Thursday, August 16, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007

Book Review: Michael Tolliver Lives

I am a big fan of Armistead Maupin and the Tales of the City books. I love the memorable characters, the way Maupin plays with the language of the day, and the surreal coincidental meetings that suggests San Francisco is nothing but a large village. Maupin firmly sticks a push pin in the point on the cultural timeline that he is trying to capture. He writes about the time as he lives it and he does it damn well. Reading any of his previous Tales is like looking through a photograph album of another time.

Michael Tolliver Lives is a little different from the others. While still a beautiful and amusing photograph there are fewer of those serendipitous meetings probably because the book is written from Michael Tolliver's point of view where the earlier books were written from a omnipresent perspective. The characters are just as memorable and Maupin certainly plays with the language of the day.

Michael, "Mouse" of the earlier books, is now 55 and feeling it. This is his story of finding a new love and dealing with the life, death, and choices faced by middle-aged gay men. He stumbles into a "May-December" relationship with 33 year old Ben. He continues relationships with many of the other characters of the earlier books, accounts for those who are not present, and creates new and engaging characters. It's like catching up over dinner with someone with whom you have shared two or three decades.

For the middle-aged queer, it captures some of the angst and the fears that comes with growing older. Even though Michael is happily "married", he still voices many of the insecurities of this time in life. He deals with wider issues such as the cultural wars with his evangelical family in Orlando, post 9/11 politics, and changes in the gay community. Anna Madrigal, the dignified free-spirit, is a significant part of the book and always a reason alone to read these books. Anyone who in any measure has been disenfranchised from their biological family will appreciate Anna Madrigal's reference to the "logical family" or the group of individuals who actually love you back fairly unconditionally. So, let me strongly recommend this book before going on to discuss at length two things that made me really crazy about it.

1. Ben,the husband. Clearly the book has some autobiographical elements to it as I've always assumed all of Maupin's books have. Maupin is married to a younger man in reality. So, the fact that Michael, as a character, is part of this intergenerational connection is reasonable. But Ben is a character that is obscenely idealized. There is no bad in Ben. He is a bit like Melanie in Gone With the Wind. Like Melanie, every word and action from Ben is likely to induce sugar shock. Ben is never short nor snippy. He is, in fact, sensitive and always in tune with what Michael needs at every moment of their time together. He suggests to Michael an open relationship with rules and I hoped with everything I had that this would somehow lead to jealousy and a decent fight. That was too much to hope for. While the other characters indulge in pot and booze we are told that Ben is wholesome and that this is maybe a fault. He even does yoga. By the end of the book I was praying he would knock over a liquor store, push a pedophile over a cliff, or do something really dark to even out all that goodness. I hope Maupin's husband in real life is as compliant as Ben. On second thought I don't wish that on anybody.

Part of the problem with the gay community is the idealization of youth. It's our core religion and is as damaging to the middle-aged (and the often narcissistic younger) queer as the most Bible-thumping Pentecostal church. One has to wonder if Michael's significant other had turned out to be a contemporary would we have seen such sainthood? I doubt it. Chances are we would have seen someone who was moody and insecure. In other words, he would be normal. I can't help but feel that this idealization of Ben is Maupin's yearning for youth over acceptance of a perfectly decent time of life called middle-aged.

2. This is my own hang-up and, someday, I may talk to a shrink about it. I hate the use of words like "daddy". This book does "daddy" to death. Any label like that, when it is overused until it becomes shorthand for a person, makes me flinch a little inside. I may be middle-aged, but I've never been involved with the birth of a child nor have I signed adoption papers. I am nobody's "daddy". (If one digs too deep, there is a weirdly incestuous element to this phraseology.) It's like applying "bear" to anyone who is a tad overweight and hairy. What is this need to pigeon-hole? Again, it is my own hang-up and I am over-analyzing the characters, but I could have enjoyed this book more with about a 75% reduction in the "daddy" talk and a little more character development instead. Even Saint Ben in the book says something that suggests to Michael that he is trying to avoid sounding like he is too much into these roles. When did living a role become a good thing? A little good natured role-playing once in awhile is fun, but leave it in the bedroom.

In spite of these flaws, every middle-aged man will get something from this book. Most middle-aged gay men will have something in common with Michael. And it is, as are all of Maupin's books, a good, satisfying, fun read.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

An Ode to The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast, for those not in the know, is a neighborhood bar in West Hollywood. The reason it deserves the "neighborhood bar" designation is because it is not the sort of bar people would travel far to enjoy. Some bars in West Hollywood do draw the out-of-towners and perhaps one or two of them drift into the Gold Coast on a Saturday night, but, all-in-all, this is a haunt that only collects the locals.

The Gold Coast has a DJ but no dance floor. Usually the guy in the booth plays the old disco hits or the quirky songs of the 1980's. Once in awhile, he switches from being a DJ to a being a VJ and a music video is flashed simultaneously on the six flat screen televisions (a nod to modernity) sprinkled around the building. Generally these screens broadcast silent television network offerings with occasional closed captions.

Below the DJ booth presides a pool table which is the centerpiece of the Gold Coast. It takes up most of the area. It is the best lit space in the bar and usually has a crowd of players and spectators. The games always appear friendly.

