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: