A friend has been trying to set me up with one of our jilted mutuals for months now. Sure, I thought, he’s bright, he’s got a good job, a great family, similar friends, not to mention a gorgeous smile and sunny disposition to match. After five months of travelling, a nice cruisy fling might be exactly what I need to put my post-Europe blues behind me. However, in my experience, boys my age have a hard time wrapping their heads around ‘nice and cruisy’.
Enter; the Older Man.
What is it about a thirty-something podiatrist sending me a flame on Grindr that makes my heart thump to the beat of a Lana Del Rey song? Undiagnosed daddy issues? Early exposure to Vladimir Nabokov? Pornhub’s aggressively persistent ‘older/younger’ category? After several years of therapy, I can confidently say that I’m still clueless.
Perhaps it has something to do with him waking up at 6AM every day (even on weekends — HOT) and maintaining a terrace full of living plants. And how when I use his industrial grade coffee machine to make espressos or undo his cufflinks (boys my age can’t even spell cufflinks, let alone afford them) I too get to play in the sensible and put-together world of Adulthood. It doesn’t hurt that his pockets are deeper than the Mariana Trench and he’s a Financial Top who refuses to let me pay a cent towards food or wine. Don’t look at me like that, it’s no skin off his beautifully weathered nose. I wish I could say I’m better than that, but I’m only human. And poor.
From the financial planner, to the barrister, to the divorced landscape gardener; men of a certain age know exactly what they want, and aren’t shy about pursuing it. It’s the Older Man’s trademark charm. The pursuit of pleasure is a game they have perfected by the time their first greys thread into their perfectly manicured sideburns and beards. Without going into too much detail myself (I may be a self-professed ‘sex-columnist’ but I am first and foremost a LADY, and ladies do not kiss and tell) I’ll quote an extract from Andrew Sean Greer’s novel on gay men and the art of ageing, Less;
“’I’m going to grow too old for you.’ Of course Less said this was ridiculous, the age difference meant nothing to him. Robert was hotter than those stupid boys, surely he knew that. Men in their forties were so sexy: the calm assurance of what a man liked and didn’t, where he sets limits and where he sets none, experience and a sense of adventure. It made the sex so much better.”
The greatest perk, however, is the one that seems to go unmentioned. With the Older Man there is always an unspoken agreement; this is strictly casual. There is no LTR (long term relationship), shared rental contract, or awkward ‘meet the parents’ luncheon lurking on the horizon. What me and Mark, Michael or Jamie have together is just for fun. Even though the sex is superior and the conversation is stimulating (he’s read more than just The Barefoot Investor and understands the crisis in Venezuela (I didn’t even know there was a crisis in Venezuela)), we both agree that at the end of the day the age gap is too significant a divide to bother overcoming. Who knows how many years we’d have together before he croaked, or worse, wanted to retire and relocate somewhere rural.
They say breaking up is never easy, but with the Older Man it couldn’t be easier. He probably doesn’t have Facebook — if he does, he doesn’t use it — so the moral panic of unfriending him or seeing him post photos with other boys never rears its ugly head. The demise of our fling will be brought about by something typical and predictable; he’ll cross a line, misunderstand a Lizzie McGuire reference, or unironically ask me to call him daddy (get absolutely fucked Mark). And any rose-coloured illusions that kept me hanging around will be shattered. I’ll no longer dismiss the creases in the corners of his eyes as lines brought on by smiling, but ageing. Nor will I be able avoid confronting the elephant that’s been sitting in his inner-city apartment since I first stepped into it; this seemingly grown and mature man is sleeping with somebody almost half his age.
Everything I once found attractive will repulse me, and I’ll find myself wondering if the single thirty-something grumbling about the advantages of capitalist economies next to me is indicative of what lays ahead for me. Twenty years down the line, living in a large but lonely Queenslander with a great job and lots of money but nobody to share it with. Whatever my future is, please don’t let it be this.
I’ll grab my keys from the nightstand, smuggle a bottle of Eau de Cologne into my Kånken (it’s not stealing if he’s rich), and shake the Older Man’s hand — he is a businessman after all, and we are closing a deal of sorts.
These flings are nice, and they’re cruisy, but they’re never fruitful. The Older Man is just another tool I use to side-step intimacy and commitment to relationships with potential for growth. Fuck, my therapist is gonna eat this shit up when I see her! And although I just texted my friend to ask if our jilted mutual is still single, my heart will always thump to the beat of ‘Off To The Races’ when Jeremiah, 36, commercial interior designer, sends me flames on Grindr.
🔥 🍆 🔥