An Opinionated Daddy's View of Life

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged

As you, my regular readers may know, I am newly single after a rather wonderful relationship with a much younger man named Sam. I turn 49 in a few weeks, he turned 27 last Spring. This relationship was, without a doubt, the most loving, enjoyable, and healthiest relationship I've ever experienced. Now that it is over, sadly, I am back in the social/dating scene, this after 2.5 years away from it. Well, unfortunately, unlike wine, things have not gotten better with age. Oh, don't get me wrong, the boys are still hot, and there are still lots and lots of them who want to spread their legs for me, but the dating experience still sucks ass (and not in the good way).

I have never been the most 'social' of men. Oddly, for an actor, I am awkward in public settings like at a bar or at a party. On stage or on camera, I am the bee's knees. In person, I am awkward and shy. So, naturally, these social milieu (bars, parties, church, etc.) have not been my primary options to meet men for romantic or other reasons (like hooking up). I've generally used social media (back in the old days, personal ads, later BBS's or IRC Chat, and now, Daddyhunt, Silverdaddies, and some of those phone apps designed for such social connections). These have worked pretty well for me. I met my longest term 'ex' (the one who lives 80 feet away with the fat, nelly, skeez he cheated on me with when I was away at the war) I met through an ad in the local alternative newspaper. Sam, my most recent love, I met on Daddyhunt. As you've likely read in my previous writing, we met solely with the intention of being 'hookup buddies'. It just turned out to be more. A great deal more, for which I'll always be glad.

Anyway, I had forgotten during my time away, just how vicious and cutting online dating can be.

Below is a list of comments I've received on the various venues on which I've posted profiles or personal ads specifying that I seek to meet younger men with whom to go on social dates:

"In reality you are just an old man looking for a young dude to fuck", "Is that your real head of hair or hair club for men?", "Ew. You're fugly. (and old)",

I could go on and on, but you get the point. Between flames like this; the often asked question, 'are you generous'; and, the 'dates' that are supposed to be social but end up with, "...well, if you ever want a blow job, let me know." It is enough to give a guy a complex.

Yes, to many I am an 'old man', though compared to back in my day when 30 meant death, 50 really does seem the new 30, as they say. And yes, I most certainly like to fuck younger dudes. Who doesn't? Is there something wrong with that, I mean, as long as they are of an appropriate age, of course, and as long as they are just as interested in me doing so. I don't judge what other consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms, why do others? Yes, I do have a full head of curly dark (though mostly gray at this point) hair. It is, like it or not, all my own. Every single curly, dark, graying strand of it. And yes, I am (to some, but then aren't we all) 'fugly and old'. But, isn't that all a matter of taste? Get over it. Don't those guys who take the time to write such unpleasant things to total strangers have better things to do? I know I certainly do.

I don't know about you, gentle reader, but I have a very full and busy life. I have an ancient house that is always in need of repair; a crazy dog that always needs some attention; multiple jobs; etc. I just don't understand how folks like this have the time, let alone the predisposition, to be so nasty to someone they don't know. When I am writing a profile, or placing a person ad, I work very hard to be very clear about what I seek. I tailor the titles of the ads to attract the attention of only those folks with complimentary interests.

As to being 'generous', sorry. I am not. While I certainly see nothing wrong with exchanging money for sex, I wouldn't do it, but if that is how someone who chooses to make a living, fine. If there are guys out there who wish to pay for that service, even finer. I am a really, 'live and let live' kind of guy. But doesn't it seem a tad presumptuous to assume because I am an older guy, I must therefore be more than happy to open my wallet so that some young guy will then open his legs or his mouth?

I see nothing wrong with arranging to give a stranger a blow job. Not really my thing (well, I am a top, of course; but I mean, casual, meet online sex of some sort, not necessarily one particular type of, sex act or another), but for heaven sake, if that is what you want to do, say that. Don't dick around and act like you want to meet for 'coffee' to explore being friends or as a sort of a 'date' when all you want is to get on your knees and suck my wang. It is demeaning that you'd waste both my time and yours. Be direct. Isn't it more efficient to ask for what you seek up front? Aren't you more likely to get the desired end result if you deal with folks seeking the same?

