‘I have a problem that many would not, on the surface, see as a problem: I’m getting hit on by men in their early twenties—a lot.’
I’m riding my Segway home from a movie at 11 pm on a Monday night. I stop at the light on Broadway and Prince Street, and a handsome young man walks up to me and says, “Do you realize how cool you are? I’ve always wanted to ride one of those.”
After a spin around Soho, I drop him back at the subway, and we exchange cell numbers. By the next evening, I’m meeting him in Union Square for a date. We’re on the Segway again, as I talk about my recent 60th birthday celebrations, I ask him how old he is.
I almost crash. This is the first time I’ve been on a date with a man who could be my grandson.
I have a problem that many would not, on the surface, see as a problem: I’m getting hit on by men in their early twenties—a lot.
He reminded me of myself when I was younger. I, too, enjoyed the company of older men; my contemporaries often bored me. He seemed to be an old soul, but by our fifth date, the kid with father/authority issues took over, and it wasn’t all fun. We slowed down, changed course and worked it out. We remain in touch—at a distance.
Recently, it was a 25-year-old I met on Grindr. Then there’s this 24-year-old who’s returning from Turkey next week. I usually think they’re older. The Turk has a full beard and is very much an “I’m in charge” kind of guy. That appeals to me. In most of my life, I’m the man in front of the room, the leader, so in romance, I like to relax. However, I can’t cede power to a clueless kid. So, what am I getting myself into?
I understand the seduction of it: the charm, the brightness, the excitement of skin that still fits. The parent in me, the avuncular mentor, is also activated. It’s not just physical. It feels good to be appreciated for my life experience while also being seen as hot.
Being a Hot Daddy brings all kinds of warning labels and limitations. Is this a subtle (or not so subtle) form of self-sabotage? A new version of pursuing the unavailable man? Getting involved with a man 10 or 20 years younger doesn’t phase me. Thirty-plus years younger feels like too much.
Therefore, I make sure to also date men closer to my own age. I had a date with a 69-year-old recently, and he was truly hot. (Unfortunately, he lives in California’s Napa Valley.) I’m eager to be non-ageist here and take each man on a one-to-one basis. I counsel clients to not live in policies, to be in the present and examine the actual situation, to look at the individual in front of them and ask, “What’s the best relationship I can have with this person?” I wonder, however, if some policies simplify and facilitate rather than merely limit. The statement “I don’t date men under 40!” sounds rigid but also oddly liberating. I’ve made a date for this weekend with a 45-year-old. I have a date for next week with the young Turk upon his return. For the moment, I’m holding the contradictions. We’ll see where it leads me. I’m playing a very broad field at 60 and proceeding with caution.