Dr. Joe Kort
I’m 58 and have never had a lover, although I’ve always dreamed of having one. Surely I must be doing something wrong? But I feel I’ve waited too long, and that today’s gay culture won’t now be interest in an old guy. It seems that “attractive” and “successful” are the only attributes anyone cares about.
Am I unique in this search? I live alone, have no relatives and few friends—most of them straight and most of them only at work.
Single-In in Spartanburg
I want to help become singled OUT! So many gay men tell me they want a relationship, but what they really want is a…
…meaningful overnight relationship! They don’t consciously realize it, but their behavior says so, loud and clear. From childhood on up. Western culture is brainwashed to believe we cannot be happy unless we can maintain a committed relationship. Well, that’s not so! Yes, it’s nice to have a partner, someone you can go through life with-if that is what you want. But it’s not for everyone. So really the first questions you need to ask yourself is, “Do I really want a partner?” Really?
Your next question to consider is why you aren’t more social with other gays and lesbians, especially outside of work? What might you be avoiding or hiding from? To find a partner, you must be willing to get out and exposed to others. Dating requires this. IF you stay around colleagues and straight people, you won’t find a partner as quickly, if at all.
Most gay men labor under the fallacy that our culture is interested only in attractive, successful men. The media and the magazines all promote this stereotype. In fact, even though I’m heartened to see gay men on television more and more, sometimes I think it makes things harder for us gays in managing our ordinary personal lives. TV sitcoms and dramas tend to focus primarily on you, attractive, successful and relationship-oriented characters. Many gay viewers naturally assume that’s the norm that we too should aim for. We’re being forced into the same position as our straight counterparts-which is good and bad.
You should stop looking to the media for an ideal of what is right for-wrong with- you, personally. Go inside yourself and decide, what it is that you want.
If you are going to find Mr. Right, you will need to market yourself. And that means becoming more social with other gay men who will either be attracted to you or know someone with whom they can fix you up.
And finally, the prejudice of ageism is a real issue that does affect everybody-gay, straight and in between. I do notice its being more prevalent among males. And given that we gay men for an all0male cultures, ageism is present inevitably. Yes, it would be easy to use that as an excuse to give up! And yes, you might get a lot of grudging discouragement from people who are age-negative themselves, who accept the reality of ageism, and would warn you there is no hope. To that I say NO! We cannot let limitations, real or imagined, block us from getting what we want. Neither should you.
One client of mine, 70 years old, gets more sexual, romantic and relational action that any 20 to 40 year-old guy I know. Because of his positive attitude, he doesn’t consider himself too old. Even more importantly, he doesn’t restrict himself to any age group or a certain “type” of guy. Read gay personal ads, and you’ll see whole shopping lists of traits men seek-or won’t accept-in a casual hookup, much less a LTR!
Plenty of you g men seek older partners, attracted to the maturity and wisdom that comes from having reached 58 or even older! Investigate the online dating sites for older gay men and their admirers or join blogs that discuss this issue-of which there are many. Google “older gay men and their admirers” to find very good sites. I recall a greeting card featuring a model dressed as Uncle Sam, wearing an earring and eye shadow. The message inside read, “You’re a grand old fag!” Always remember that as a Gay Elder, you have much to offer to your peers as a friend, and as a partner, plenty to offer those your age and those your than yourself.