There are two bars: a long bar at the bar entrance and a small, more intimate bar at the rear exit. The entrance bartenders always look busy; the exit bartender has time to talk.

The clientele is generally made up of the "average Joe" gay. The pretty boys have their own dance halls more west on Santa Monica. While there are representatives from all age groups, the Gold Coast crowd is predominantly on the doorstep of middle age, middle-aged, or those who have already passed through middle age. Racially, there are more Caucasians than non-Caucasians, but a mixture of black, Latino, and Phillipino guys are thrown in for some balance. Usually, there are two or three women present and one or two guys who are dressed as women.

On this particular Saturday night, there is a medium-sized attendance. You neither have to fear having your drink jostled when walking across the bar, nor is there really a place to stand if you want to be alone either.

Looking around, the place owns it's share of colorful characters. Near the front door, a man probably in his 50's with a full head of unnatural yellow hair, suggestive clothing, and a bandana tied around his neck is living an homage to 70's porno star Peter Berlin. More power to him.

A dwarf, a little person, a midget (What is the politically correct thing to calls these people again?) is perched on a high bar stool near one of the service areas of the front bar. One has to wonder how he climbed up on the teetering stool. He stands up on the cushion at one point to get the bartender's attention for another beer. It is tempting to warn him about toppling the stool, but a quick remembrance that he is indeed an adult and should know what he's doing squelches that impulse.

By far, the youngest person in the bar looks like a pre-soldier Elvis Presley. He is thin, but not in a rickety way - a solid thin. He wears clothes that lets the observer know that he is skinny but not wasting. He has black hair and it is tall but not quite a pompadour. His sideburns extend down toward his jawline. His eyebrows are oddly arched and very dark. His face dances and twitches pleasantly with expression as he talks with the odd assortment of overweight and predominantly bald men who crowd around him.

On the bench that runs across the tinted store front window of the bar, is an older couple. They obviously arrived together. Each must be at least in his 70's if not 80's. On the table in front of each is a 8 oz glass with amber liquid and another identical glass with water. They are both wearing garrish bands on their left hand ring fingers, but the bands are not identical. Both are a little more neatly attired than the Gold Coast demands. They are wearing expensive-looking sport shirts and cardigans even on a hot July evening. Both look a little sullen. Maybe it's the sweaters.

At the exit bar, a tall man with huge worked out shoulders and a chest to match is chatting with the bartender. Upon further observation one notices that below the disciplined chest flows into a soft and ample gut that runs over the belt - a contradiction of anatomy.

One of a couple brags to a man next to them that he "does" his companion "bareback" every morning before he goes to work. He says it loudly enough so that he is sure to gather an informal audience of those who are standing around. The smile on his face seems to indicate that he is either drunk or that he truly savors the exhibitionism of the moment. As the kids say: TMI, Too Much Information.

I guess if there is nothing else to get from a visit to Gold Coast is that there is something for everyone. Doesn't matter what you look like, how old you are, or whether you're on the hunt or just hanging out. There is something for everyone.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Paul at 65. Not necessarily queer, but maybe proof that 60 is the new 40.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Superman in Gay City

Kind of eager to get off to Gay City. More secrets than just an identity? (From Superman #7)


Boys just wanna have fun.

Opinion: Cruising

"The Evolution Will Be Televised' has just aired on Logo. It is, overall, a pretty good history of gay rights and pride. Almost everybody who is a gay anybody seems to be part of this film. It's thoughtful and fun.

However, as is part of any such retrospective of our culture, there is the obligatory outrage at the release of the 1980 film "Cruising". This film about Al Pacino going into the New York City gay leather world in search of a serial killer knocking off leather queers. Usually the outrage is displayed by having a some of the guest commentators (predominantly lesbians) complaining that Cruising would be miscontrued as the portrayal of what the gay community was all about: gritty, superficial, and sex-crazed.

Helllloooooo. For a segment of the male gay community at the time, life was gritty, superficial, and sex-crazed in the pre-aids 70's and early 80's. I never got what the deal was. Since when was a fairly accurate portrayal of a group of people a reason for outrage. Sure, we would have come out of the film with a better image if killer hadn't turned out to be gay, but everything else did pretty much describe a segment of our community. And proud of it.

Anybody who has ever read John Rechy books of the '70's (especially the Sexual Outlaw and Rushes) would know for sure that this was a segment of our culture. To some degree, there is still a part of that segment alive today. Its descendant is, perhaps, a bit less gritty, superficial, and maybe even sex-crazed, but it is still there. Visit a fetish bar sometime.

Two really good things about this film:

1. It was a mainstream film that was about gays from the beginning to the end. This was groundbreaking. Pretty freaky for the day outside of porn.

2. Al Pacino's hetero character began to "get lost" in the culture he was investigating. He began to care about some of the gay characters. His character demonstrated that sexuality can be somewhat of a continuum. Sexuality was not quite as cut and dry as conservative thinkers want to make it.

Are sexual outlaws to the gay community what the gay community is to the Southern Baptists? More tolerance, boys and girls!

That's my opinion. What do you think?

Thursday, June 21, 2007


A lot of the email sent to this site is about middle aged queers feeling isolated. A lot of the searches that lead people to this site include the obvious keywords "gay" and "middle aged", but then they aslo include the words "isolated" or "alone". Sometimes it's geographical (Being gay in the wrong part of the world). Sometimes it's a feeling of social stigma ("I don't feel welcomed at a lot of gay places."). Sometimes it's self-imposed. But regardless of the reason - even the most solitary introvert feels some need for social connection.

