NOVEMBER 9, 2012 7:59AM

"Dirty Old Men"

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DirtyOne of my major complaints against life is that it gives us so very much to start with, and then, once we are totally used to it, begins taking things away.


I made the mistake the other day of, upon stumbling on an on-line ad for a “personals” column, checking it out in a moment of mental masochism. It was one of those "Meet People" pop-up ads on Yahoo, and all I needed to do was check “ ‘M’ seeking ‘M’” and put in my zip code. I knew the instant I did it that the result would only be total frustration and self pity, and sure enough…there on my screen appeared John, 27, and Bill, 22, and Jimmy, 25, all accompanied by photos of good looking, smiling young men who gave brief descriptions of themselves and what they were seeking by placing themselves on the list. I looked at each one of them, and my chest ached knowing that I still want exactly what they want, yet none of them would (or, honestly, could be expected to) give me a second glance.

Dirty old men are a cruel joke in our culture. How dare someone over 40 or 50 or 60 (and we will not even think about anyone older than that) think they have any right to be romantically loved, and held? Even trying to form a mental image of such a thing is somehow revolting, rather like picturing your parents having sex. These guys had their chance. The door has closed on them: by what right do they feel sorrow or resentment for no longer being welcome in a world in which they were, not all that long ago, one of the gang; popular, sought after, cruised, smiled at, approached, touched?

I know that is just the way life is. I also know there are eighty-seven quintillion billion stars in the universe, yet I am totally incapable of understanding or making sense of either fact.

The ability to love is one of the many gifts given each of us at birth. Some of us use it well, others squander it. But at no point in life, be we 20 or 90, does someone come along and say “all right, you don’t need it anymore: give it back.”

I don’t often quote my poetry in these blogs, but this subject reminded me of one that I find particularly significant, and I hope you’ll indulge me. It’s addressed primarily to gay men, but it can apply equally to anyone:

Tell Me, Friend

Tell me, friend: how old are you?
(Twenty-one? Thirty-two?)
What do you think of men like me?
(Forty-five? Sixty-three?)

Remember, please, that those “old farts”
have faces older than their hearts.
Before you scorn them, be aware
that there’s a young man trapped in there.
It costs you nothing to be kind;
look past the body to the mind
And think too on this irony:
as I was you, you will be me.


Well, that’s enough reflexivity for one blog. But don’t be surprised if the same topic comes up again at some point.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1).


Author tags:

prejudice, aging, open call

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Comments

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It costs nothing to be kind in most situations. The image was particularly poignant.
I've come to find myself to be " old man bait" as a friend put it. And the inclination is not onesided. Society wants to tell me I have 'Daddy issues' or somesuch, but what I see is that it is the older gentlemen who have the best stories to tell. It is the stories that intice my curiosity. And yes, I enjoy how they are bewildered that SomYungThing would grant them a sporting chance.
So far, the result has been one of mutual respect at arms length and to the fact that we may operate on different frequencies, but we can enjoy that I am his eye-candy and he is good for an ego boost on a day I may need it.