03 November 2009

Dead in Gay Years?! What the @#$%?

A long time ago, in a land far, far away, at a friend's birthday party, an acquaintance asked how old I was. When I stated my age to said youngster, he said, "Wow, that's, like, dead in gay years." I laughed. You bet your sweet bippy that if I were super sensitive about my age, I would have shed tears or brought the smackdown. Fortunately, I'm pretty OK with my ripe old age--which is probably not quite as "dead in gay years" as he proclaimed--and I kinda like my light splashes of grey hair: I earned them. But there are occasional reminders that I am, in fact, on my way to being well over the homo hill.

See, for those of you not familiar with it, in the gay male world, youth and beauty are seemingly valued far out of proportion to other more lasting qualities. Hot, young gay guys love the idea of being in hot, young gay couples, but I've talked with enough guys to believe that the idea of being a wrinkly, old gay couple is either not something most young gay dudes wanna think about or is outright repulsive. Some staunchly proclaim their desire to die before they really start sagging and wrinkling. Do straight guys think about being an old husband and wife on the couch together and want to retch rather than saying, "Aw"? I doubt it, but maybe some do. Anyway, in much of gay culture, by the time age is really setting in, you'd better have either settled in with the bears and leather daddies or have a committed partner 'cause ain't nobody else gonna want some of that old hairy action. ...except maybe other old hairy dudes, but who wants one of those? You see how this is problematic thinking? It's not true among everyone, and there are always exceptions, but I'm just saying it's a prevalent attitude in gay circles.

Anyway, since I'm not on the market, I don't spend too much time thinking about who I could date or who would be attracted to me (OK, so maybe I do spend some time), but in random social situations, I'm reminded of my increasing lack of youth. Let me hold on to the idea that I still have beauty if not youth...at least "for my age". Really? When did I get to the "for your age" point? "You have a good body for your age." *sigh* Yeah, thanks. I do appreciate that; I just wish that "for your age" part could be sincerely dropped. But it can't: I just don't have a college stud hotbod. Never did, never will. [Oh dear, I just realized this post may very likely draw an unusual number of unsavory Googlers.]

On a related note, there's another aspect of aging I've refrained from blogging about in the past: though I firmly believe in sexual restraint and abhor promiscuity and wouldn't change what I've done (read "not done"), I do have this faint, smirk-inducing sense of disappointment that my most youthful, energetic years were spent without putting that youth and energy to some really fun use, and now they're waning forever. It's not a bitter thing, not a sad thing (except maybe briefly during my hypersexual stint and occasional, brief aftershocks), just something I occasionally pout-smile about and then move on with my prudish self, happy I've made the decisions I have even while wishing I could've at least been married and divorced or something... *kidding* *...mostly*

"Why bring this up now?" you ask? Well, a couple of recent events have triggered this post, I suppose. First, I am trying to work off my skinny-fat lovehandles, small though they may be, and maybe get back some muscle tone in my torso, and doggonit if it's not more difficult than it's ever been.

Second, I ran into Calvin at the gym the other day, and he mentioned me having said a good workout takes a few years off for a couple of hours afterward, then he said even with the years removed, I was still way too old for him. I laughed, then I said, "ouch," then I called him a pedophile. Of course, I keep giving him a hard time about making an old man feel older, and he assures me there are probably some younger guys who find me attractive, which only serves to inform me that I am now attractive to a niche category of younger dudes who like "older" guys. Nice. Helpful, Calvin, very helpful. And I simply can't compete with the young hotties anymore if I ever even could. But no, I don't think about that at all. Totally over it. Not even an issue. *scowl*

Third, something hit me at the Matis fireside last night: I'm too old to be befriending the majority of the crowd there, which I didn't feel when I first started going. Between chats with various friends and acquaintances, I observed (as always) the groups of younger guys standing in circles and chatting it up, and it dawned on me that anymore, I'd just feel like the awkward older guy trying to chum it up with the young whippersnappers if I were to join those circles. I don't approach them or introduce myself, partially because I'm not especially interested in chatty group conversations with a bunch of people I don't know (especially really young ones), and partially because I don't want to look like or be one of those older guys who "goes after" the younger dudes. Besides, they're surrounded by guys closer to their age, often attractive, flirty ones, so what place do I really have in all that? Don't get me wrong: this is no self-esteem thing or Eeyoresque mope-athan. I'm just calling it like I see it. By and large, it seems like they're too young for me, and I'm too old for them. There are, of course, exceptions.

I've talked with guys who are a few decades older than me who express similar sentiments, and I laugh that I'm only...well...my age and am already feeling it. But I, a younger guy to them, still talk with them at the firesides and am not itching to run away to the younger crowd. OK, occasionally, but not most often. In fact, I often find it refreshing to talk with someone with more maturity and a more age-informed perspective. But then, I'm kind of unusual that way--I'm one of those exceptions, perhaps. And I do have to admit, I occasionally wonder if they're experiencing an attraction, and it occasionally weirds me out a little to think they might be, but I try to set that aside. What's troublesome is when I wonder if the twenty-three-year-old I'm speaking with is wondering if I'm attracted and is doing the same thing. *awkward*

In short, mine is, in some ways, an awkward age to be a gay guy. Maybe that's just bound to increase as long as I'm single. Maybe being a forty-year-old single gay guy isn't any less awkward. Or maybe it's more a "single people" thing than a "gay" thing. But either way, I'm pretty sure the "gay" thing compounds it, with its youth obsession. I mean, I'm not all knotted up over it; it's just a touch ...lip-furl-inducing to be on my way to "dead in gay years" never having even been on the market. What's a lip-furl you ask? Eh, it's the only way I could think of to describe that look you might make when you're trying to show someone how frustrated you are with them but are half-grinning in the process...you know the look?