The media portrays gays generally as naturally outgoing and outrageous. However, apparently, there are a lot of "salt of the earth" type queers living a simple, quiet, "non-fabulous" life. They go to work, come home, watch television, and there's not a boa to be found anywhere in their homes. Not all guys feel comfortable being the belle of the ball. But that doesn't mean that they don't want to hang-out some with others.

Here are a few suggestions for "un-isolating" if you feel isolated and want to change that:

1. Join something. If you want to be with other gay guys join a gay book club, a gay social service organization, a gay sports club, or any gay organization. If there is an interest there is a gay organization.

2. Don't be afraid of the straights. Even the bluest state in most Bible Belt-y part of the U.S or isolated country in the world gets television. Half of the shows on television include gays characters or storylines. People are becoming a lot more savvy about "the gays". Even if you are isolated from other gay people, start building a social network with those who are not gay. You may not only be solving your isolation problem, but you might actually be surprised what hot guy your straight friends can set you up with.

3. Practice. If you are an introvert who is not entirely comfortable socializing, get over it. And the best way to do that is to "practice". Get out there and get exposed to society. While it's well understood that is not easy for some guys, it's the only way to get over any degree of social phobia. (Let's face it, even the most confident of us have some degree of shyness.) Put yourself in situations you may not be absolutely comfortable in and understand that, rarely, is there a social situation in which a faux pas is fatal. While it may feel risky, it, in fact, is not all that dangerous.

4. Related to #3, continually ask yourself: "What is the worst thing that can happen?" Who knows. Something good might actually happen.

5. If you are geographically isolated, connect on the internet. Join an online group or get on a social site. You don't have to be 12 to use something like My Space. (Wouldn't it be cool if My Space were taken over my middle aged guys.)

6. See a professional. If you are feeling absolutely house-bound, find a good therapist or counsellor to help coach your escape from loneliness. Make sure it isn't one of those who would advocate that you gaze at your navel. Find a professional who prescribes action. Getting out there and doing is the only way to get over social fears.

Any other suggestions? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Free Online Poll

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Waist Not

Gay men are often accused of having a Peter Pan syndrome. Often going to a gay bar with middle aged clientele, it seems that many gay men have turned into another flying fictional character: pudgy Cupid.

Bears might like it, but paunch can be deadly. Heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood and a myriad of other problems are related to guys with guts. Besides, it's kinda hot to see a guy who keeps in shape into middle and old age.

So here are some tried and true methods to decrease the pot:

1. Set a weight goal. Try to get down to a reasonable weight. It's all about the extra fat.

2. Don't exercise! Alright, don't spot exercise. Doing a million crunches isn't going to help. It's about fat and doing aerobic and weight-training will help the whole body - and, as you may know, the whole body includes the belly. So, do exercise, but have a plan that includes total fitness. Spot exercising will give you great abs - hidden under layers of fat. You get more out of exercising the whole thing.

3. Begin to diet. That sounds kind of depressing. But dieting doesn't mean the cessation of eating like it used to. It means eating well and eating right. Switch the bad fats (animal fats) to good fats (olive oils, canola oils, fish oils, and so on). Cut down on the processed sugar and grains. Use only whole grain products - the good fats and whole grains will make you feel full and help you maintain energy. Eliminate the "naughty" foods - but not completely. Save the cheesecake for a special occasion.

4. Remember that energy begets energy. At the end of the day, when you feel like planting your butt on the sofa with a cocktail because you feel exhausted, remember that the best cure for this is to move. Movement is life. Take Fido for a walk. Take out your old Jane Fonda VHS and feel the burn. Take your rusting old Schwinn for a trip down memory lane. (But don't overdo it. You want to feel better, not worse.)

5. Don't go nuts. Do a little bit at a time. Most resolutions fail because of the "all or nothing" thinking most of us indulge in when we want a change - now. A small failure approached in the wrong spirit leads to disappointment, then surrender, then a large failure. Commit to a little change at a time. Do it well. Make it a habit. Forgive yourself if you have a slip. Then, when you've turned that resolution into a habit, set another small goal. Keep going until you're where you want to be.

The Zimmers

They make me feel even younger than usual. A slap at ageism! (Love the Abbey Road take-off.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

10 Very Cool Things About Being A Middle Aged Gay

10. We older gays remember "camp" as being a little bit about being ridiculous and a little bit about bold style. We have the patience for old movies where camp was king (or queen). Now it's just about being silly - at video game speeds.

9. After hippie clothes, preppie clothes, yuppie clothes, new wave and punk clothes, grunge clothes, and fetish drag, we're comfortable wearing anything we feel like. Who cares what they think?!

8. The spawn of the Sunday afternoon Tea Dance...the Sunday afternoon beer bust. That's where we shine!

7. Been there, done that....nothing to prove.

6. AARP Discounts.

5. The first "P" in PNP usually means poppers or pot. Much safer than the other stuff.

4. Remembering when being gay was a little mysterious and a little dangerous. Now, we're represented on half of the shows on television. Our lingo is everybody's lingo. (Not that the oppression and rejection was so good, but, for some of us, there was some hot romance associated with being a "sexual outlaw" back in the day. Some of us still carry a little of that spirit with us today.)

