'm looking for my [husband] number six! I'm going through the senior center -- don't laugh -- to find a man with a sense of humor and some intelligence. He's gotta be over 75 and under 100. He has to be good, smart, know what he's doing instead of moaning that he's getting older and not doing a goddamn thing.
MTV: How do you tell a "good" guy from a bad guy?
Levine: There's no good and bad; there's dumb and there's dumber, just like in the movie "Dumb & Dumber."
If you meet a man and you can have an intelligent conversation with him, you'll enjoy his company. I'm not looking for a guy to get laid -- I'm looking for a guy to go to movies, go to theater, intelligent enough to withstand me. I read a book a day, I'm so bored to death.
I gotta tell you one thing: Having a [man] who's a good lover and a great lay don't count for nothing; it's what you have afterwards, what you can talk about afterwards. Sex is a wonderful act, but it's no good if you're in it by yourself. You have to be in it with a guy or girl or whoever that makes you happy. ... Sex is a wonderful thing, but after that, what do you have to talk about? If you can’t talk about anything before, what are you going to talk about after?
MTV: Any other big takeaways you've learned from your relationships?
Levine: First of all, you've gotta be friends. If you're not friends, then nothing's gonna happen -- you're not gonna go to step two [without] step one. You have to have a sense of humor and laugh at life in general. The secret to life is to be around people who are going to make your day.
That’s the whole story in life -- if you can laugh at yourself and [with] the people around you, then you’re doing OK, but if you take it too seriously, you might as well take gas. Believe me, don’t take it seriously, you’ve gotta learn to laugh. That’s the best remedy for everything.
I went to a wedding a few years ago of two women in a church. ... I thought that was the greatest thing that ever came to our country. These women are together for 25 years -- the longest marriage I had was six years. I can only stand so much and no more.
MTV: As we get older, we often want the world to stay the same, but it sounds like you're going with the flow, accepting those social changes.
Levine: You have to roll with it. Otherwise, you're gonna get stuck in the mud and everyone's gonna pass you by. ... I'm gonna tell you, I want to stick around and see what happens. If you don't go forward in life, you go nowhere. I'm a 1940s broad, I've seen everything.
MTV: Do you think people have changed since then, or is every generation pretty much the same deep down?
Levine: People are not the same as they were during World War II. ... Nobody cares about anybody's feelings. Everyone's out for the "me" and the "I." ... All they know is what's on the cellphone and the computer. I said to somebody once, "Why don't you pick up the phone instead of texting them?" He said, "Oh, this way I don't have to talk to her." Why waste your time? I bet you don't talk to your friends off the telephone.
MTV: It does seem like we see our friends less, the more we're in constant digital communication.
Levine: When my phone rings, I answer it. When I don't like who's on the phone, I hang up. But call your friends to meet and have coffee, to have dinner, whatever, have a drink -- but Jesus Christ, get off the goddamn phone! It cuts everybody's relationship in half.
MTV: Are you hoping these YouTube videos will make you famous?
Levine: Why not? ... Why shouldn't I be famous? Maybe something I have to say will help somebody else. You can never tell. Don't listen to [other people's] bullsh-t, listen to yourself.
I want to be everybody's neighbor. They can call me and bullsh-t all day long. But hurry up, because time is flying!