Friday, October 8, 2010
The gay community, like others, enforces certain 'standards' when it comes to appearance. Youth and 'beauty are prized above all else. These standards then reflect upon who (or is it whom) we are 'allowed' to date. Allowed, that is, by the peer pressure we receive if we chose to date someone outside the expected 'range'.
I often hear from various Hunters with whom I speak comments like, "I love being f*cked by a hot daddy, but I could never date one. My friends would make fun of me if did." I've been the recipient of this sort of 'pressure' myself. When my most recent relationship first began, the young man was very nervous about introducing me to his friends, worried how they'd react to his dating someone old enough to be his father (he is 26, I am 48). He spun it, of course, that the issue was really around 'interests' and such, that he was concerned about the lack of interests between his group of friends and me. When I pressed him, he admitted that it really had little to do with a potential lack of things in common, rather he was worried that he'd be pinged on by his running buddies for dating old guys. I've had similar experiences in less 'serious' relationships. I was semi-regular FB's with a really, REALLY hot younger guy (smooth, body of a marathon runner, total bottom, an amazing appreciation for aggressive sex). He was, in fact, the first person to actually call me 'Daddy' during certain intimate moments. At a certain point in our friendship, I mentioned that if the situation was a little different, I was recently out of a serious relationship from which I'd yet to recover, I'd pursue romantic relationship with him. His response, "Oh, I could never date someone as old as you". He was 31 at the time, I was 42 or 43. We'd just finished having hot, monkey sex, still lying naked and sweaty in my bed. He was perfectly happy to spread his legs for me, and call me 'daddy' while I mounted him or tongued his hole, but date someone my age, no way.
The reverse is also true. Many of my friends have commented that my recent relationship couldn't possibly be of consequence, because the fellow is so young. I've more than once been jokingly referred to as a 'cougar', 'cradle robber' or 'troll' even by close friends. My parents only ever refer to him as my 'friend' or my 'buddy', not boyfriend, believing it impossible that we could be dating. I've heard from many Daddies that as much as they like dating younger guys, they are also criticized by their peers for doing so.
When it comes to two consenting adults, I believe it is unacceptable for society to dictate to us in whom we should fall in love or with whom it is acceptable for us to create a relationship. The heart wants what it wants. The dick wants what it wants.
Okay, some guys set their standards so high as to be unrealistic, making the chance of finding love nearly impossible. I believe many use these standards as a self-defense mechanism, to make up for being gay,("if the guy I date is so totally hot, nobody will be able to criticize me for being gay, or fat, or short, etc., etc., etc.). But these are actions, people do to themselves. It is not acceptable for society or our peers to do the 'limiting' for us. I believe that to each his own. If my standards are so high that I can't find anybody who meets them, and I end up alone every Saturday night, fine. I am doing that to myself. But nobody else gets to do it for me.
At least that is what THIS DADDY thinks.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
The New York Times
September 30, 2010, 11:57 am
Gray, Gay…and Worried
By PAULA SPAN
David and his partner, Paschal, together for more than 20 years, married during the brief period that same-sex marriages were legal in California. They’re in their 60s, in decent health and financial shape. Yet thinking about their future makes David uneasy.
With an eldercare system (if you can call it a system) that depends on younger family members shouldering responsibility for older ones, perhaps any childless and aging couple would share his concerns. But gay men and lesbians face particular challenges, as David pointed out to me in a recent e-mail.
Let him count the ways. “The guys who are 65 and older now generally came of age, and came out, when doing so meant alienation from your family,” David wrote. “Many of the older gays I know are still estranged.” They don’t feel they can rely on younger relatives for help.
David and Paschal (citing privacy concerns, they asked that their full names not be used) expect to have to care for themselves — not because they’re estranged from family members, but because their nieces and nephews live far away. So David is considering other options.
If the couple wanted to retire to Paschal’s home state in the South, where senior housing communities would be much less expensive, “we’d have a hard time finding a life care facility that would accept us as a married couple,” David wrote. “And I doubt the other residents would be too welcoming if we did get in. And church-sponsored places — often a good value for straight folks — are largely not available for open gays.”
A number of researchers have found that, for those reasons, older gay men and lesbians sometimes conceal their sexual orientation when they enter nursing homes or assisted living facilities, effectively recloseting themselves at one of life’s most vulnerable passages.
At older ages, too, a number of the federal policies that protect married couples come into force, leaving gay men and lesbians, even those who marry in their own states, at a comparative financial disadvantage. Paschal’s Social Security benefits, for instance, are considerably greater than David’s, but David won’t be eligible for the spousal and survivor benefits that other widowers receive should something happen to Paschal.
Inheritance and tax laws that protect opposite-sex spouses don’t apply (although federally regulated retirement plan distributions have been made more equitable). Nor do Medicaid provisions that allow one spouse to remain in the couple’s home when the other enters a nursing home.
A study by the Urban Institute and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation documented many of these inequities in 2004, and its conclusions remain largely unchanged.
“It was a different world for people now in their 70s and 80s,” said Sandra Butler, professor of social work at the University of Maine, who has studied aging among gay men and lesbians. “Anybody fears going into a nursing home, but it’s an added fear if you think you might not be safe there, or you think you can’t find a paid caregiver to come into your home who will treat you with respect.”
One bright spot, David pointed out, are the friendship networks that sustain many lesbians and gay men. He saw this community in action when its members nursed one another (and buried many) during the height of the AIDS crisis. “There are often emotional supports available that are not based in a biological family, but are real and valuable assets,” he wrote.
