Thursday, August 16, 2007
I found this article very interesting....

Reflections on aging

dress and behavior for gay men who are growing older
Advocate, The by Richard Gollance

It was one of those moments that make you doubt the whole concept of intimacy. I was getting dressed for work, finally feeling relaxed enough in my job as a writer-producer on a prime-time TV series to wear jeans to the office. My partner watched from across the bedroom. "Don't you think it's time you surrendered?" I didn't like the sound of that. "What do you mean?" I asked.
"Maybe it's time to give up the 501s. You look so much nicer when you wear slacks."
I measured my words carefully. "Are you saying I shouldn't wear jeans anymore?"

"Not at all. That's why I bought you those looser-fitting jeans at Replay. I'm just saying, not the 501s."

For a long moment I just stood there. I was angry, and I was hurt, but I wasn't going to show it. After all, maybe he was right. Or maybe he was telling me the tight 501s made me look cheap. Maybe he didn't want me to be too attractive to other men.

I took off the 501s and put on a pair of khakis. "Does this look better?"
"Very handsome."
We ate breakfast in silence.

Is this the moment every gay man dreads? Someone tells you kindly or unkindly, "Honey, you're just too old to be hot."
Several days later at work, the celebrated executive producer of another series passed by our offices. Several years older than I am and with a Pillsbury Doughboy body, he was wearing a pair of tight 501s and a form-fitting shirt with the top three buttons open. At that moment I was so grateful that my partner had had the courage to be honest.
Knowing when to surrender: I suspect that for most of us the realization arrives two or three years after it should have. And it's not just about how we dress. It's the whole package. It's how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to others. At 49, I don't know any gay man in my age group who isn't wrestling with this dilemma

As baby boomers--the first generation of gay men to come of age post-Stonewall--we've always prided ourselves on our youth and our sexuality. But now we're no longer young. And the only role models we have of sexy gay men are at least 15 years younger than we are.

The big fear, of course, is that we'll never get laid--or, more precisely, that no one will ever want us. It doesn't matter if we've been in a monogamous relationship for the past 25 years and wouldn't think of doing anything anyway. We still want someone to want to jump our bones.

A few weeks ago I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in months. I had always known him as having a full head of suspiciously black hair. Now all of a sudden he had a full head of ... white hair! What happened? He told a sad tale: Depressed over losing a job he thought would last forever. Going out every night and not getting any attention. The gray hair was coming in faster than ever--too fast to keep up with, really, and what difference did it make? In a binge of self-pity, he let it grow out. Then all of a sudden he was getting more attention. And the gray hair didn't make him feel any different or even any older. I think it makes him look more self-confident.

Sean Connery remains one of the sexiest men in the world in part because he seems so comfortable with who he is, including his age. "Surrendering" doesn't mean letting yourself go; it's knowing who you are and not pretending to be otherwise. It's appreciating the range of knowledge and the variety of experience that comes from all those years of living fully. It's recognizing the strength that comes from surviving. It's knowing that what you bring to the table can actually be an asset. It can make you more interesting--to someone who's looking for a man, not a boy.

Can we ever feel comfortable with ourselves if we're not sure whether we're pulling off an illusion? Can we ever project self-confidence if we're worried about the seams showing? Maybe we need to foster images of sexy older gay men--and not some incredibly buff "Ripley's Believe It or Not" dipped-in-formaldehyde specimens.

In the end, maybe it's about knowing how to market yourself: how to take advantage of what's most attractive about yourself and putting that forward. Maybe, more than anything else, it's actually believing it.

Gollance is a veteran television writer-producer who's working on his master's in gerontology at USC.


sort of depressing ... don't you think?


If I don't find someone by the time I am 40 I think I'll just hang up my hat (literally) and let everything just go.... *sigh* Why bother when over 35 and average looking means :

1) You have to be the stronger (wealthier) partner (I am on a pretty tight budget currently)

2) Have to end up with someone who is not your peer (years older usually) and usually doesn't do it for you sexually. After all almost anyone who can be considered "hot" over 30 is capitalizing on that in the Twink marketplace. I don't really want a twink, but rather someone my age who is chemically (at least) compatable. It's just not going to happen, If I see one more profile for a 30something year old looking ONLY for under 30....

ok so mayble I am being dramatic (a bit) but still....


Blogger VeryApeAZ said...
My roommate and I had a conversation the other day. He said we're so obsessed with finding soul mates that we miss opportunities. We we should really be looking for life mates - friends (platonic and not) who know and love us and are with us for life. I like that concept and I think it fits well with my belief system.

As for getting older... I've never been one to dress fashionably so I've never cared what other people thing. :-P

Blogger The Persian said...
I hear you on the life-mate thing, I'd settle for that. :)

The thing is, in this "gay arena" you can't get in the door, if even for nothing other than friendship unless there is an initial attraction by the other person.

I have some older "fatherly" or grandfatherly type friends and it is much easier for them to make friends because the "peer" factor is removed and people are more comfortable around them.


Blogger Lewis said...
I'm not so sure I believe in surrender. I believe in looking and feeling good, no matter the three numbers across the back of your Levis. I guess I have developed a "It's all good" type of attitude. I try and appreciate others for who they are, not what they are wearing. And, I must say, there's nothing like a nice ass in a pair of 501s. So, I'm not so some cases, maybe. But, maybe not even then.....hum.

Yeah, it's true. The more miles we put on our personal odometer, the more money we have to have to offset it.

Blogger Kiss My Mike said...
gay or straight, i think we all have this fear. it's really depressing come to think of it.
the reality is that there's a lot of negative thoughts out there. we have issues regardless of age. i mean, at age 20, our issue is about coming out and looking for acceptance. at age 30, our issue is about something else. and so on.

i don't want to sound preachy because i certainly don't know the formula to resolve this issue. but it's a struggle that we all go through. i think one thing that'll help is really to be comfortable about who you really are. it's a mantra i try to stick in my head.

Blogger The Persian said...
I agree Mike, being comfortable with who we are is the most important thing of all. If we can't be comfortable with ourselves, we become incredibly vulnerable in so many ways.

Blogger Jim said...
I think the article is actually quite good. It speaks to inner strength trumping outer beauty.

As for those seeking "under 30 only", goooood luck. They are cute and fun but lack any compatible life experience.

(Oh, havent 501s been out for a while now?)

Blogger The Persian said...
Very true Jim, I thought it was really well written.

"hey are cute and fun but lack any compatible life experience."

isn't that the truth!!


Blogger michael said...
I say F it. I dress how I want and don't care what folks say or think about it. I've been wearing jeans and tshirts for the past 40 years and I'm not about to stop now because the gay community thinks I'm "too old".

God sometimes I really HATE our community.....but what can ya do? *sigh*

And ya know...I gave up on the whole finding a man thing myself. I have friends, I have a job. What else do I really need? (especially when you have friends that love you)

Blogger daveincleveland said...
i have been thinking on this very subject for a bit now, and wonder about those of us just coming out in mid life....god i hate that term, but keep thinking, what is there for me, is there anyone out there for me to start over with at 56, every thing in gay life is geared so young and hot and cute and bla bla bla, what about us, while i am 56 i still think and act much younger, used to be that i could pass for 10 years younger than i am, but even than thats mid 40's, so do i face a balance of life alone????