3. We remember Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, and Mae West from when they were still alive. Now they have Britney and Paris. Huge yawn!

2. Talking instead of texting.

1. Gay Pride was new and fun...not "just like last year".

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Rejected by eHarmony - Still Gay!

Love this ad.

AARP Conference on Diversity and Aging

AARP, in its usual progressive way, is having a conference in Los Angeles that showcases diversity and aging. Concerns of aging gays and lesbians are part of the program according to their online information.

Maybe this is something you'd like to be part of. June 19 - 21.

AARP Conference on Diversity and Aging

Saturday, June 2, 2007

A Day at the Eagle

It's a sunny, Sunday afternoon. I go to the L.A. Eagle basically so I can play with other gay kids my age.

At the side door, there is a pierced, tattooed, gentleman with facial hair checking IDs. At my age there is something flattering about that although I know it's not about me being underaged.

The small courtyard at the side is filled with men. Most of them are around my age, some in great shape, some in all their bearish glory, a good number of men older than I am, and a few who are just young. Generally, this is a gay leather bar, but there are only a couple of harnesses and a pair of chaps. There is a barbeque heated up and cooking hot dogs and sausages, I'm sure in an lame attempt to elicit a few weenie jokes.

Inside there are lines at the bar. It is Sunday afternoon after all. I am behind four guys, even after 10 minutes. A younger guy (late 20's early 30's) in sunglasses sits at the bar next to the line. His sunglasses are clearly for effect because the bar is dark. He's with a friend who looks uncomfortable and seems put upon just being there. He is served next. Moral dilemma. Should I complain or say something? No, it's too nice of day and all I want is a gin and tonic and to kick back...maybe find someone to talk to.

Finally, with drink in hand, I make my way over to the barbeque and order a sausage. They just take my $3.00 for the Satyrs Motorcyle weenie jokes. I'm almost disappointed. I dress my sausage with mustard, slap some macaroni salad and potato salad on the side and find a seat inside by the pool tables. Eating, watching a pool game, checking out the gay porn (when did they put porn in bars in L.A.? I know they have had it in N.Y.C. bars for years.), I check out the room.

By a video game, the young, still shaded, line-cutter is playing air guitar and doing rock star poses to the loud music. His friend looks even more uncomfortable now.

I keep having to keep moving to not interfere with the pool table. They are always placed at the most narrow places in a bar. Is that on purpose?

A guy sitting next to me seems to have already enjoyed too much drink at only 5:00 pm in the afternoon. He is bobbing between half asleep and vigilantly watching the pool table. He smiles at me, but I suspect the conversation would be awkward, so I just smile back.

There is a raffle going on. Ticket numbers are being read every half-hour or so. Excited winners run to the DJ booth to collect their t-shirts and x-rated gay dvds.

Finally, I down the g & t and nearly empty the paper plate. It's time for another drink. It is Sunday and I have nothing that has to be done, so I hit the line for another cocktail.

The line hasn't gotten any shorter. When I get there, there are six guys in front of me.

I notice beside me an gentleman who could be anywhere between his mid-fifties and his mid-sixties. A little older but seems to have a great attitude. He is standing right next to me. Was he here when I arrived?

"I'm sorry. Were you in front of me?" I ask.

"Doesn't matter. You go ahead. I'm not going to fight about a place in line." And makes some kind of suggestive comment about not minding to take up my rear.

And I remember why I like playing with guys my own age.

Monday, April 2, 2007

New Survey!

Free Website Poll

Sunday, April 1, 2007

As Found on Craigslist Men Seeking Men Personals

"Collage guy needs help 8 inch cut c*#& for you - 25"

Maybe he's looking for a spelling tutor.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

What Disposable Income?

Some thoughts about that big-assed disposable income that middle aged queers are supposed to have.

It makes sense. In spite of the continuing trend in gay parenting, most still do not have spawn which need to be raised and sent to some stylish college. The expense of many of the trappings of a 2.3 child family are lost on most queers.

Often when there is an article that talks about marketing to gay men or about gay lifestyle (apart from our notorious free-wheeling sex lives), the phrase "disposable income" comes up. And no doubt there are many wealthy queers out there.

Many gay guys move to expensive cities in order to be with their own. Often income matches "outgo" (or expenditures if you must). In a large city, it either takes a lot of effort to become rich and many people do not enjoy a life of buck chasing. Or a lot of luck to become rich and that is as good as the flip of a coin. (Yeah, one makes his own luck but in that case it comes back to chasing the buck again which is a lifestyle choice.)

It doesn't take much to see that there are a lot of wealthy gay guys out there. And it doesn't take many invitations home to see that there are a lot of midlife gay guys in crumby apartments with a lot of Ikea furniture (as cool as it sometimes is).

While statistically, there probably is more disposable income among queers when the big picture is taken. But is it also another one of those expectation that the middle aged gay is supposed to live up to - like eternal youth? Is it another pigeon-hole queers are stuffed into? Is there something wrong if one is not some kind of pink Trump?

By middle age, most queers have a sense about the financial end-game. What are your opinions of disposable income?

Anonomity in exchange for honesty is suggested for your comments!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Buy (Less) Crap!