Sigh. I don't know if it is an age thing, or quality of life thing, or what. But, I am really sensitive about the wastage of time these days. I try not to waste mine. Or if I do, it is because I decide to do so, which is my choice. Like taking a nap on a perfectly good sunny summer day. Here in Seattle, such days are precious and few. But, it is my time to waste, after all. If I want to nap when I should be at the beach or the park, so be it.

Life is too short. It should be savored and full of joy and happiness. It needn't be about negativity and meanness. I prefer to date younger guys. You don't like it, tough. Don't date me. Some younger guys seem to prefer dating older guys. Again, you don't like it, tough. It's their lives, not yours. This judging of people for silly reasons like this is not, I think, what we should be focusing our time upon. Look, don't get me wrong, I do a bit of judging myself. That doesn't make it okay. I also work really hard to try and not be as judgmental and self-righteous as might be my nature (if you'd grown up with a Mom like mine, you'd have a hard time with this too). Nobody is perfect and most folks, I am convinced, have a sense of their own 'issues'. Any such issues are theirs to work through, not yours about which to make judgment. To those haters out there, get a life.

At least, that is what THIS DADDY thinks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Come Out, Come Out, Where Ever You Are

Almost exactly 31 years ago I did something that has effected all aspects of my life...I took the following oath, "I, THIS DADDY, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God. I swear That I am fully aware and fully understand the conditions under which I am enlisting."

At the time I was a callow, very religious young man. I was also a total homo. I knew it as much back then as I do now. I'd never done anything about it, I was only 17, after all, and I was hoping against hope that I'd change. In my heart of hearts I knew I wouldn't, but still, young men are, as you know, quite idealistic. I knew at the time that being gay and being in the military were, in many ways, antithetical. I've often been asked about the dichotomy of swearing that oath, yet at the same time disobeying an order, i.e. being gay. For me it boils down to this: I come from a military family and service, gay or not, for me was never in doubt. I just never thought it would last for as long as it has.

In my time, I've been both on active duty and served as a reservist. I've traveled the world, spying on the godless commies. I've tracked terrorists in the Pacific Rim. I've served with coalition partners, always impressed with their patriotism and professionalism. I've met some amazing people and risen to a position of authority, of which that 17 year old could only have dreamed. Not in the grand scheme of things, am I any big deal, but lets just say that most of the folks with whom I interact when in uniform are required to salute me and call me, 'Sir'. And what daddy doesn't like that?

As of 1201 (0001, as we call it), 20 SEP 2011, one significant aspect of my service will change: I can serve openly as a gay man. It isn't like most of my friends haven't figured it out. I mean, while I am on the masculine end of the spectrum, I've never taken a date to a function. I've never been married and nobody has ever met any of my 'significant others'. And, at my age and length of service, it isn't like I've been trying very hard to hide it. What were they gonna do if they found out, make me retire? I was ready to do that anyway. Still, I have served my entire adult life. The thought of not doing so scares me a little. I don't know how not to serve. At one point, during a security clearance investigation, I was even outed. Talk about traumatic. For a while there, it seemed like my whole military career would collapse. Thankfully, for reasons too complicated to explain here, it didn't.

Still, every career must end at some point. And, like it or not, my time is nearing. A very wise man once told me, "Don't leave until they make you leave. Because once it is over, it is over." He didn't actually mean to wait until someone threw me out. Rather, he was just saying that I'd better be damned sure I was ready to leave and to leave only on my own terms. Now, that is the case.

How much longer will I stay in? Who knows? I am so senior, much of the fun has gone out of it. As much as I like and respect many of my comrades, man are those guys and gals rednecks. That "redneckedness" can be hard to take. Now, though, I no longer have to worry about someone finding out I like boys and narking on me. Not that there aren't other reasons I might leave the service, my weight, the fact that there are very few jobs available for someone at my rank. But at least this reason is no longer valid.