Ah well, it probably helps keep me humble and out of trouble. I mean, heck, it's a lot easier to shrug and walk away from a total hottie when you're pretty sure you don't stand a chance anyway because he sees you like this:


blj1224 said...

If you don't try your hand at free-lance short story writing (or photography or journalism, or both), you should be throttled.

Daniel said...

You are not too old to be gay and single. How old was Will Truman when he settled down? You may be too old for Provo. I see the obsession with young relationships as a Utah Valley thing. I expect in New York, for example, that things are different.

You are also old for that limbo state that Moho's go through. After a while, people tend to figure out what they want and either date and estrange themselves with the Church or embrace celibacy and estrange themselves from the gay community. I've noticed that the Matis firesides attract a lot of people who haven't decided, and so they are younger. I would assume the folk who were attending with you when you were young have already aligned with one side or the other. They've moved on.

But they still exist! You are not past your prime at all!

(for the record, I think fondly of growing old with my loved one)

Original Mohomie said...

Yeah, I cut the paragraph about how a lot of people have, by my age, polarized or stopped "needing" the support the firesides offer. I've been at the "I'm only coming to see some Salt Lake friends I don't see all that often and to see the Matises" stage for well over a year now. I don't really take anything away from them anymore as far as "support" goes; I just find some of the presentations interesting and enjoy some good company.

Thanks for the affirmation. I think I'm past my prime in many ways, but I'm not dead yet!

Ha, and I love the Will Truman example. And he was a total hottie...for his age. ;-)

darkdrearywilderness said...

sigh...I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks/worries about this...you seem to be much more at ease with it than I am though :)

Scott said...

I'm pretty sure I've got a few years on you. Of course, I'm not single, and I'm sure that makes a huge difference...

I think I agree with Daniel, though. Your observations are probably somewhat valid, but also somewhat skewed by the crowd you are associating with.

This is only indirectly related, but I was actually commenting to Sarah a week or two ago that there aren't very many "mohos" our age. Nearly everyone who has adopted that title is either under 30 or over 40.

We decided that it's because the over-40s had a lot of time to settle into a family before it was socially comfortable to come out and so they need the support of the moho community as they deal with everything that being a gay married Mormon entails, while the under-30s are young enough that they are still coming to terms with things.

The thirtysomethings, on the other hand, have all (or mostly) solved all of their issues and left the church (and their wives and families, in many cases) and have no need for this sort of community, and so there aren't very many of us.

As I said... an observation that's only tangentially related, but there it is. :)

Sean said...

As one reaching the first round of gay death which I'm told is 30 I hope my expiration date is not quickly coming. I guess this is why I've joined so many social network and dating sites lately. Having been married and exed I'm not keen on living the rest of life alone anymore... especially now that I've found myself.

Max Power said...

Meh. I'm 36 and have a 26 year old hottie boyfriend. I'm definitely not past my prime. ;)

Quinn said...

You can be dead in gay years and still be good looking!

Quinn said...

If not you can always be a sugar daddy right?

Original Mohomie said...

Scott, thanks for the input.

Sean, you touched on another point I've thought of: I could do the social sites thing, depending on the site, but I just...it's not my thing, I don't think, not for meeting people. I'd prefer to meet people, friends or otherwise, through other friends. Online works sometimes for some, and I think it could work for me; I just don't know if I'd have the energy for it. :-)

Quinn, being a sugar daddy would be a definite possibility from a romantic aspect, if I can figure out a way to not be dirt poor anymore. I've already abandoned my dream of being a go-go boy... But friendship-wise with "SSA" guys or nice, LDS guys, sugar daddyism doesn't really work. Or do you know something I don't?

Max, stop bragging. It's unseemly. ;-)

Troy said...

how old are you anyway? you never said. :p

Original Mohomie said...

You're right. I didn't. Hm. Go fig. :-P

Ned said...

"I know a love that will never grow old..."

TROY: I think it's pretty clear that he's under 40 or he probably wouldn't have said, "Maybe being a forty-year-old single gay guy isn't any less awkward."

SCOTT: I agree that not being single probably does make a huge difference, especially if you've been married for a decade or more.

Here's why. If you have bonded to your spouse, chances are you don't really see him or her as they are, you see them as your enternal partner and so the aging is just a temporary artifact of mortality. The real person is the one you fell in love with and the one you love even more now than you did then.

So, do I care that I'm now closer to 60 than 50?
That in just four more years I'm going to have to change my blog name to moho.60? Sure. But I'm not going to dye my thinning hair, wear a toupee, or get a transplant, or a facelift, or shave my chest. Yes, I will continue to stay active physically but that's mostly for mental health, the fact that it improves muscle tone and fights obesity are just side benefits.

Maybe one of the reasons I can accept myself in all my "senior-ness" is because my wife and I both got here together. But you know even if I had chosen a male partner, I still think I would have fallen for someone who loves me not just for my incredibly hot body but for the total me.

I know that's how I feel about so many of my friends. They may or may not be handsome by the world's standards but they are attractive to me because of the bond we share. Anyone can be young and buff. But to be old and yet still fully alive, that takes some experience, some lessons learned, some appreciation for the changing seasons of life.