Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

A strange attractor

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 07:00 pm
my_lost_mind: (foolish)
Groundhog Day.

I'm not quite sure what to make of all this.

On Thursday I went to a meetup happy hour event.  I mixed and mingled, chatted with a few different folks (both men and women) but there was one man there who seemed rather attracted to me.

The only problem is that he's easily 10 years older than me.

I normally have an aversion to "older men", having had one very toxic experience dating a whack job in my early 20s who lied about his age, lied about his background, and more or less dragged me along for a very strange ride that lasted a little more than a year.  Turned out he was 20 years older than me.  (I was 22, he was 43).   

Back in those days, I was attracted to this man enough to sleep with him because he seemed to be everything my first husband (who I had just split from) was not.

This charming motherfucker was attractive, charismatic, and seductive - and because I thought he was only 10 years older than me (and not 20) it somehow made it alright.   He really turned out to be a lying, scheming, toxic, manipulative, assclown and just as crazy as the ex-husband I fled from.

Anyway, back to the present day.

I'm trying to get to the bottom of why I find older men so unattractive.  I think I'm beginning to understand, and it isn't sitting very well with me.

Here was this guy, sweet, friendly, with his silver hair, blue eyes, and wide smile flirting with me as if he was still in his 20s.   I told him that I really didn't date older guys, but he was so engaging I played along with the game for a couple of hours.

He asked me why women his age didn't seem to be into dating, why there were so many women hanging out on the dating sites (see my previous post on this) but yet so many men in their 50s are going without.    I explained to him what I had observed, that women in their 50s weren't necessarily looking for a steady dating thing because they were tired of taking care of men, cooking, picking up after, etc. and they likely just got rid of their teenaged kids.  These women were looking to have fun, with no strings attached.

I also explained that women my age were having challenges meeting men "our age" because these men were looking for younger women who could help them forget that they were getting older.   The men who weren't looking for younger women were the guys who had never been married and will likely never get married because they're just not cut out for it.   Happy to play the field forever.

We both laughed about what a pain in the ass it is to be single, over 40,  in suburbia.

So why not older men?  It's easy.  It's because I don't recognize myself at 46.   When I look in the mirror, I always look past my wrinkles, and scoff at the grey hairs (covering them up as quickly as they appear).   Getting older is something that terrifies me, reminds me of everything that I hate about my mother and how she experienced her 40s.    Because I have no positive frame of reference for what it means to be sexual in my 40s I just deny it, bury these fears, and pretend that I'm still 20 something or 30 something and just go on as I've always gone on.

There is, of course, a problem with this mindset.  It keeps me stuck in the the immature, unhealthy, codependent people-pleasing behaviors of my past.  I'm never going to experience my 20s again.  I'm never going to travel back in time and undo all the mistakes I made in my life back then.   I'm just stuck.    Men with silver hair and wrinkles remind me of where I'm headed, and it scares the shit out of me, even if they're only ahead of me by 10 years.

It reminds me of my aging father who at 70, looks and acts more like he's 80.    

I always forget that my very first musical crushes were on men who were anywhere from 15 to 20 years older than me.   Brian May and Peter Gabriel are in their 60s now, but they were very attractive to me when I was 10, 15, 20.   I still think they are attractive, but the fact they look "old" to me now is sad.  

Why is this such a big deal to me?

Culturally speaking, we still live in a youth-obsessed culture.  While there are some really beautiful, smart, sexy women in their 50s and 60s in popular culture, women are fed the bullshit lie that once you get past a certain age you might as well hang up your sexy undies because you're not getting any unless you settle for whatever you can get.

Would I be more attracted to these random older men I'm meeting now if they were long-haired enigmatic rock stars, or had some iconoclastic rebellious look that belied their age?  


Would they go for a woman like me?  

Probably not, because those men who are still chasing their youth are applying the same exact logic to their choice in mating partners as I am.

We're chasing youth that is always more than a few steps ahead of us.

What I need to do is find a happy medium somewhere in all this.   Stop applying the wrong filters to nice men and simply spend some time getting to know them.   They could turn out to be decent guys, or they could be idiots not worth sharing a cup of coffee with.  I need to broaden my horizons and stop placing so much emphasis on "looks" when it comes to age.   The truth is that I'm not 20 and have grey hair, a few wrinkles, and a few extra pounds.   If I want men to accept me for who I am at this age, then I'm going to have to start accepting them too.

This doesn't mean I'm going to go racing after the first 58 year old man who gives me the time of day,    What it means is that I'm just going to think outside of my strange padded cell with the rose colored windowpanes.   If I go to a meetup event where there are men my age, younger men, and men a bit older then I'm going to talk to the nice ones.   Maybe I'll even go on a date or two with an older guy just to see what it's like to go on a date without any preconceived notions of where things should go next.   It's been a very long time since I've been on a date like that.

Even my first date with Mr. Unavailable from this past fall wasn't really a normal date.  We always spent time sitting at his dining room table staring at his computer while he picked music to play.  He didn't own a television, and he wasn't into going to movies.  We went out for dinner because we had to eat, and when I started dating him he had no gas service in his apartment because he didn't have the money to get the gas service restored.

What was I thinking?  We never took the time to just go out on dates and get to know each other.

This is one habit that I have to change going forward.   Meet a nice man.  Decide to go on a few dates, then a few more, get to know each other.   Only after dating for some time, make the decision if the relationship should become sexual.

I think this is how grownups do it.

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