Will I make a big deal about coming out, like bringing a male date to an official function and such? No, probably not. That isn't in my nature. Am I proud of the military for finally doing the right thing, absolutely. It often takes a long time, but for all its faults, the military does tend to do the right thing in the end. I am just glad they are doing it on my watch.

My God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America!

At least, that is what THIS DADDY thinks.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nobody Likes Older Guys, Right?

Really? If you believe that, have you looked at all the ads on Craigslist lately for guys looking for "daddies" or "Bro's"? Have you popped onto Silverdaddies or Daddyhunt, or GrayDate and seen just how many 'hunters' or 'boys' post to those sites looking for older guys to date or with whom to have sex.

Okay, I get it. Trust me, I do. Gay society marginalizes older men in general. That is hardly news. Remember, I was young once, no matter how hard that might be to believe. But it (if there is such thing as an 'it' as it relates to gay society) is also critical of younger guys who actively seek to date older guys. The peer pressure that is placed on a younger man who prefers the company of older men is intense.

Being an older dude who dates younger, I've seen this first hand. Intergenerational dating can be tough, especially socially. Introducing each other to family and friends can be extremely awkward for both the older and younger man. When Sam (the young man to whom this blog is dedicated and about whom my experience of having dated I often write) and I first started dating, we spent most of our time alone. Just him, me, the house, and the dog. And, like any relationship, we spent a lot of time (and I do mean a lot) in bed. Like any serious relationship, though, at some point the relations evolves to include things other than the physical. You begin to develop joint interests, etc. Then, of course, as the relationship continues to develop, there comes a time when it is appropriate to introduce your new love to your friends and family. This prospect can be daunting.

Sam is, if nothing else, a confident young man. This, amongst many, is a quality of his I greatly admire. Still, the first time it came to include me in a social event with his friends, he was nervous. He didn't tell me this, of course, until afterward, but the experience was, he assured me later, quite nerve wracking. His friends, mostly from his college days, were visiting from out of town. As he'd not seen them in a long time, and as they'd known he had been dating one of their peers, he had no idea how they'd react to him showing up to dinner with a guy old enough to be his father and introducing him as, 'my boyfriend'. He was, he later related, relieved that they seemed to accept me and that the evening went well. Looking back, I think one of the reasons it went so well was because it was clear how crazy he was about me and I him. Love works in mysterious ways, now doesn't it?

I had similar experiences when introducing him to my friends. I remember the time we had dinner with some friends who are sort of like surrogate parents. I was in the process of buying the little house by the big lake and the topic of mortgages came up. Sam, in his inquisitive way, started asking many questions, one of which was, 'just what is a mortgage and how does it work anyway (remember, Sam grew up in a hippy commune, living in a yurt)?' My friends, ever polite, explained. Afterward though, they asked, 'Is he so young he really doesn't know what a mortgage is? Or was he kidding?' I assured them that he wasn't kidding, though he does have quite a sense of humor. Similarly, when he came along to dinner with another couple with whom I am friends, when he got up to go the bathroom, they said things like, "He is very cute, very funny and smart. But he is so young, it can't be serious. You are crazy if you think it could be."

Crazy, maybe. But aren't all relationships a little crazy? Aren't all relationships about taking risks? Like any kind of relationship, older/younger ones have their own share of dysfunction. There are too many older guys out there who prey on younger ones, looking to exploit their innocence and youth. There is no shortage of older guys who want to control the lives of any younger guy they date. It happens. Alternatively, there are many, many younger guys who want a 'sugar daddy' whose resources they can exploit. There are also those younger guys who seek some sort of replacement parent. Are any of these patterns healthy? No. Will any of them result in happiness or relationship success, no. But does that mean that there is anything wrong in older/younger relationships, no. At least not when both parties go into the relationship with the best of intentions.

If such a relationship is not for you, then it isn't. If it is for me, then it is. You go your way, and I'll go mine. There are many reasons why older guys are attracted to younger guys and younger are attracted to older. Some reasons are good, some not so good. But, that is for the two people in the relationship to decide. Not their friends or family. Don't let the judgments of others influence your choice in romantic partners. If you do, you will likely end up unhappy. The heart (and yes, the dick) wants what it wants. Nothing wrong with that. Remember that.

