An Opinionated Daddy's View of Life

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ditto, Ditto, Ditto, Ditto.....

I came across the following article today whilst 'flipping through' the Huffington Post.  I am not sure I agree with everything included in the article, and I am not sure my experience dating in, "middle age," is as 'upbeat' as it would lead one to believe, but I did find it interesting.

A Gay Man At Midlife Ponders Being Lonely And ‘Invisible'

A Gay Man at Midlife Ponders Being Lonely and ‘Invisible’


Every other Tuesday, Steven Petrow, the author of Steven Petrows Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners, (Workman, 2011), addresses questions about gay and straight etiquette for a boomer-age audience. Send questions for Civil Behavior to

 Q. Dear Civil Behavior: Your comment in a recent column about gays at midlife finding themselves “suddenly invisible — aged out by the young, restless and beautiful” resonated loudly with me. At 59 I am single and almost friendless. I live in Philadelphia, which has a reasonably sized gay community, yet I feel like an outsider. Many of my friends died two decades ago and my contemporaries have started retiring to Florida. I would like to go out dancing sometimes, but I don’t feel comfortable going to bars anymore. The Internet seems full of people looking to do drugs. I remember the distaste we all once had for “old people,” but I’m tired of staying home on weekends. Do you have any advice? —Stephen W., Philadelphia
A. Dear Stephen: Believe me, I understand “the middle ages” can be difficult for anyone, gay or straight. After all, wasn’t it Phyllis Diller who cracked: “Maybe it’s true that life begins at 50 ... but everything else starts to wear out, fall out or spread out.” The ability to laugh — and laugh at ourselves — is key to our happiness.

Still, there are some unusual and disproportionate challenges to aging within the gay community that your experiences highlight. “Many L.G.B.T. older people experience high rates of social isolation,” says Michael Adams, executive director of Services and Advocacy for G.L.B.T. Elders, an organization dedicated to helping older members of our community. “We’re twice as likely to be single and to live alone, and three to four times as likely to be childless. And many of us are estranged from our families of origin, and so are only half as likely as our heterosexual counterparts to have close relatives to lean on for help.” Adding salt to these wounds, a 2004 study, “Old, Gay, and Alone?” reported that 44 percent of older gay men “feel disconnected from or even unwelcomed by younger generations of L.G.B.T. people.”

This isolation is partly explained by our community’s extraordinary place in history. Many of us lost lovers, friends and family in the depths of the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic, so we find ourselves short on these lifelines just when we need them most. (This might also help explain why the situation is more difficult for gay men than it is for lesbians: The study I noted previously showed that lesbians “tended to have networks that were more resilient and showed less fluctuation in response to changes with aging,” probably because their support networks were not nearly as devastated by H.I.V./AIDS as gay men’s were.) Those who survived the plague can only be grateful — yet, like you, these losses continue to prick our hearts.

But before we start taking meds, host pity parties or just become shut-ins, let’s remember that our generation is still one powerfully large cohort, and our sheer numbers dictate that we confront ageism in our community. Consider Stu Maddux’s award-winning documentary, “Gen Silent,” which garnered so much attention by putting a face on the plight of older members of our community. “They’re often afraid to ask for help or are isolated from their families,” Mr. Maddux told me, adding, “The good news is that mainstream aging organizations are waking up and realizing, yes, these folks do have unique issues we have to address.”

So if you’re determined to find friends or even lovers, of any age, what do you do? First off, you’ve got to be willing to go out into the world or you’re not going to meet people, period. If bars don’t work for you, stay out of them. Second, friendships can’t be taken for granted or put on autopilot; in fact they often take more energy than what some people are willing to invest in them. Ask yourself: 

Are you willing to do that?
If the answer is yes, start by doing a quick search for your nearest L.G.B.T. community center; you’ll probably be amazed by the number of activities on tap like those at the William Way Center near you in Philadelphia. Nationwide, our generation has founded its own social and support networks, like Prime Timers Worldwide (with more than 80 chapters in the United States and a smattering overseas), Old Lesbians Organizing for Change and the National Association of Black and White Men Together.

But let’s not completely write off the Millennials and Gen Xers, many of who are interested in befriending folks our age (if not seeking more). As a 30-year-old posted on my Facebook page in response to your question, “I find having friends who are gay and older helps me learn about the gay community’s past struggles and truly understand where we have come from, where we are now, and where we’re going as a society.” Another, a happily partnered woman, suggested that you “Look for people who like older people and enjoy being with them. They’re out there to be found. I know, because one found me.”

