I will admit it, I have a guilty pleasure movie that I go to a lot. It’s a film adaptation of a play called “All Over The Guy.” The entire movie is about two people who try to date, after being hooked up by their respective best friends, and the foils that come with it. What sticks with me the most is a scene with Doris Roberts talking to the main character, Eli. Eli, at one point, asks her for the answer. Esther, Doris’ character, says something to the fact that everyone expects you to have figured out life because you are old. The truth is just because you made it that far without getting killed doesn’t mean you know the secret, just means you are lucky.
Are you wondering what the point of that was? There is a theory that just because you are older means you have some inherent mystical knowledge and could, potentially be, a good match for someone. In reality, it’s just a number. Dating is no easier when you are older than younger, add to that the fact that we are LGBTQ means that the stigma and age are ever more present.
But, how do you navigate the dating scene now that you are in your 40s and considered over the hill or dead by the LGBTQ culture? Let’s take a look at four things to consider if you are in your 40s and obsessing on how hard it is to date at your age.
Young, dumb, and full of cum
Pop quiz, hotshot. Pull out your phone, flip to your dating app of choice, and look at the first headless torso profile that pops us. Read the bio line and whatever they put into the looking for section. Does it read something like, “athletic body into men who take care of themselve. No fats, femmes, or oldies. Be under 30.” I bet it is pretty close to that anyway. To be real, this is the majority of what you will encounter.
At this point, you are ready to lambast the author of that bio. Before you hit send on that craftily worded curt retort take a beat to reflect. Think back to your early 20s, what was your vision of “old.” No doubt you considered your parents old, so it stands to reason that people today may have a more limited view of what old is.
Also, is this the kind of person you want to date or just meet up with to make you feel a little better about yourself. If it’s the latter, that can be fun for a while. Like any other substance that makes you feel good, it can become addictive and usually leads to dark nights of withdrawal.
How can you help limit those feelings or better, have a different outlook on what you want? Here are four things to keep in mind to help you have a different approach to dating in your 40s.
1. Age ain’t nothing but a number
There are benefits that come with age. While we are thinking back to our younger selves, lets recall what our sexual lives were like. A great many were frantic fumblings that didnt take time to enjoy what was going on more than just getting off. We didnt take our time to learn what we liked, let alone the other person. We were inexperienced and barely knew our own bodies. With age does come experience. You have had your entire life to explore your own body, what it likes, and what it does not. That translates into having a wider base of knowledge when it comes to interactions with others.
In the days of yore, if you were looking to hook up, you put on your best, a tight fitting pair of Levis, cock ring, boots with a higher heel, and a form fitting tank top. Then you headed to the bar where you modeled yourself to the sea of people. Your age was less of a factor, instead being traded for the bulges you may be presenting or the steaming bedroom eyes you shoot across the bar. The dating world of apps but that number upfront in neon for all to see. The end result is people swipe left before they have a chance to even know what you are about.
As an older guy, we are more often tempted to knock off a few years on our real age. We also spend too much time crafting our profiles to “appeal” to younger crowds. We use lingo they are familiar with and try to seem like we are in the scene.Most younger people can sense this before they get much beyond the first line. If you are sprinkling your profile with terms like “whatevs” or “bro,” too liberally, it will come of as disingenuous.
Be confident in your age, own it and love it. Dont put it upfront in your profile, instead let a well posed pictures and elegantly crafted sexual innuendo bio catch their attention. My mother always said you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
2. Confronting your fears
This already sounds like a daunting subject, but lets break it down.
No matter your age, you are never too old to find love. Sadly, as a gay man we rarely want to hear that. We spend our lives working on accepting who we are, fighting the daily prejudice to keep our self-worth, and just living. Now we are faced with a hurdle we didn’t expect from our community, but really should have, ageism.
Look around, our community is not the best when it comes to stereotypes. Oh sure, we fight for our rights and shame those that think of us as less. At the same time, we still show racism, ageism, and ableism run rampant. We live our lives obsessed with youth and beauty and that will prevent us from any quality relationships. Who cares if you are not the 30-year-old stud that turns heads at the gym. That is no reason not to continue to work on yourself. The best features; loyalty, humor, compassion, and intelligence are ageless.
So, if you think you are too old for love and don’t believe in finding someone any longer, change your mindset. Maybe all it means is that you have left behind the naive love you once held onto so strongly and now want something deeper and more meaningful.
3. It’s all about the numbers
Most things in life are some kind of a numbers game, online dating especially so. Let’s look at a couple ways this is true.
While you have that dating app open, look at the ages listed. It should be obvious that there are far more younger guys on them than those closer to your age. Even deeper will show that out of those online most are only looking for quick encounters as opposed to something long term. Ask yourself, where do you fit into that situation? This may help you in narrowing down what you are looking for. Remember that a good match goes beyond the physicality of a person. That is unless you are looking for NSA encounters.
While we are talking about numbers, you are guaranteed to run into people who say they have a thing for older people, like you. What does that even mean? Usually, it indicates a fantasy they are seeking to fulfill. Maybe they are looking for the daddy type or thinking that because you are older you have some deeper knowledge about sex. Those are all fine thing to pursue, if you both are aware of them. Perhaps your life is too busy to think about dating and moving towards a relationship and all you are wanting is some much needed stress relief on occasion. That is perfectly acceptable, just make sure you both are on the same page. If you are looking to settle down, then, maybe, narrow your search results to those closer to the same age as you are or who’s profiles are much more specific about the wants.
4. Stay flexible
This is not some shameless plug for doing yoga or stretching, it’s about your approach to life. Age does offer us a lot of advantages, one of which is self-awareness. You have spent enough time with yourself that you should know yourself pretty well. You are careful about the types of first dates you have and you can pretty quickly assess if there is a point for a second date or not. You also tend to be able to spot if the person is looking for the same things as you are or not. You are able to see the indicators of problems in people more easily.
Don’t let this awareness become a trap. With great knowledge comes great power. That power is to remain flexible and adaptable. Keep your mind open and stretch your comfort zones. Just because someone doesn’t appear to be your “type” doesn’t mean you cannot engage them in conversation. Maybe at first glance or profile view they don’t seem to jive with you, but you talk and realize you have a lot of things in common and sort of click. You would have missed out on all of that had you simply swiped past them because of the outward appearances.
Ask your friends, the ones that are close to you and known you longest, to give you honest advice on your actions and choices. Do they think you are stuck in your ways and, as such, limiting the kinds of people you could attract? This could be the wake up call that it is time for a change.
To infinity and beyond
In today’s world, we have unlimited options for meeting people. We turn to them to find love, lust, or laughs for the night. It is easy to grab our phones and open up some app to fee good about ourselves, from time to time. But, there are still other ways to meet people, tried and true ways. Yes, I am talking about meeting people IRL. I get it, the very thought has you running for the cover of the internet shadows where it is safe for you. Just remember you catch more when you cast a wider net in more places than simply sitting on the bank and fishing the same fishing hole over and over. (wow, I made a sex pun and used a fishing analogy in the same sentence.) Real life options are limitless. Join a LGBTQ hiking group, look for dinner meetups, get out and exercise, or volunteer your time to a good cause. You never know what these events may offer in the way of meeting new people.
Karl Lagerfeld said it best, “Youthfulness is about how you live, not when you were born.”
Have you had struggles meeting people because of your age? Do dating apps offer a good pool of people for you to meet? How do you navigate dating at your age? What are you looking for when you are looking for a match? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to read your feedback. I could help in a future article and more importantly, offer a new way of looking at things to someone who may be struggling to find their way.