At least, that is what This Daddy thinks.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Just Who The Hell Is That?

I recently went to a reunion of sorts. It was for the service members with whom I had served in various military reserve units located in the Pacific Northwest during the 80's and 90's.

Upon arrival, it was nice to see some old familiar faces and chat with the men and women with whom I'd served so proudly. As with any such event, there were displays of various kinds, memorabilia, memorials to those we'd lost over the years, etc. On one table lay a stack unmarked proofs of the access badge photos for many former members. A former colleague and I, each with a drink in hand (a common occurrence amongst old sailors like myself), decided to look at them together. As we viewed the array of pictures, we'd each take turns pointing at a picture, naming those faces we remembered. We also took turns reminding each other of the names of those not remembered. At one point, after we'd looked at almost all of the pictures and between the two of us, named almost everybody, I pointed at one of the remaining pictures. I was both honestly wondering just who in the hell was that guy, and thinking, 'he was sort of cute, I ought to remember him.' My friend took one look at the picture, his immediate response: 'that is you, you idiot'. I was completely non-pulsed, I had no idea that was me. And, I certainly had no recollection of ever having been that cute.

Upon reflection, I think that experience is indicative of the disconnect most of us have between how we see and perceive ourselves and how others do so. Maybe it is just me, but I have never had a very good sense of how I look to others. On a good day, I'd say I am passably attractive, for a guy my age, if a bit bearish and rumpled looking. If you've read some of my previous posts, you may remember that I am a rather casual fellow, who doesn't iron his attire, except for his uniforms, and gets all of his clothes at COSTCO. I am hardly the epitome of the stylish, middle-aged, gay man. Even on a bad day, I don't look like a gargoyle and I do still have most of my hair. Still, it is clear, at least to me, that even on one of the rare good days, I most likely only appeal to that narrow segment of our society who find stocky, hairy, older, bearish guys appealing.

I am not my type at all, so I have historically always struggled with the idea of anybody in their right mind finding me attractive. Even in the face of evidence to the contrary in the person of all of those hot boys with whom I've shared my bed lo these many years. Those who know me would be happy to assure you that Sister Mary Sunshine, I am not. But of the many positive things that aging can bring, perspective is one of the most important. At my advanced age, I turn 49 in less than a month, I have learned, after many years of struggling to do so, that I need to give myself a break. I mean, for heaven's sake, if I don't do it, who will? You? We get enough negativity from others, it is only sadistic for us to heap additional negativity upon ourselves. We all have things we need to fix, or at least acknowledge and work to improve them. But those things in no way indicate that we are beyond saving.

Aging, like life, happens. Get over it. Give yourself a break. You aren't as ugly, stupid, mean, cynical, hard to deal with (whatever negative imprint you wish to enforce upon yourself) as you might think. Well, you might be, I suppose, but I doubt it. You aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea, granted. And, especially if you socialize on the internet (the topic of an upcoming blog entry), some folks might not be that shy of affirming that for you. But life is too damned short to add to the negative energy the universe (in this case gay society) foists upon us.

Am I always strong enough to follow this advice myself? No. Nobody is one hundred percent all the time, well, unless they are a megalomaniac. Trust me, after diving back into the dating pool, keeping up my confidence up can be a tough slog. But we each need to recognize this problem of negative reinforcement and build strategies for dealing with it. For me, I'll be honest, therapy and medications help. For you, it might be yoga, veganism, who knows?

Old dudes, you've gained a lot of maturity and experience over the years, leverage them and make them work in your favor. Young dudes, look to your elders, like This Daddy, and take a page from our book. Look, life sucks then ya die. Wouldn't you rather die with a smile on your face? I would. If I've learned anything over all these years, it is that I just don't have time for the negativity, I don't have space for it. Do you? Probably not. I wish I'd figured this out long ago. Old dudes, it is never too late to learn this lessen. Young dudes, it is never too early.

At least, that is what This Daddy thinks.