Of all of the “ism’s” that create issues ageism among gay men is among the most destructive. In this month’s post, I explore the attitudes we have towards one another and the possibilities that we have for a healthier dialogue between generations.
Being Older and nota Daddy.
By any account, at 54, I am an older gay man. I’m lucky that I have never felt particularly traumatized by my age despite what gay culture tells me. I’ve been “older” for almost twenty years now.
I’m not saying that everyone is uncomfortable with their age. There are a significant number of “daddy” types who embrace and celebrate that identity. But, what if, like me, you will likely never fit into that category. I don’t have that energy. I don’t want to fit anyone else’s stereotype.
Shifts in Attraction Dynamics as We Get Older.
When I was first coming out I was mainly attracted to guys over thirty. They felt more intellectually compatible than the guys I was meeting my own age.
As I got older things changed. My attractions expanded in both directions.I believe that I can be powerfully attracted to, and compatible with a man of almost any age. But, as age gaps expand I have perspectives that are more and more foreign to a partner from a different generation. Things get more challenging. Much like bridging cultures.
Our friends can be less than supportive if they feel that the age difference between ourselves and our new love interest is too wide. Young men can express revulsion at the idea of someone much older. Older men can judge a younger partner as immature, and un-worldly.
In a recent Queerty article it was posited that perhaps we have become overly sensitive to large age gaps because we are so often accused of being pedophiles. Are we supporting that judgment by thinking of ourselves predators?
Sugar Daddies and Sugar Babies.
For some young men the possibility of an easy life can be hard to resist. I was never willing to give up my independence for that. The kept younger man exists, but most really bright young men won’t fall into that trap.
That dynamic is not a given in multigenerational relationships. Youth does not necessarily imply lack of financial success. Being older does not automatically include wealth. The wealthy older gay man is also just another stereotype that does not serve us.
It's About Deeper Compatibility
Most successful relationships are based on something more than physical, or financial, attraction. If those more superficial qualities are important to you that’s fine, but don’t expect the “love” to last when your looks, or your money go away.
If you are powerfully attracted to someone, you enjoy his company, and you have enough things in common that you can make it through life’s challenges, then you’re on the right track. It doesn’t mean it’ll last for ever. I’m on number four. It does mean that the relationship will be a powerful experience that will impact you for the rest of you life. Relationships are there to help us grow.