Though you can’t avoid death, no one mentioned the long, slow decline that occurs between being young and virile, and the point when you gasp your last breath. You know, the part where your babysitter — your 25 year old, very sexy babysitter, the one you fantasize about in spite of all your best efforts — makes a comment about a single male friend who visited recently, who is five years younger than you — oh, the look of horror, of uncomprehension on her face! — that being with someone who is that old would be like going out with a, with a, well — with a pedophile. And I’m thinking, wait! Aren’t I at least potentially still hot? Why are you even saying this in front of me? D-o y-o-u t-h-i-n-k I c-a-n’-t h-e-a-r y-o-u?
Or this — I’m in a class with much younger people, and I’m paired with this woman who is drop-dead stunning — the kind of stunning where she doesn’t even know it, just this easy comfort with her body, her…mouth, but whatever, she’s, what, 25, maybe 30 years younger than me, and I just don’t exist for her. I do not exist. I’m this old guy and she’s just got to grit her teeth and get through this exercise.
Now, I should note that I do not, in fact, look my age (51). I appear to be trim and fit. I do not even act my age. And I try to keep up with shit. But I notice that I’m slowly drifting into old mannish land. I remind myself of Kevin Spacey in American Idol — I feel as though I should start pumping iron or something. It’s no longer high school girls, though, that feel like “girls” to me. It’s full-grown women, women of 25, even 30, who seem so far out of the park to me. They feel like high school girls used to seem to me not so long ago. Damn. This is going downhill fast. I’m going to have to get a hobby.
I notice too that there’s this element of “danger” that’s missing in their perception of me. When a guy is seen as sexually viable, there’s a caution — I don’t know what it is, but from old mannish land, it’s as though you are no longer a sexual threat. You can’t be taken seriously in that way anymore. No reason to put the guard up. Imagining this in an exaggerated way — it’s as though she might walk around half-naked and then be completely surprised, caught completely off-guard, that you — this nice man — would be hotly aroused and want to jump her bones (and be quite capable of doing it). It just wouldn’t occur to her. That’s what this old mannish thing is like right now, and I don’t like it at all.
Update: It occurs to me that this probably has everything to do with the wedding ring stuck on my finger. Duh!