I’m a Protestant (and former Lutheran Sunday school teacher turned agnostic ) and so I’m not mired in all that “Viva il Papa” BS of some Catholics. And I’m certainly not a fan of Pope Benedict who I found stuck in concrete (so was Pope John Paul II but at least he had a “Big Daddy” persona Benedict lacks). But I got to give the old crow credit for knowing when to hang it up. Hell, how many actors who should be in body casts are still playing action figures with love interests old enough to be their grand-daughter; or rock groups still doing the concert circuit practically in wheel chairs? I personally cringed at Paul McCartney’s performance at the opening of the Olympics. And let’s hope good old Queen Liz finally gives up the throne to Charlie once she breaks Queen Victoria’s record as the longest reigning monarch in 2 years and seven months.
This brings me to an unpleasant subject for many of us – me included. Knowing when it’s time to call a day to our sexual stalking – what I’d like to call hanging up our jock-strap.
Bored one Friday night with going to my local sex club Slammers, I made the executive decision to visit one of the bath houses in town that I had gone to religiously in my pre-Slammer days, that is until it got too old, not just older, but OLD. Well, after a hiatus of over a year, I found to my amazement virtually the same universe of guys I left behind still there, still roaming the halls in dingy jockstraps or leather harnesses that supported their sagging tits like a bra, like dementia patients in a nursing home aging in place, with little new meat to savor. Some guys tell me they’re there to grab that rare, stray young’en who doesn’t care who worships him as long as he can just lay there and look pretty. But I don’t buy that. In fact, the night I was there, absolutely nothing was going on, nothing to even voyeur over, and after two hours of supreme frustration as the 50 mg. of Viagra I had taken evaporated from my body, I shifted gears, and in a double-dip night, left for Slammers where in the space of 55 minutes, I fucked one guy, got my dick sucked by three other guys, and got blown by a fifth.
So why, I kept asking myself, would the Denture Cream Generation I had encountered at the other place that night, why would they keep plunking down twenty dollars or more week after week after month after year after decade to have absolutely nothing but stare at one another’s aging, sagging flesh. I even had the balls enough to ask one of them. His evasive answer: “But I only come once a week.”
Because they knew that had less or no chance of scoring at Slammers with its somewhat humpier crowd, but that here in the whorehouse some had known for decades and should have bought timeshares in, they had a comfort level, while still feeling they were part of The Scene. For if they stopped coming and traded their seventies vintage cockrings for a TV remote, they would have finally reconciled with themselves that they were no longer sexually active or desirable, that, however pathetic they looked as they wandered the whorehouse halls, their lives as active gay men were over.
That they had finally hung up their jockstrap.
Even staring at the younger (read 30+, 40+) humpier guys – grown, mature men – on a Saturday night at the Ramrod, our local butch leather bar, shaking their butts like twenty year old circuit bois and probably just as high as they would be on E or Tina, I often ask the question silently of them and myself – when are we all gonna grow up? Do we really think this merry-go-round will never stop?
So when do you know it’s time to hang up YOUR jockstrap, to stop pimping yourself while you still have some self dignity, when, while porn may still have its joys, aggressively searching for a man goes nowhere?
1. When you’ve met a guy who’s the one, and the two of you plan to be monogamous.
Can happen, but in my dealings and conversations with guys it sounds like truly mono relationships are pretty rare. Sooner or later one or the other or both begin to stray, with or without the other’s permission, even if the relationship continues infinitum because of other reasons – emotional, financial, etc. After all, men are men, and hormones are hormones. Often, one’s the homebody, ironing one another’s underwear, the other’s a run-around Dan, constantly searching for that next ego lift – or more.
2. When you find your libido isn’t what it used to be, and even the magic blue pill doesn’t do it any more. I’m on testosterone therapy but I still find I often have to kick myself in the ass to go out to a whorehouse on a Saturday night only because it is Saturday night, when I’d rather stay home with my dogs. Often the blue pill IS my libido.
3. When, in your gay career, you’ve had your share of men – good, bad and indifferent – and finally agree with Quentin Crisp who, in his last years, admitted, refuting his life philosophy, that “there is no dark, handsome man.” Or if there is, you’ve had him a dozen times over, or he’s lying beside you right now, only he’s bald and fifty pounds overweight.
4. When you feel you’ve “been there, done that” as you encounter and are attracted to, and by guys, and like a déjà vu moment, you can practically predict what they will do and say next. The biggest killers of lust are predictability – and boredom.
5. When even when you still have your shit together – you work out, watch your diet, are blessed with a good body and good genes, look younger than your datebook – even with all that going for you, you feel it increasingly more difficult to score because of the forever younger and better competition that guys you want and should get would rather bed down with. Forty plus is your preference but most guys your age are either looking for twenty something hotties who just want a mouth or an ass or a bank book; or, more often, they are train wrecks.
6. You look around and there’s almost no one you want. There were a bunch of hot guys I used to lust after on some of the bear/daddy sites who never responded to my “come hither” e-mails or came back with the evasive no-where replies. Then, by sheer coincidence, I saw virtually all of them together in one place – a bear pool party – sans clothes and Photo Shop, and wondered what I the fuck I had been salivating over.
7. When you’ve given up trying to win the attention and heart of your kind of man who you objectively feel should be attainable. One night at Slammers, I went after a guy who was my type and I thought would want me but who shied away from my advances, only for him to be rejected by another younger guy he apparently wanted ten minutes later. One humpy, hairy little guy we both wanted just stood there holding up the same wall all night, I guess waiting for something that didn’t exist.
I’m a masculine, hairy, humpy top; but do you know how many masculine hairy, humpy tops look at my profile on the hook-up sites but never go the next step even when I reach out to them, trying to convince them there’s a hell of a lot two top guys can do than just fuck. (Luckily, I have had a few over the years who came around to my way of thinking or bottomed gladly.)
8. Or maybe, just maybe, that moment of reckoning comes when we realize that a lot of our subculture is driven by purely capitalistic motives – selling liquor, overpriced clothes, vaporous potentials at getting sex – and that the return on our money is no longer there. And that all that man-to-man fantasy portrayed in our media is most times just that.
9. Or when going after men just isn’t fun any more.