Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dating in Middle Age

I find myself wondering--what are the rules of dating? Who, if anyone, makes them up? In the gay male "community," (and I use that term loosely), there's a wide-ranging fear of aging. Now that I'm (just slightly) past 50, I've been splashing around in the dating pool, but the water isn't very inviting.

It's not like I was more successful back in the days when I fit the preferred demographic. When I was in my early-mid 30's I had little self-confidence and rarely seemed to get noticed. Now that my self-esteem is closer to sea-level, my prospects seem to have decreased. I notice this whenever I go to Provincetown, especially in summer. This past August I spent a week on the Cape, and saw literally hundreds of handsome men, none of whom seemed to be looking at me.

Of course, many of them were ten to fifteen years younger than me, but not all. But they were all fit, verging on buff. It's a weakness--I'm attracted to smooth muscular men, and yet those men seem to find me as interesting as yesterday's newspaper. Women seem to be much more forgiving; I often see good-looking women with out of shape, shlumpy straight men. (I also am drawn to men who are honest, creative and kind, but preferably in a worked-out physique).

Reading this, you might think I sound superficial (and to some extent) you might be right. But I am a man and I believe we--straight or gay--are wired to look for beauty. Still, some of my gay friends have more flexible standards, and are more willing to look beyond the surface to find the beauty within their prospective dates than I.

Over the last few years, as my youth receded over the far horizon, I've tried to do the same--widening my standards of who and what makes up an attractive man. But there are certain things I cannot give up--like a pulse--along with some element of attraction. Lately, I've learned that I don't need perfection or anything close to it. Instead, if I can find some physical attribute, like a tight chest or strong hands, I can focus on those other qualities I'm craving, like being with a man who can share his feelings, keep his word, and laugh at himself.

Recently I've had a near miss with a man who was single and seemingly available. In hindsight, a lot of the connection, on my part at least, was fantasy, my wish to have a handsome, somewhat younger man to spend time with.....

So now I'm starting over, wading in, and hoping I won't drown.


Blogger STEVERI said...

I love your site. Beverly did good. Papa's Place is great. And the BW article is very good. Man you are blossoming all over. Happy to experience and hear

Be well

Steve Kagan

5:20 PM  

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