May 8, 2014

Spring 2002: Age Trumps Beauty

In West Hollywood, there were strict age limits on dating.  More than 5 years older or younger, and you were gossiped about and not invited to parties.

In New York, the lower age limit was gone.  It was perfectly acceptable, even expected, for someone in his late 30s to be seen with a 20-year old Cute Young Thing.

When I moved to Florida in 2001, the upper age limit was gone, too.  It was perfectly acceptable, even expected, for someone in his early 40s to be seen with a 60-year old Daddy.  

Except I wasn't interested.  Guys that age were losing hair and muscle. They often had ex-wives and grown children from long-ago heterosexual marriages.  They were usually closeted.  And 30 years of clandestine activity usually gave them weird fetishes.

So when I met 60-something Troy at the Sunshine Cathedral, a gay church in Fort Lauderdale, I immediately labeled him a "just friend."

We continued to be "just friends" when we started working out together at the Club Fort Lauderdale, and going out to dinner, usually to a Japanese fusion place called Kenji.

Troy was a retired physician who had just come out upon his wife's death.  He was well-versed in Eastern mysticism, the paranormal, and the occult.  He had a gay Tarot cart deck.  We talked about Zen Buddhism and mysterious disappearances and my summer in Japan.    

But I adamantly rebuffed his attempts to get physical.  I was dating another guy from the Sunshine Cathedral, 24-year old Matt, who wasn't very bright, but had 3 of the 5 qualities that I find attractive: muscular, religious, and gifted beneath the belt (#1 on the list of the 15 biggest "sausages" I've ever encountered).

Matt was trying to write a novel about a hard-boiled noir detective who happened to be gay, and in the meantime worked as a night-time security guard.  We usually went out in the early evening, before his shift started.

The only time Matt and Troy saw each other was during Sunday morning services at the Sunshine Cathedral, and once or twice when I invited them both over for dinner.

Or so I thought.

That fall Troy went on a vacation to China and Tibet.  He brought me back a stamp shaped like monkey with Davis in Chinese characters:

丹尼斯 Dān ní sī, "Nice Redhead", which I suppose is is better than Boomer:  杰夫 Jié fū, "Outstanding Husband."

He brought Matt a silk shirt that beautifully highlighted his pecs.  But I didn't think anything of it at the time; he also brought back a souvenir for Yuri, who he barely knew.

I didn't think anything of it when Matt occasionally said that he was too tired to go out, and Troy was also busy.  In your 40s, you can stay home on Friday and Saturday night without feeling guilty.

So I went home for Christmas, to hear my old high school teacher make the most homophobic comment in the world.

After two weeks, I flew back from Rock Island, and Matt and I spent New Year's Eve together.

But on January 4th, Matt said he was too tired to go out before his shift, so I went to the Club by myself.

You know where this is going: Matt and Troy in a dark corner, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.

"We've been dating since Christmas," Matt explained. "I didn't know how to tell you."

Troy just grinned.  Age trumps beauty.

See also: The Georgia Boy and the Cute Young Thing