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?
I’m 34, in an age gap relationship with someone older, and I can’t imagine myself any other way. Not sure what the 45 year old looks like, but a dignified 50 something doesn’t feel the need to colour his hair. He’s an educated professional guy, and he’s been around long enough to have learnt that real life is about what works- not some idealized concept of perfection.
Great feedback! Thanks. I agree that by the time a man hits 50 he should have figured out how to life–what really matters and what doesn’t.
I’m not sure if I can qualify as middle aged any more since I turned 60 a few weeks ago. If anything I’ve learned to be myself and not put on a front. In my case that includes wearing a Utilikilt pretty much 24/7, not caring that what is left of my hair is rapidly thinning and my teeth are not a perfect blazing white. The thought of even being in a bar after 10:00 p.m is foreign to me. Let the young enjoy that.. I know I sure did in my prime.
I lost my partner 20 years ago…it seems like yesterday… Life goes on… I have a good pension with benefits, I work out at the “Y” 4-5 times week, row sweep with a masters rowing club,and have over 3 million lifetime meters under my belt recorded at the Concept 2 site. I’m not young any more but I like to think I’m still living life pretty much on my terms….
The plague wiped out some of the best and brightest of my generation. I still have survivors guilt as to why I was never infected. Those who remain have stories to tell… listen and learn.
For me it means that, at 49, I’m out of a relationship of ten years, to my great relief, and, having integrated the break-up, I have a clear sense not only of what I want to avoid, but what I seek in a man. It also means I feel established in my profession, skilled, but also capable of and interested in learning. It means I enjoy mentoring, in the most relaxed, casual, non-condescending way, men and women who are younger than me, both in professional and personal contexts. It means I have a large circle of friends in the community, some of whom are older, some younger, some married, some single. It means that one long, rogue, gray eyebrow hair kind of makes me feel like Donald Moffat, and I’m not that inclined to pluck it. I’m not desperate, and I’m not lonely, and I feel pretty damned good. And I’m very, very happy to be alive.