But such “families of choice” may be less effective later in life, as members cope with age-related illnesses and frailty themselves.
Organizations that serve the gay population recognized these issues more than 30 years ago. The oldest group for seniors, Sage (an acronym for Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders), was founded in 1978 and will unveil a new, federally financed National Resource Center on LGBT Aging next month.
A few housing and care facilities especially for gay seniors have opened around the country, including Openhouse in San Francisco, Rainbow Vista near Portland, Ore., and Rainbow Vision in Santa Fe, N.M.
The most encouraging development for gay seniors may be the most intangible: a long-term shift in American attitudes.
“The gay rights movement has been a spectacularly successful movement for cultural change,” Andrew Koppelman, a law professor at Northwestern University, declared in a New York Times article last week. The so-called post-Stonewall generation may have less to fear as it ages.
But that change hasn’t come fast enough to reassure David as he mulls his future with Paschal. “This list of anxieties can get quite long,” he said.
Paula Span is the author of “When the Time Comes: Families With Aging Parents Share Their Struggles and Solutions.”
I live alone (well except for a spoiled, willful, ill-behaved border collie) in a small house near a big lake, that couldn't be less well suited to age in if it tried. While the place has 6 doors which allow access from the outside, none of them can be reached without going up or down a flight or two of stairs. The bedroom is all the way at the top of the house, the laundry room is all the way at the bottom of the house. I am already telling people that when I renovate the downstairs, I'll turn the bathroom down there into a 'handicap accessible' room. Whenever I tell folks this they are shocked, "But you are so young. Why are you thinking about this stuff now?" Okay, 48 is hardly 'old', but being a single gay man of a certain 'vintage', one is forced to begin to think about this stuff.
My young man and I have recently had conversations on this topic. While we are blessed to be sharing this time together, we each realize that our time together may be limited (for example, he is leaving the Pacific NW soon for graduate school in another state). It was very sweet when he recently offered to make a 'pact'. He wanted to 'commit' to being there for me, despite our likely no longer being romantic partners, if and when I became unable to take care of myself (say when the spoiled, ill-behaved border collie knocks me down the stairs and I break a hip). I don't know how realistic this might be, but it was both sweet and thoughtful of him to want to 'honor' our time together in this way, however long this time might last. I am a very lucky man.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
While it may be true that 40 is the new 30, 30 no longer being considered 'gay death' as it was in my day, it is still the case that many in our culture devalue men of the more 'mature' set. Many young guys worry about aging and fear it will result in the end of their romantic lives. While it may have taken me many years to figure this out, I truly believe that nothing could be further from the truth.
While I never would have thought this when younger, I feel empowered by growing older. I have a patience and an appreciation for life that I greatly lacked when I was younger. I hope both of these qualities continue to increase as the years fly past. I love my gray hair (well, salt and pepper at this point, but still). Sure, I wish I was skinnier. And sure, I wish I was more successful. In some ways I am more of a 'never was' than a 'has been', as there is much in my life I hoped to achieve and did not. But, how many of us really achieve all of the goals we set for ourselves?
I don't know about other guys, but I've found myself doing a lot of 'evaluating' lately of my life, where it has been, and to where I hope it will go. Part of this evaluating, may have to do with the landmark which was my 30th high school reunion. But, perhaps only a little, as I was sort of in evaluating mode well before that august event.
Never known for having a perky attitude, at 48, I am happier than I've ever been. I turn down more sex than I ever thought someone at my age would be offered. I have good friends; I've experienced love again; I have a house I love; and, I am finding new skills and interests that would never have occurred to me as few as ten years ago.
Is life perfect? No. Will I experience personal and professional disappointments again, yes. But on the whole, is life good? Yes.
So, I'd say being an 'Elite kind of guy' isn't a bad thing, it is a good thing. A very good thing.
At least, that is what THIS DADDY thinks.
Monday, October 4, 2010
One of the truisms in the Daddy/Hunter culture is that all Daddies spend their time perpetually in search of the 'perfect' boy? Unfortunately, for some of us, this is all too true. As our culture is so focused on youth, it can be hard to swim against this tide. We ‘grow up’ in this culture being inculcated with this thinking. If we go along with it, though, aren't we damning ourselves to a life of disappointment, set up for failure by holding onto unreasonable expectations? In THIS DADDY’s experience there are lots and lots of single, younger Hunters who, against all odds, think older Daddies are hot. They are crawling all over the Internet, searching and searching for a hot Daddy to date. All you have to do is look on Daddyhunt, or other such venues and see profile after profile of younger Hunters looking to date older Daddies. Sure, some of these profiles are fake, some of the Hunters are flakes, some have more issues than almost anybody could deal with, but still. Why do so many worthy older Daddies pass by equally worthy younger Hunters, both ending up alone on a Saturday night? I know why: unrealistic expectations. Sure, in a perfect world, hot young Hunters would throw themselves at older Daddies. They'd be forever young and beautiful, and always ready to get down and get 'funky' with their favorite Daddy. But, this isn't a perfect world. Maybe it is time to start considering a 'boy' over 30 or, heaven forbid, even over 40). Maybe it is time to at least try to see if 'chemistry' works with Hunters a little outside your normal 'comfort zone'. What do you have to lose? Nothing. And maybe you have a great deal to gain.
At least that is what THIS DADDY thinks.