Some anonymous person sent me this response to the (Red) campaign. I've always had some mixed feelings about this sort of ad when I saw them on billboards around town.

This response makes sense to me.

Buy Less Crap

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

So Much Work To Do

I found this at another blog:

I used to belong to Bally’s Total Fitness. I found the staff there to be very friendly and the equipment to be very reliable. But now, lets turn to the right a little bit where the men’s locker room is. Here’s where the problem starts. There is always some guy that is at his locker forever, trying to get a glimpse at other guys when they take off their clothes. Don’t tell me that you other gym rats haven’t noticed this! Maybe it’s because I live in Los Angeles where there is a huge gay population. But this isn’t West Hollywood mind you! That guy is always there. Three nights ago, it was an Indian guy in his mid 40s (they always seem to be middle aged). He was putting on his clothes and his eyes nearly popped out of his head when a young tattooed Latino with muscles flowing everywhere arrived. I have to admit: it would be nice to look like this young man! As I noticed the Indian man sexually molest this young man with his eyes, I kept wanting to say to this man, “Wait till he turns 30 and the belly starts to come out!” But I was really embarrassed for this middle aged desperado and the young Latino man, who didn’t have a clue that he was being “checked out.”

We've got so much work to do. "they always seem to be middle aged"!!!!! How many locker room lurkers does this guy run into in his life if he can talk in terms of "always". So, one of the 50 million middle aged gay guys hangs out perving in his locker room and he knows they "always seem to be middle aged". I mean, there's no such thing as young pervs who wants to sneak a look?! Right? Well, he hasn't been in some of the locker rooms I've been in then.

Ageism is under every rock. Even the straights want to label the middle aged queers.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I'll Answer if You Tell Me What Time It Is

On one of those gay personal sites I visited recently for, ummm, research, there was the usual cruising stats form to fill out. Who's top, bottom, or in the middle. Are you small, average, large, or oh my God? You know the kind of thing.

One of the questions asked:

For you:

  1. is sex more important than romance?

  2. is sex as important as romance?

  3. is sex less important than romance?

  4. is sex is all there is?

The choice they failed to offer, which is the only choice possible for the most experienced gay men, is:

5. all of the above is true.

Isn't it?

Doesn't it depend on what time of the day, month, or year the mature gay man happens to be experiencing? All of the choices are true.

Sex is more important than romance, say, after a break-up when one is still gun-shy about relationships.

Sex is as important as romance when one is in love and trying to figure out how to express it physically.

Sex is less important than romance when the physical stuff has reached a plateau of sameness but the relationship is still worth trying to salvage for other reasons.

Sex is all there is....let's see...isn't there an undercurrent of that all throughout our gay lives?

So, all of the above is more about timing rather than some sort of set temperament. What's with having to decide?

Don't forget to change your gay personal profiles often!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The PS (Pre-Stonewallers) in PS (Palm Springs)

Kudos to Out Magazine and their April 2007 edition. They rip off the sequined cloak of invisibility on a remarkable group of older gay men in Palm Springs.

"Queens of the Desert" written by Michael Joseph Gross with very elegant photography by Larry Sultan is an homage to pioneers of the queer movement in their late 60's, 70's, and 80's with a bit of their history and some of their current points of views. Most portrayed in this article are on the older side of middle aged. Voila! A gay article that isn't narcissistically involved with only the beauty of youth.

"On meeting these men it seemed I'd discovered a world of wall-to-wall Auntie Mames: glamorous, funny, inspiring and bold."

But if you think this is simply a love letter from Gross, you will satisfied that he also looks at the petty and sad of their lives as well as the near heroic mark they made in gay history. In other words, a balanced view of reality that reflects the dignity of these older queers. The take away is that there is something to learn from every epoch in gay history.

Pick up a copy. It's a good read.

I Try To Avoid Politics Here....

but sometimes, I just can't resist. This has been going around the web. And if this isn't a true represenation of Miss Ann, nothing is.

Friday, March 9, 2007

These Boots Were Made For Walking

Probably one of the biggest challenges of middle aged queer is not only staying healthy, but staying fit. The benefits of staying fit usually means, on the vanity side, controlling weight, looking healthier, and keeping good muscle tone. On the health side, staying fit has been associated mental attitude (depression and anxiety control), better memory and thought processes, weight control, lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, stronger heart, diabetes prevention, a better immune system, more physical endurance, better sleep, and even a stronger erection.

An article in USA Today on October 24th, 2006, reported on a study from the University of Pittsburgh that demonstrated that middle aged people who did not walk regularly were prone to gain about 7 pounds a year. Those who did walk regularly, about 40 minutes a day, tended to lose 7 pounds during that same year. (If you don't need to lose weight, I guess you can enjoy an extra serving at each meal!) If you think about that, that is using 1/16th of our waking hours to take a great hike and to snag all the benefits of weight-loss and fitness. That's not much of a sacrifice.

So grab those hiking boots or sneakers and burn up that trail.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

My Middle Aged Chip

Just to prove I have a huge chip on my shoulder:

I received my copy of Genre today. Not really my kind of magazine but it came with some other subscription for free.

Right there - smack dab on the lower right hand corner of the cover was the blurb for a story inside: "Dressing up Daddy, Get-Laid Style Advice (From a Twink!)". No age-ism here, boys and, um, girls.

