Despite society’s obsessive worship of youth, there’s still a whole lot of sexiness and desire associated with men of certain age. Middle-aged men–or my preferred moniker, “daddies”–are arguably one of the most desirable groups in gay taxonomy with entire profile sites and theme nights dedicated to men in their 40s and 50s (see Daddy Hunt and DILF nights at your local bar). Daddies are strong, loving men who protect and nurture younger lads; their greater life experience results in wisdom and know how about success, relationships, and passion; they are men in their prime in terms of stability and efficacy. I’m also a known daddy hunter so I’m certain there’s some bias here 😉
My point is: middle-aged men have value and a place in gay society. BUT, in spite of all this, men still crave youth–both in themselves and in others. Check out this sad story about an influential and successful middle-aged man in NYC who despite his constant encouragement to others that there is life after 40, he ended up giving up and taking his own life.
I think it’s great for older guys to believe in having a vibrant life past 40, but I don’t think their values and goals should be the same as a twink’s. You see it in Chelsea and on Fire Island: men in their 50s wearing neon high tops and silver bedazzled t-shirts that are marketed to 20 year olds. Now, I’m not saying middle-aged men can’t be cool or wear trendy clothes, but with all the fashion and style available, why dress like a twink? (consider the mom who tries getting away with mini skirts and tube tops in an attempt to be hot…) Older men can be hot and stylish, but they need their own style and should leave the nonsense tight n’ bright t-shirts to the twenty-somethings (and stop lying about your age!).
I mentioned these thoughts to a couple of friends recently (who happen to be middle-aged) and was like, “Can’t you guys just be happy being your age and not be so concerned with being young again?” and they were like, “Hold on, young grasshopper, easier said than done. You try being 50 in a society that lusts after 25-year-old. We’re also sorta pioneers for this demographic.”
Pioneers…? Ah yes, because we are living in an age today when more men are out than ever before and in a society that is gradually accepting and validating them as homosexuals. This is compounded by the fact that the generation before them–the generation who would have been trend setters and mentors–has been decimated by loss from HIV/AIDS. So for the first time there is a group of publicly out middle-aged men who have to figure out who they are and what their values are in society.
My question to you is: What does a successful 45-year-old gay man look like? What does he value and how does he fit in with the larger community?