Plains, February 2016
When I first arrived in the Plains, twinks were approaching me right and left. I couldn't walk through the student union without getting a dozen cruisy smiles. I couldn't go on Grinder without getting 20 messages in 10 minutes.
But during the last few months, things have become decidedly quiet. Fewer cruisy smiles. Dead silence on Grindr.
In January 2016 I "shared" my friend Gabe's date, had a date of my own with a college boy named Dustin, went to a couple of M4M Parties...and that's it.
In February, nothing.
What could be causing this dating slump?
Hubris? Just before my dry spell began, I was bragging to Gabe that I could get any guy under 30. Maybe the hookup gods are punishing me.
Supply and Demand? There must be a finite number of 20-29 year olds who are gay, single, living in the Plains, and into older guys. Maybe I've met everyone available.
Age? I turned 55 in November. Could that be the upper limit of attractiveness? 40 to 54, hot Daddy, and 55+, Geezer?
Why should this bother me? I can get all of older guys I want. Who cares if I'm not a viable bed partner to someone who was born in 1997?
Is it reminding me of my upcoming decline and fall?
Second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Nonsense! Barring accidents and unexpected calamities, I have at least 20 active years yet.
And I've never been one to go gently into that good night. I've got a lot of tricks up my sleeve.
1. Pile on the wit and charm
Many people who are deficient in jaw-dropping gorgeousness get more than their fair share of phone numbers by making themselves the life of the party.
I revise my online dating, Facebook, and Twitter profiles, making the descriptions fun, sharp, and witty, throwing in quotes from Verlaine, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, claiming to be interested in indy music and video games. Then I sit back and wait for the "hi!" messages to begin.
2. Show your smarts
If your wit and charm don't work, there's always your intelligence. Mention your published books and articles. Throw around a few graduate-school words like liminal and discourse. The younger crowd goes wild over erudition.
At the reception afterwards, I see a likely candidate, tall and slim, wearing a bright purple t-shirt. Short-cropped hair and four earrings, two for each ear.
Drink in hand, I approach. "Hi, do you think there are social parallels between Black Lives Matter and the Zoot Suit Riots of the 1940s?"
Presumably he'll have no idea what the Zoot Suit Riots were, so I can explain, and one thing will lead to another.
"That's an interesting idea, sir."
No eye-widening, no smile, no spark. Nothing. Our intellectual conversation is purely intellectual.
Maybe the 40+ crowd isn't so bad. Of course, on the Plains, most of the older gay men have vanished into gay neighborhoods far away, leaving the married, bi-curious, downlow, "I love women, but sometimes I want to be with a guy," "I've never tried anything like this before," "Let's do it while my wife is out shopping."
Ok, I've lost a little muscle mass, and I've put on an inch or so around the belly, but darn it, I still have a 48" chest and 15" biceps, and I can do 50 push-ups in a minute, more than 90% of the twinks at the gym.
I go to the campus gym, put on a t-shirt a size too small, grey to show the outline of my physique better, and start pumping. Vigorously.
I walk up to a thin, pimpled guy struggling with the Nautilus incline press. "Can I squeeze in between your sets?"
He says "Of course, sir."
I push the pin down to twice the weight he's lifting. He ignores me and goes onto his cell phone.
My workout over, I go to the locker room. Just down from my locker, I see Eli, who was in my big lecture class last semester. Not a great student; he got mostly C's. But he was memorable even in a class of 100 for coming in late every day, and for the muscle shirts he wore even in winter: his hard bare shoulders and hint of a smooth chest livened many a winter lecture.
Today, as he's changing into his gym clothes, I get a better look. Short, slim. Round, angelic face. Firm chest, swimmer's build, tattoo of a lion over his left nipple.
He is ignoring me.
"Hi, Eli," I say. "I didn't know that you worked out here."
He looks up without smiling. "Oh, hi, Professor. I usually work out with the team."
"Swim team." He turns his back to me to take his pants off. Purple underwear, nice butt.
I understand -- I always avoid getting naked in front of my ex-students. There is some information I don't want to become general knowledge on campus.
But today I'm mad at the world, and I figure, "What the heck? Give him an eyeful."
I wrap my towel around my shoulders instead of my waist and turn back to Eli just as he has finished pulling up his gym trunks. He looks at me. His eyes go to crotch level.
"I used to be a big swim fan," I say. "I'll have to come to one of your matches. Who are you going against next?"
He looks up, embarrassed. "Northern State. Um...you know...um...I can score you with some tickets, if you want..."
"Only if you let me take you out to dinner afterwards."
"Sounds great! KIK me at Lion342."
It doesn't even have to be big. The fact that you still have one, that you don't suddenly become a eunuch at age 40, is endlessly surprising...and erotic.
The details of our date, and uncensored photos, are on Tales of West Hollywood.