Well, you can guess to which article I went first. Page 64. "Dressing a Daddy" by Patrick Huguenin.

So, I think, first they try to tell us how we fit into our community, now they want to tell us how we should dress. (Is Genre implying that following Little Patrick's fashion advise will get us laid? Whatever did we do before Genre?)

Alright, children. First, I'm nobody's "daddy". Hate the word and weird incestuous vibe that goes with it. What are you, fuckin' Marilyn Monroe? "Are those diamonds for me, daddy?"

Second, I know how to dress myself appropriately and in a way I like. Good enough for me.

Such sage advice, too. For example: "You were: A Twink; You should be: A Dandy." Geez. Who wasn't a twink at some damn point in his gay life?

"You were: A Chelsea Boy; You should be a: Corporate Cat" Okay, if you say so.

"You were: A Surfer/Hippie/Punk; You should be: A Rake." A rake? Does anybody use that description of a guy anymore? If so, I am much more out of touch than I thought.

And finally, thank God, "You were: An All-American Boy; You should be: An All-American Man." Clever?

You are: A Pretentious Twink; You should: Keep Your Opinions To Yourself.

Whatever style I am, somehow, I still get laid.

What is this? Queer Eye for the Old Guy. No thanks. We were inventing style before you were born, "son".

CPAC 2007: The Unauthorized Documentary

I love the end of this where Ann Coulter after smearing John Edwards as a "faggot" gets upset that someone digs into her life. These folks just drip with hypocrisy. She can call a happily married man a "faggot" but can't take it when someone asks her the facts about her life! (Sorry about the politics.)

Saturday, March 3, 2007

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Queen...When Music Was Interesting

Friday, March 2, 2007

Great Passage on Ageism

"If we define the term as the dictionary does, a 'discrimination based on age, especially prejudice against the elderly,' then what we're talking about is an intolerance for the very people that, God willing, we ourselves will become one day. Unlike other forms of discrimination, where bigotry occurs between forever-disparate groups - heterosexual homophobes targeting gays, sexist males targeting women, or one ethnic or religious group pitted against another - ageism occurs along a strange continuum, where today's oppressor could well be tomorrow's oppressed; the aging man, his own youth far behind him, realizes only with the passage of time that he's becoming - or has become already - that which he himself may once have feared or despised. He's finally gained the hard-won knowledge and understanding that only years can bestow, just in time to become - for some people - an object of fear, suspicion, or prejudice himself."

-Tim Bergling, Reeling in the Years, p. 3.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

HIV Poll Results

Our latest poll asked:

In an attempt to know our visitors, you participation in the anonymous poll would be appreciated. My HIV status is:

  • Definitely negative. I've been tested. 67%
  • Definitely positive. I've been tested. 21%
  • Don't know. I haven't been tested. 12%

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sex and Middle Aged Gay

I like sex. I like doing it. I like thinking about it. I like watching it. And I like talking about it.

This isn't a porn site, so I am going out of my way to avoid sexing it up too much. But sex is a reasonable topic for the middle aged gay man. Or so one would think.

So, as the dedicated blogger that I am, I have spent two days doing the research. I found precious little on the topic. However, there seems to be two takes on the subject of sex and the middle aged gay.

The take with the most attention paid to it is the one that says middle age for the gay male is equal to a great vacuum, an oblivion - the stuggle of the middle aged guy is to adapt or disappear. So expression of a strong sex-drive is seen as sort of pathetic. Your time for cruising has passed. Monogamously coupling is an oft mentioned remedy. But the problem with the remedy is the problem of finding Mr. Right (if you even want Mr. Right). So, if you don't, is Plan B the ever popular Mr. Right Now? But, according to the literature, that quick fix for the sexual urge becomes less and less available as we get older. What a cycle! What a dilemma!

The second take seems to suggest that there is too much emphasis on sex in the gay world. We need to just calm down and re-prioritize as we get older. Often it is suggested that middle aged men feel pressured to artificially inflate a hormonally failing libido because everything in gay culture seems to come back to sex. One should almost feel guilty if he is gay and doesn't want sex 24/7. How can you be a part of community so focused on sex and not be "sexing"? But as the first problem suggests we are not welcomed in the meat market. Around and around we go. The remedy for second problem, I suppose is donning our khaki shorts and taking up bird-watching. Or perhaps tying on a gingham apron in a kitchen Martha Stewart would envy. Is that what they mean by re-prioritizing?

(I guess we should keep in mind that sometimes a low libido is the result of depression or low testosterone and the such. It's probably best to talk to a doctor about low sex-drive to rule out any treatable problems.)

Personally, I think both takes are so much bullshit because again, they are culturally based. Both covertly say this is culture's definition of who we are and this is how we must behave.

As children of the 60's or 70's perhaps we should reclaim our old motto of "If it feels good, do it - as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else." I, for one, am tired of people pigeon-holing me in anyway, including my age.

If you feel like cruising all night in a bar or bathhouse or online, do it. You know what it's like out there! You're a big boy now and can handle either acceptance or rejection. But, like the lottery people say, "If you don't play, you can't win." And your odds of getting laid are much better than scoring the Mega Million.

If you don't feel like doing the meat market thing or having a lot sex, by all means, don't do it. Figure out what makes you happy. Don't feel pressured to do anything that isn't right for you.

