Is There a Complete Guide to Happiness for Gay Men at Midlife and Beyond

Posted: April 2, 2012 in Advice, Current Events, Depression, Suicide
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I had hoped to get back to regular blogging about the Exquisite Fuckery that is the Republican brain. Alas, I am back to suicide.

This past week the New York Times carried an in-depth piece on the recent (New Years Eve) suicide of self-help guru/therapist Bob Bergeron, age 49, who was writing “The Right Side of Forty: The Complete Guide to Happiness for Gay Men at Midlife and Beyond.” He left behind a suicide note written on the book’s cover page: “It’s a lie based on bad information.” An arrow pointed to the book’s title, according to the report.

At first I laughed at the sardonicism of the circumstances. Here is a man who had it right and couldn’t accept his own teaching. The NYT author mentions In Dancer From the Dance. Dancer was one of the first gay themed books I ever saw or read. Unlike today, when I was coming of age the only out(ish) gays were Paul Lynn and Liberace. The only stories about gays were depressing and fatalistic. Portrait of Dorian Gray or Dancer.  In Dancer, the main character commits suicide “rather than facing getting older and watching his beauty fade.” Bernstein asks, “Had Mr. Bergeron made the same decision?”

I personally find it irritating when people tell me 50 is the new 30. NO 50 IS 50. 30 is 30. Don’t confuse the two. The other day some butt-wipe made a comment about me being old. I turned and in my best daddy voice said, “I have been your age. I had fun! It was the age when sex didn’t kill and when drugs were recreational. There is no guarantee that you will ever be my age. I have the advantage.” For the two years before I turned 50 I started telling people I was 50. That was number to be proud of. I survived the early days in the trenches and front lines of AIDS and Anita Bryant and all the craziness that was the 80’s and the Reagan error. I earned my scars, physical and emotional, and I am proud that what I did – what we did. We helped created a climate where kids in Bumfuck Montana can take same-sex dates to the prom.

I wouldn’t go back in time if you paid me. To me the joy in life is incorporating all you learn and moving it forward. There is nothing more silly that a forty something year old man trying to act 20. It just screams insecurity. The only time a hat should be worn backwards is when he’s giving head. I am not saying we should be wearing golf shorts and argyles up to our knees. But nothing is sexier that a secure man dressed confidently and age appropriate. Men like Tom Ford, Daniel Craig, Anderson Cooper and George Clooney are all examples of men acting their age. There is no sin in that. The whole inner beauty cliché is over used, but the mature man just knows. The young set may always be randy and ready to screw. It’s just a shame that they lack the necessary skills to actually please someone else. Or even last long enough to make it interesting. Most importantly to me, is that they keep my interest long enough to get home. I wonder if my generation was as shallow as todays 20-30 year old set.

There is a reason every story about people attempting to hold on to youthful beauty ends poorly. The Evil Queen in Snow White and Dorian Gray lose everything in their pursuit of youth. Peter Pan who never grows up, goes back to face his empty life. There is a reason young people are pretty. They have to have some positive asset something to attract a mate.

Just saying.

Comments
  1. matt L says:

    Very cool. Don’t like the profanity.

  2. RJ says:

    Great post. Aging is one those things that the gay community always hopes to address but never does in manner that helps. Queer culture puts so much value on youth and it is hard to see age reflected in a healthy manner. But as you argue those who are comfortable in their own skin, no matter what that is are sexier. People like this radiate an energy that draws others to them. I never understand when others say I am such and such an age but I feel another age.

  3. Patrick says:

    “If Helen Keller can get through life, we certainly can.”-Sullivan in Dancer from the Dance. I read this book at 17 and this line has always stayed with me. Still have my 1st edition copy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s