Within the gay community, there seem to be two factions, old and young.
I want to specifically address these issues even though I know someone will bitch and say we have more issues than this, or this is too simplistic, or we're far more complex.
Just hold on because for now, I want to address how these two entities connect and make for startling realizations, opportunities for growth and the success of our lineage and movement.
At 42, I have been recently informed that I am now considered older.
I don't know when/how/if this has truly happened and I am so glad someone took the time to let me know.
My friend Chris was trying to explain the skill set I bring to a project we're currently working on. In a delicate and diplomatic way, I was informed that I had a "different set of life experiences."
Are you saying I'm old?
Be careful. Remember, I created this project no sense in getting canned day one.
He is 29. I am 42.
When did this happen? At some point, I became, as Whoopi Goldberg would say, "the oldest thing in the room."
It is a very sobering and interesting place to be.
When 20 year olds ask you questions that begin with the phrase, "What was (fill in the blank) like when you were my age?", you know the afternoon is not looking so hot.
I can't get upset because when I was 24, four decades of living seemed as close to God as one could possibly get and still be on this planet.
But, my young, arrogant friends, the tide always changes, power always shifts so here is my gift to my gay brethren both young and old.
First fact, you will do one of two things - die young or grow old and then die. These are pretty much your options.
Along with these fun facts - hear it and learn it now - your body will change.
The six pack we are so violently obsessed with will give way to something you notice in the shower along with a big ass. It will feel as if someone snuck into the shower with you because this can't possibly be your body.
As far as a six pack and the incredibly discriminatory and fascist concern with body image, the day will arrive when that will not help you one wit. The day will arrive when you will be called upon to offer compassion for a dying friend, care for an ailing parent or uplift and support a discouraged lover.
Trust me, no one will be checking on your BMI when they find themselves in one of the aforementioned situations.
Part of getting older, hopefully, is recognizing bullshit and what is truly important in a more expedient manner. Dancing all night at bars, like I used to, and then having to go to work and drag ass all the next day is simply not an option as we age.
It seems to me that what older gentlemen like myself are seeking is this consumption of youth. In a culture as youth obsessed as this one, it is no wonder that we prize youth over experience and lean hard bodies with ones that have enjoyed a couple of brownies now and again?
How do we make experience, knowledge, social skills, and insight sexy and appealing ?
I haven't a clue.
We could demand that a different demographic be made the focus of advertising campaigns. We could not allow our heads to be turned by a dazzling smile and taut abdomen. We could fall madly in love with wrinkles, failing eyesight, love handles and ten extra pounds.
We could commit to being healthy and fit as opposed to thin and hungry and gorgeous. We could eat carbs and widen our aesthetic to be more inclusive of differing body shapes. We could make the worship of experience and knowledge a focus.
Sadly, I'm not sure how or if this is possible.
As much as I hate to admit it, I live for moisturizes, exfoliants and am a sucker for anything that lifts and tightens the pores. I am a part of this culture and in an industry that requires that you remain 30 for life.
Recently, I have met and socialized with a heap of sexy over 50 guys. What a bunch of fun, knowledgeable souls. Having learned patience, compassion and just plain, good old-fashioned sense, they are quite a bunch to love and emulate.