One of my dissertation respondents said "I hate being gay! It's ok now, but what about when I'm 50? I don't want to still be dancing at the Rage!"
Another said, in all seriousness, "There aren't any old gay men. They all die before they reach 40."
Crazy ideas. There are, and always have been, lots of gay men in their 40s. And 50s. And 60s, And so on.
And they have a big secret that they aren't sharing with the young guys:
Gay life gets better after 40. And better than that after 50.
If you haven't hit those milestones yet, here are 10 things the older guys don't want you to know:
2. Everyone will want to hear your stories. Forget about Grandpa Simpson, who bores everyone with his tales of jitterbugging on the Hindenburg. Everyone will be interested in your stories of the Dark Ages, when gay people were invisible, closeted, assumed not to exist. And the riotous years of Gay Liberation. Mention the concept of "sharing" one's roommates and boyfriends, and watch their eyes widen.
4. You'll have a lot more stuff. When I moved to West Hollywood in 1985, I had $100 in my pocket and everything I owned in the back seat of my 1975 Dodge Dart. Now I have roomfuls of furniture, 1000 books, 1000 DVDs and Blurays, 2 computers, about 50 shirts, a retirement account, and more than $100 in the bank..
5. You'll be able to stay home on Saturday night without guilt. In your 20s and 30s, you have to be going out on a date or out with friends, or inviting someone over, every Friday and Saturday night, no exceptions. Staying home alone is a sign that you are antisocial, socially inept, or a loser. Now I can stay home if I want, no explanations, no apologies.
6. You will have a ready-made excuse to get out of anything.
I can't do the laundry -- I pulled a muscle at the gym.
I can't go to dinner with your parents -- I'm coming down with a cold.
I can't make it to work today -- I ate something that disagreed with me.
Those excuses didn't work when you were 15, but at 45, no one disputes your body aches or finicky stomach.
7. No one will pressure you to date women. In your 20s and 30s, it's a constant, from everyone you're not out to, and quite a few that you are: Do you have a girlfriend? Are you looking? What about her? Or her? Or her?" In your 40s, the interrogations stop. If you're not married with children by now, they figure, you never will be. Peace at last!
8. You will have a toolkit to handle any problems that arise. Chances are, whatever happens to you -- romantic problem, boss from hell, noisy neighbor -- has happened to you before. You will know how to handle everyday hassles and even major crises.
9. You will remember a time when things were much, much worse. Today we tend to measure homophobia by whether or not you will cater a gay wedding. In the 1980s, it was whether or not you wanted gay people sent to concentration camps.
You have 2/3rds of it left, in a well-furnished apartment with a decent physique, and an army of Cute Young Things banging at your door.
See also: A Guy with Daddy Issues Tears My Clothes Off; and 10 Easy Steps to Hooking Up with Twinks