My sister and I, both divorced, act as advisers to each other on matters of romance. She contends that men in her 50s age group are hopeless; they talk a good game, come on strong, and offer the world, but when talk of any monogamous relationship comes up smacking of commitment, the phone stops ringing.
Curiously enough, I am of that age and offer this answer: Everybody has a story. My case is characteristic of the single men she describes: We have been married most of our lives, had to split our financial assets once or twice, may have children of competing priority, and enjoy our good male and nonromantic female friends. It is not unusual for us to be interested in a woman but to have our shields up when commitment in the form of exclusivity comes up.
Perhaps it is no more clear than this: When we were young, we were powerless against the charms of good-looking women. Life with them was wonderful and easy; that is, until they don't need you anymore. Then it's impossible: game over. Now, we are the ones being sought. What infuriates the mature woman is not so much that she has lost her allure—many have not—but that we are wiser and more careful. Security, peace of mind, and a slight slackening of the male hormone factor has evened things out.
Oh, please. Know what your letter brought home to me? High school never ends, and people are stupid. Not that you're particularly idiotic or immature—I include all of us in my admittedly small-minded and not-particularly-deep diagnosis of the human condition.
You're in your 50s—seconds away from your golden years—and here you are, wasting the few years you have left on the planet being embittered over a divorce or two that happened years ago.
I often foolishly think that with age will come enlightenment. Obviously, I'm wrong. For every schmo who's been cast aside by a nice set of legs, there's a dame who's been fucked over by a jackass who couldn't keep his hands off some hottie home wrecker. It's a fact that women (especially of your generation and older) do way worse, financially speaking, in a divorce than men do. So quit all your whining.
Nor are you indicative of every man. There are plenty of guys (like my dad) who aren't as emotionally shut-down as you, so tell your sister to ignore any advice you might offer. Sure, you can take some sort of illusory solace in the "fact" that you may have the imaginary upper hand, but wouldn't it be more fun to quit being so guarded and let yourself live (and love) a little? Because frankly, I found your letter—and how you describe your life—fairly depressing.
As for the decreasing hormone factor— I realize that you're no longer a high-schooler in the hard-on department, but haven't you heard about Cialis or Viagra? Fer chrissakes, even stodgy old Bob Dole's getting laid.
Honest to God, why are you published? All you do is run letters from Jesus people, your stalkers, and obvious psychotics. Your entire column is an ego trip punctuated with frequent dressing-downs of the mentally ill. This is not an advice column, it is a pulpit for self-promotion. Pathetic.
If you print this, please respond with an irrelevant 2,000-word essay about how you once dated a closeted gay guy and then this other time you dated an alcoholic.
Where Do You Only Pretend to Live, New York or Seattle?
I'd say the better question is, why do you keep reading my column? I'm going to venture to guess that you have a not-so- secret crush. C'mon, admit it . . . you know an awful lot about me for someone who allegedly finds me "pathetic" and "self- promoting." You're like the freshman boy who puts gum in the cute girl's hair because he's too scared to admit his true feelings. I'm wise to your kind, my shy little friend.
See, I was right (again), high school truly does go on forever. Maybe if you're a little sweeter next time, I'll let you feel me up under the bleachers.
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