The only caveat I would offer about either situation - pay attention and make sure that you are not using sex or lack of sex as either as a substitution or avoidance of anything else that might be healthier. But again, you figure it out. Get help doing that if you need or want to. A little introspection is healthy. But ultimately, you decide and don't let anyone else set a standard for you.

If you've read anything else on this blog, you know my goal is self-definition. Sex should be as self-defined as anything else in our lives.

Comments, as always, are welcomed.

Monday, February 26, 2007

“I think it's the central issue of our generation. There are a lot of people out there who are trying to figure out how to be good old gay people — how to do it well, how to be the best you can for your age. In my case that has to do with trying to be the best version of 62 I can imagine. Not to try and recreate something I felt I had 30 years ago.”

- Armistead Maupin from

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Does Age Quash Our Gay Spirit of Adventure?

What do you think?

I found this segment by Robert Krulwich at NPR radio that raised some good questions. Go have a listen at this link Does Age Quash Our Spirit of Adventure? Then come back and let us know what you think.

While Krulwich points out that increased age seems to correlate with a decline in the spirit of adventure, I wonder - since gay men are often a little out of sync with society with regard to development, if this report rings true for you. Since we are one of the first post-Stonewall groups to go from youth to middle age, are we required to be "adventurous" about deciding who we are going to be? What was the most adventurous thing you have done lately?

Be adventurous and come back to leave your ever important comment.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

When Gym Time is "No Time"

If you're like me, getting to the gym doesn't fit well into the day. Unless you've made it retirement, this may be the busiest time of your life.

I found a little item that has been very helpful to keeping in shape without having to go to the gym or to buy expensive home equipment. It's called The Fitdeck ( It is basically a deck of cards with a calisthenic type exercise on each card. Most of these exercises take from 30-60 seconds.

I use them by shuffling the deck and then do the next card at every commerical if I am watching television or set a timer for every 15 minutes while I am on the computer or reading. This not only gives me some physical activity during times when I am generally sedentary but also helps me to stay in shape. (The tightening of the stomach muscles in a very short time has been surprising.)

The cards provide different sets for beginning, intermediate, and advanced users, so almost anyone can jump in and use these. I think the cards are bit expensive ($18.95) considering how low the overhead must be and the cost of material needed to produce the product. However, if you think of the physical fitness benefits this gimmick can provide, it's cheaper than many other choices.

If you find yourself spending too much time sitting, these cards may be helpful for you.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Your Turn

What was your best or worst date in the last few years?

Now it's your turn. Hit the comment link below and tell us about your best date or your worst date in the last few years. You can even answer this question if you are in a partnership. (Partners date, right?) Help us feel better (or worse) about our dating lives.

Give us the dirt.

First Day and Over 300 Unique Hits

First day online and this blog has had 300 unique hit. Come back often. Subscribe to the feed.

Keep in touch and be a part of the discussion.

Most of all, thanks for stopping by.

Cholesterol and Exercise Checklist from WebMD

Be sure and leave a comment if you have a unique way of staying in shape.

From WebMd

Checklist: Exercise and Cholesterol

8 Fitness Tips to Help Lower Your Cholesterol

By Gina ShawWebMD Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte Mathis

There's a link between exercise and cholesterol. A sedentary life can keep your LDL bad cholesterol levels high and your HDL good cholesterol levels low, just the opposite of the way you want them. But incorporating exercise into your life may help lower your cholesterol levels on its own -- and help you stay at a healthy weight. How can you safely start a healthy exercise plan you can stick with? Follow this checklist.

___ Start small and set realistic goals. To exercise for lower cholesterol, you don't have to become Lance Armstrong. Don't say "I'll go to the gym every night this week." Instead, start out by pledging to take a half-hour walk after dinner at least four nights this week. Research shows that even moderate exercise improves your cholesterol and heart health.

___ Pick an activity you like -- otherwise, you won't stick with it. If you hate running, don't buy jogging shoes just because your best friend lost weight running. To help lower cholesterol, find out what exercises fit your fitness personality.

___ Keep an exercise journal. Studies show that you need at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, three or more times a week, to raise your HDL good cholesterol levels, so keep track of your progress to make sure you reach your goal every week.

___Mark that journal or a calendar for exercise milestones you hope to achieve, like running a mile without stopping or swimming 10 lengths of the pool. Plan to reward yourself for those achievements with a special treat, like a night out, a new outfit or a massage.

___ Buy a pedometer and track how many steps you walk on an average day. Then, try to add at least 2,000 steps per day to your total exercise regimen. That's about half an hour of walking.

___ Include weight training in your exercise regimen for lower cholesterol. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you build, the more efficiently you'll lose weight.

___ Set an exercise goal. Many people do better with a fitness plan if they have a goal in mind. If you like running, choose a 5K race to train for. If you enjoy cycling, plan to treat yourself to a weekend bike trip somewhere you love.

___ Check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen to lower cholesterol, especially if you lead a sedentary lifestyle or have chronic health problems like heart disease.

