Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?
I was speaking to my good friend, author Eliezer Sobel (The 99th Monkey; Minyan; etc.) over cheese cake the other night, and, well, we were talking about the other kind of cheesecake – specifically, the young kind.
Now let me say that Shelley and I have a wonderful marriage as I think you know. I fear what I’m about to say could be taken as an indication there’s something lacking there, but there isn’t. I’m still crazy about her, and our sex life is superb.
But she’s no spring chicken, and therein lies the problem.
And this, Eliezer and I agreed, is one of the worst parts of growing older. As he put it, “When did I get to be the age where the gorgeous and alluring young women who catch my eye across the room are not actually flirting with me, but rather, seem to be mistaking me for their Uncle Bernie who wears his pants too high?”
In other words, it’s not just as a married man, but also as a man my age, I will never again have sex with the most beautiful, luscious women I see, and that’s just plain morally wrong, don’t you think?
And all this despite the fact that I and many of us boomer dudes consider ourselves to be vital and great in bed, and also that we have learned things about how to please women that no young dickersnapper could ever know! This is very terribly unfair to all those women — though for some reason they act like they don’t know it.
For me personally, it’s as if growing older has dragged me back to that time before college, when (with one notable exception) I was a social loser. Girls seemed to regard me with amusement (at worst) or as a neutered friend (at best). I had nothing — in terms of looks or physical prowess or coolness — that they wanted. Then I went to college and everything changed…for about 30 years. But now? It’s as if I’m that scrawny, pimply, nerdy kid again, who was about as able to get a date as to sink a basket or win a fistfight. So once again I’m worth little on the market, and feel unwanted, or worse – invisible.
And right about now I can imagine some of my older female readers perhaps feeling disdainful and not knowing what in fornication’s name I’m talking about. Because I don’t hear this same complaint from them. Maybe they also feel the same about never again being able to hook up with a young studly male, but I doubt it. You’ve got to understand – we guys, whether it’s due to the way we’re built or what we’ve been taught, take this diminished sense of sexual worth as cruel and unusual punishment.
There is, you see, nothing like a dame. And nothing like a young twenty or thirty something full of vitality and freshness and blossoming sexual energy to stir what’s been flagging. Nothing in the world. It’s as if their attention and love could validate my worth once again and vindicate me somehow. Eliezer and I see them on the streets (and in this town — like in the springtime? — all I can say is, I see why Islamists make women wear veils. Those people know what such a woman can do to a guy!) and also in the subway and in my extended community of revelers – and well, it’s clear to me why some men reach for the hair dye and strive for the corner office.
But it’s even worse than this. Because while it can be said men my age have always had to reconcile to this reality, these days it’s much more so. Never before (and here’s where my older female readers can identify) have the old been so devalued as they are now, and never before have the young been so over-valued! This whole town, and our whole culture is a boomer-dominated, but youth-oriented, one.
And there’s not a damned thing I can do about it…
(Cue Zorba: “Did you say, ‘dance’?!”)
This past New Year’s Eve Shelley and I and a dozen friends went to an underground party here in Brooklyn with 1500 becostumed maniacs.
Two guys named Winkel and Balktick put it together, and the night was called, W&B Airlines. I suspect Kevin Balktick, at 26, to be some kind of genius. He can take a huge abandoned warehouse (in this case, 45,000 square feet) and transform it into a one night flight to another planet. Shelley and I, as Hawaiian tourists were among pilots, stewardesses…
…and a spare terrorist or two.
Together, we danced till dawn.
Imagine, along with a huge dance floor, dozens of interactive art installations, including an exotic gambling casino…
…a TSA porno “pat down”; a giant pile of rose petals to roll in…
… a Mile High Club; a ride I took on an “Inversion Table” (wo!) and, Shelley’s favorite – Flight School, where you made your own paper airplanes and tried to send them through hoops!
One of the best things about it for Shelley and I (and this happens every time we show up at such a party) was that throughout the night, people would come up to us, like this lovely Brazilian couple…
…and express gratitude to us for being there. Imagine – they draw inspiration from our presence!
That experiences such as these are available to me at this stage of my life, with friends to enjoy it with, contradicts that Who line: “Hope I die before I get old!” Indeed, at parties like this one, I felt like I did die…and went to heaven!
So while ageing for me must mean waving a long goodbye to youthful sex (or sex with youthfuls) it doesn’t mean I have to throw out the bathwater with all the babies.
So I go and I’m refreshed and revitalized. Events like these help me discern between what must be lost as I age, and what need not be. In other words, I can age youthfully.
Growing old can be a pain in the butt (and the sexual ego) but it doesn’t have to be a liability, and for this I feel deeply blessed.