Of course, at 59 you’re only six years away from retirement, when you can join your brothers and sisters in Florida or Palm Springs. Believe me, you’ll be considered quite the spring chicken when you get to those communities. Above all, try to remember we’re lucky we’ve gotten to see and live through our middle years; so many of our loved ones did not. 

 Ditto, Ditto, Ditto, Ditto.....

At least, that is what THIS DADDY thinks.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

As Time Goes By

When referring to changes in the unemployment rate, members of the media often comment on how the number stated does not reflect those long term unemployed who have essentially given up looking for work.  In the context of dating, perhaps if speaking on the number of single, gay men, they might refer to the number of middle-aged dudes who've given up on finding a romantic partner. An unpleasant concept, isn't it?

I know, I know, one is supposed to keep a positive attitude and be grateful for how things are.  I often write about how much I enjoy aspects of aging and how much better is my life than it is have ever been before.  I gets hard, though, to keep up a positive attitude about dating, at least I have been finding it so of late.

I am told I still possess a certain charm.  Despite my surprise at others finding it so, I am told I am still an attractive man.  But charming or attractive as I am told, facing another Friday night alone, hanging out at home with my crazy dog, wasting time watching bad TV, just doesn't sound appealing.

Whah, whah, whah, I know I sound like a Debbie Downer.  And, as I've written before, being pitiful is never sexy.  But, it is my blog, I get to write about what I want and how I feel.  Dating has ups and it has downs.  I try to remind myself that writing a blog on dating will reflect my experience, both positive and negative.  It has just been so negative lately, it would seem whining about it wouldn't be appealing to my readers.

Okay, okay...deep breath, deep breath. Things will get better.  Hard to believe at times, perhaps...but they will.

At least, that is what THIS DADDY thinks.

 "As Time Goes By" performed by Billie "Lady Day" Holiday. Composed by Herman Hupfeld for the 1931 Broadway Musical "Everybody's Welcome" but more famously known for Dooley Wilsons' version in the 1942 movie "Casablanca".

Friday, March 8, 2013

Daddy Haiku #3

I like my gray hair.
I like my hazel/green eyes.
They tell who I am. 

You Know You Are Getting Old When.....

Not long ago (Sunday, April 22, 2012) in a posting entitled, "Younger Than Spring Time..."
I wrote about how and by whom I was 'imprinted' with regards to the type of guy it is to whom I am attracted.

As I wrote at the time, "John Kerr was an actor who played, " 2LT Joseph Cable, USMC " in the movie version of, "South Pacific". Tall, slender, almost slight, at an early age (7 perhaps) I know he made my 'fun parts' tingle. After seeing him wonder around shirtless and barefoot, then making love' to Liat (a beautiful, Pacific Islander girl played by, France Nuyen), I was hooked."

Well, my 'imprinter' recently passed away (John Kerr Obituary).  Maybe I am weird, but learning that Mr. Kerr had died has added to the log pile of occurrences making me more acutely aware of my mortality.  Sigh, getting old is not for weak of heart.

I never got to meet Mr. Kerr in person and, as you can read in his Wikipedia entry or his IMDB posting, he hasn't led a public life in many years. I wonder, had I been able to meet him how he would have felt at being informed of the lasting effect he had on me.  Funny isn't it, how some of the most insignificant things that we do sometimes have major impacts on others, without even knowing what we've done or even that we've made any impact at all.

As I wrote at the time, there are times that I wish I'd imprinted on someone else.  It is the orthodoxy, at least here in Seattle, that a short, stocky, hairy, older is only allowed to be attracted to others of his own type.  Well, right or wrong, for good or ill, I am stuck with an attraction to taller; lean, almost slight guys, with nice feet.  Instead of, "Damn you, John Kerr! Damn you to h*ll!," as I teasingly wrote in that earlier article, now I write seriously, "Thank you, John Kerr! Thank you all the way to heaven."  To me, you'll always be, "Younger than Spring Time."

At least, that is what, THIS DADDY thinks.

The classic 1958 Rogers & Hammerstein movie. Rights belong to MGM and 20th Century Fox and others. This video viewable everywhere except Germany.