Aging in the youth-obsessed gay culture

Posted on 12 Jul 2010 at 9:07am

As one goes through life on this sphere we call Earth, thoughts of what it’s all about and what does “it” mean will eventually permeate through all the clutter and noise of life.

As a gay man in Dallas who is waving goodbye to middle age and reluctantly realizing that the days of reckless abandon have escaped my grasp, I observe those who do not have the life experience I possess.

Having the great fortune, among many of my experiences, of traveling the world as a young, wide-eyed singer/dancer and performing for dignitaries and heads of state, I can look at life and the younger gay men with wonder and concern.

Fortunately or not, I have passed the point in my existence where I desire to be the hottest guy in the room. As diligently as I tried, I was never the hottest guy in the room, ever, but the quest usually creeps into one’s wish list at some point in life.

Now, if I’m the hottest guy in the room, it’s time to change rooms. Not that I just crawled out from under a rock by any means, but the veil has been lifted on the need to be the “it” guy. At this station in life (53), I think I am holding it together pretty well, actually. Thank goodness for skin care, hair color, teeth whitening/porcelain veneers, spray tans, lasik surgery, manscaping … the list could go on.

The moments when I am jolted back into reality if I drift into some false sense of youthful entitlement are when I pass a usually younger, attractive man and he gives the classic “glance away.” Realizing he doesn’t want any sort of human interaction, after locking eyes, he looks away as quickly as the vertebrae in his neck will allow his head to turn without permanent damage. Add to that the ego-crushing eye roll and quick escape to a safer, younger, non-threatening groups of guys.

If you are wondering if you’ve ever done that to someone, you probably have. I know I have and want to take this moment to apologize to any gentlemen who have suffered by this thoughtless behavior … wherever you are.

I would venture to guess that if we took a poll, most guys would have no clue that they even do this. Some others may revel in their “glance away” expertise. Suffice it to say, it’s a tough world out there for all of us.

Older, younger, hot/stud, nerd. Everyone has their fears of inadequacy. It’s hard to imagine some young, bronzed, square-jawed muscle god having any sense of what the rest of us wrestle with in our minds when it comes to life, love, relationships and self-worth. I have been out and had friends comment on some exceptionally gifted male specimen: “Wow, look at that!” My comment is usually: “Yes, he’s beautiful. I just wonder if he’s happy?” Just sayin’.

— Jason Thomas
Dallas

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