Published February 2007.
SOURCES: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "High Blood Cholesterol: What You Need to Know." National Cholesterol Education Program of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III)." Mayo Clinic: "Dietary fats: Know which types to choose." Antonio Gotto, MD, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, N.Y. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "Introduction to the TLC Diet." "Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet for high cholesterol." Reuters Health: "Moderate Exercise Can Improve Women's Cholesterol." Harvard HealthBeat: "What to Do About High Cholesterol." National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "Cholesterol-Lowering Medications and You." American Heart Association: "Side Effects of Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs."
© 2007 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

Your Opinion: Meeting New People

A lot of older gay men complain that they have a hard time meeting new friends. They often feel a sense of isolation. Leave a comment below and let us know:

  1. If this is true for you and what is your experience?
  2. Or, if it's not true, where do you tend to meet new people?

We want to hear from you.

Three Reasons That Your Gay Life Isn't Over at 40

No matter what they tell you.

"Our invisibility is the essence of our oppression. And until we eliminate that invisibility, people are going to be able to perpetuate the lies and myths about gay people." -Jean O'Leary

While our society at large would often just as soon see us gay folk disappear, inside the gay community there is another type of invisibility that is probably more insideous. It is more insideous because we have created it.

You have to thumb through gay publications for a very long time to find information that is relevant to anyone over 50 (maybe even 40). We have been sold the bill of goods that "gayness" has a short shelf life that extends from sometime in adolescence to the late 30's. After that, the goods are stale and no longer relevant to the gay community's definition of what it means to be a part. Age begins to equal invisibility. From several conversations and support group participations, I have discovered that many of us have bought this self-imposed obsolescence - whether it is seen in the younger guy's fear of growing old or in the despair of the older gay man who has awaken to find himself almost mysteriously transported to this dimension of invisibility called middle-age.

To say that the gay community is drunk on the youth culture is like saying President Bush suffers from delusions of grandeur. It is self-evident.

Hopefully, this site is dedicated to helping bring a little sobriety to our youth culture soaked community. There are good reasons to challenge the gay ghetto mentality of obsolescence. Here are three.

  1. It is the right of every person at every age to define his own being. The idea that those who are gay and 45 must join the monastic life of social isolation is an artificial construct. Probably it came from the reasonable concept that youth has a unique beauty and is to be valued. While this idea is legitimate in it's own right, allowing this one small period of life to color and control the larger portion of one's existence is to deny one's ability to self-define throughout life. Who says that we have to become part of the wallpaper at a certain age? By whose definition? What if we refuse to? At the risk of my fulfilling every gay stereotype, my advice to every aging gay man is to sit down and watch Rosaline Russell in the film "Auntie Mame" at least once a year. The camp humor alone is worth the viewing. But above that, the character of Mame Dennis is the patroness saint of self-definition. Rather than fading into the wallpaper, we should be defining ourselves and reminding the world that even in middle age: "Life is (still) a banquet and most suckers are starving to death." And we should define ourselves by no less than this observation and the realization of this movie's theme. Middle-age does not have to leave us hungry.
  2. "They" need us. Stonewall was our generation. We have a history that most young gay men may never be able to match for meaning. We've seen more and we know more. While it is always the position of youth that they are smarter and wiser than their elders, we all find out in time that this is generally not so. As long as the older gays are isolated from influencing the younger gays, the more likely the younger gays are to have to unnecessarily repeat our mistakes. At this point we really have to question our use of the word "community", as in "gay community" if we are not communing in a meaningful way with other members. Mentoring has become an important concept in business and society in general. Who is there to mentor and nurture the young if the elders are stuck behind an artificial wall of invisibility? (Some of it is the fault of the older gay person. The older gays relinquish this "wise elder" role by making two mistakes: 1) By imitating the young in hopes of grasping desperately at their own disappearing youth. It's analogous to a parent being a friend rather than a parent. 2.) And refusing, for whatever reason, to break through the wall and deal with the gay community as a whole entity. More on both of these later.)
  3. Declining health is becoming less of an issue. We should never pretend that a 60 year old is a 20 year old. Aging is natural (and in a lot societies beautiful.) To pretend one is 20 at 50 can be sad. However, it has been said that 50 is the new 30. There is a new knowledge of and emphasis on what it takes to be healthy. How many commercials are touting the fact that Baby Boomers are not as likely to spend their senior years sitting around staring at the walls like the preceding generations tended to? There is a new awareness that physical and mental vitality is a lot more controllable by the individual than it was once thought to be. While slowing down may always be a reality that accompanies aging, coming to a halt prematurely because of physical ilimitations is so yesterday. Staying vital is a responsibility for all of those who want to remain players later in life. Proper attention to health, nutrition, exercise, doctor's visits, and other exercises of self-care is the key to staying in the game. And where nature fails us, there is often help. Think Viagra.

A friend of mine was walking past a trendy gay bar in Los Angeles. He is healthy, good looking but obviously in his late 40's. The bar has an outdoor cafe-style seating area with a metal fence around it. As my friend passed the bar, he heard a youngster inside the fence say, "Who let the trolls in?" Immediately, he reached through the fence bars, grabbed the kid by the shirt, pulled him up against the metal enclosure and demanded an apology. While I don't condone physically roughing anybody up, the spirit of that act is an example that more middle-aged gays should consider embracing. We either define ourselves or we let other people define us. We either listen when everything in our culture tells us to quit or we grab the culture by the shirt and shake it a little.

Comments are welcome.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


You know that you are getting older if you find that you are paying close attention to any ad featuring Ed McMahon as the spokesperson.

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