A Musing Re: Old Men

A friend once told me that my taste in men is as follows: Line up a bunch of guys, pick the one that looks the most homeless, and that’s my dream date. I don’t necessarily agree with this sentiment, though I do concede that I exercise a preference towards a smarmy-looking gent. Overall, though, I think that in the course of my life I’ve been an equal opportunity employer; race, religion, and even sexual orientation have never been part of my choosing a chico. I don’t mean to indicate that I have low standards but rather that I have certain criteria rather than a type.

There is, however, one sector of the male population that has never attracted my attention, and that is Older Men. I know dozens of damsels who swoon over silver-haired señors, who want a man with money experience. They like the notion of paternal protection (perverted), the innate maturity, and the feeling that being with a gent of an older generation allows them access into a world of wine and candles, and passionate, slow sex.

Before leaving for Mexico, I had a tryst with a 43 year old I’d met in Starbucks. A conversation about Acer laptops led to me showing him the downtown bar scene and the park benches of Tompkins Square Park,  and ended in old people sex, thus barring me from getting my cappucinos on 181st Street for the rest of Summer 2010. It wasn’t bad, per se, but to me sex with older men is the same as eating a yogurt or milk product that’s on the verge of expiring: It still tastes fine, it’s good, even, but you spend the rest of the day feeling rather off.

The point being, when traveling, especially as a solo female, you tend to encounter a whole bunch of Older Men. While Older Women do indeed travel, they do it correctly. They stay in single rooms, consort with other females or men of their own age, and do not creep people out. OM, however, have not got the memo, and seem to think it’s perfectly acceptable to be a 45 to 55 year old sleeping in a dorm room filled with 20-something females. Whereas Younger Men lack finesse when speaking to women, their aged counterparts have at least nailed the art of polite conversation, and it’s hard to shun them without being an asshole. Additionally, they do have interesting things to say, though inevitably all conversations end in a (declined) proposition.

I’ll illustrate a few examples:

1) In San Pedro, I stayed the first few nights in a hostel at which a demented American was also a guest. The man, probably 47, perennially clad in a blue poncho, khaki shorts, and orthopedic shoes, slept directly across from me. He would wake up, cook a bowl of spaghetti which he would eat with a fork held like a dagger in his left hand, and smoke weed while telling uninteresting stories about his years in San Diego State. He popped sleeping pills like candy and slept all day with a napkin tied around his head. One night he sleep-talked – he said, “Strawberry! Strawberry!” – then sat straight up, rubbed his legs from the thighs down to the feet, and then lay down again. This resulted in me sleeping outdoors in a hammock until he was 100% passed out.

2) Yesterday, my bed neighbor asked me, at 7:24 am, if I’d be interested in smoking peyote with him. As I hadn’t yet had breakfast I declined. He stood there for a good two minutes staring at me, while I unfolded and refolded clothes, wondering if an H&M tanktop could, in some way, be utilized as a weapon. He finally spoke: “Why?”

(Now, there are certain things for which a declination merits an explanation. For example: “I am going to give you 20 dollars, no strings attached.” If one says no, the giver can reasonably query as to why. However, I think that Just Saying No is pretty self-explanatory; thus, HomeMan was on my irked side.)

He comes back in five minutes later and asks me if I want to smoke pot. I decline again. Then he asks me if I’m going to Mazunte. I’m not. Then he invites me to go to a concert later that night. Again, negative. I could list all the things he asked me, but it would get boring. The point is, in what disillusioned world do these people live in? More perturbing, what vibe do I give off that makes them think this is something I’d want to do? The annoying part, obviously, is that you then have to sleep not inches away from these people.

3) I’m sitting there in the zócalo, hungoverly sipping my tea bemoaning my perennial stupidity, when an older gentleman comes up and sits down at my table. He’s a writer, it would seem, and he wants to give me a free copy of his poetry chapbook. Now, the only thing I hate more than poetry is dreadlocks, and people who think I’m German. But fine, I accept the gesture, which turns into a two and a half hour conversation in which I learn his entire life story from high school forward, all illnesses, romances, what his siblings do, etc. He wasn’t entirely offensive, but as the hands on his watched moved forward I began to get desperate. Artist types are the worst, as they don’t believe in boundaries or age, and they all think muse-taking is a normal practice.

The one plus of this interaction was that he allegedly did my Mayan Numerology, which I will share with you here:

  • Cuerpo 1: This means I am an individualistic person.
  • Mente 5: This means pleasure and liberty.
  • Espiritu 6: The six is duality, and the reverse of nine, which is logic and reason, so this means I choose impulses and emotions over reason. It also means I am egocentric and choose myself over others.

Now, the cynic in me thinks that these are all completely logical surmisings that someone could do without numbers based on the information I gave him (traveling alone and moved to Mexico alone and generally do things alone).

But fine. He then proceeded to make a pyramid of my life, which involved a lot of fives, which is the pleasure number. It would appear that the downfall of my existence is going to be pleasure and the pursuit of it. I don’t necessarily see the negative part of this; in Blakean terms, “The path of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” Again cynically, this could have been a ploy to get the naive young chickling into bed. Pleasure pleasure pleasure, etc.

I managed to extricate myself from the situation by pleading a Skype date with my sister, but not before getting his email address, phone number, blog, and a list of books and authors to research to discuss with him in the future.

In conclusion, I’d like to beseech all women under 40 to stop sleeping with men above, because it really makes traveling a drag for me sometimes. Merci.

Tomorrow: Fashion Special! Highlights: Dreadful dreads, pants you could house an aquarium, and un-pedicured feet!


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