Ten Minutes Left in the Candy Store: Coming out Late in Life

I was 21 when I had my first sex with a man, an older guy, probably all of 25. But talking to guys over the intervening decades of my gay existence, I realized I had come out rather late in contrast to so many of them who boasted about having their first man-to-man blow-out at 15 or even 12. That’s why I’m amazed when I encounter men on the other end of the age spectrum who waited until their fifties, even sixties, before they decided to kick open their own private closet door and lead an openly gay existence.

As you may expect, many of them were married marrieds who tied the knot with a woman in their twenties and married for all the reasons guys who should know better do: family obligations, family or peer pressures, professional reasons, the desire to have children, etc. I even know one guy who married a second time simply to have a woman help him raise his four year old son after his first wife (who knew nothing of his gay side) died in a car accident.

This is not to say these guys didn’t fuck around with guys all those years of suburban wedded bliss; but it was usually on the sly: on out-of-town business trips or solo visits to out-of-state family; or when they used bowling night with the guys as a cover. Wonder why those peepshow bookstores with the pay booths and cheap neon signs have survived the gyrations of our changing gay landscape?

Then there are the truly closeted men living all their lives with a parent who they care for until the end while they faithfully play the organ at church every Sunday morning; or living solo lives letting the demands of a 50 or 60 hour a week job absorb their entire existence.

But finally comes the day when the married guy meets Mr. Right or realizes he is getting nothing out of his relationship with a member of the opposite sex; or the parent dies; or the time for retirement arrives; or the man experiences a life-changing event like a near-fatal car crash; when, at 55 or 58 or 63, he asks himself the rhetorical question of the ages:

What am I waiting for?

If you are one of those late bloomers, what should you do next?

First, move to a place where gays are welcomed – and plentiful. And when it comes to places where older gay guys don’t feel like dinosaurs, nothing beats balmy Fort Lauderdale which boasts not only one of the largest concentration of gay men in the country but, as a retirement mecca, also men over 50. Check out our bear bar, Bill’s Filling Station, the country western bar, Scandals, or Lauderdale’s iconic Alibi. That doesn’t mean if you like younger guys, you need to settle. Far from it – Lauderdale’s got ‘em all, from twenty somethings on up.

Secondly, if you’re planning not just to take in the eye candy but swallow some of it, get yourself some Big V, (Viagra, silly boy) available cheap and without a script online. O.K., I know, I know, you don’t really need it, but it’s a great insurance policy just in case you got a hottie but Mr. Peter thinks it’s nap time.

Now, if you’re already partnered, that’s a plus because so much of the social scene operates around the dinner party/house party circuit where pair-offs are just, well, less threatening. A pair of over 40 guys move into a nice middle middle or upper middle class neighborhood and within days of their arrival, invites to stop over for drinks flood their mailbox. It doesn’t matter if you run into these same guys looking for younger meat on the web or the local whorehouse like Slammers, or even hitting you and your partner up for a foursome. Everything is quite prime and proper over cocktails and crepes.

But if you’re alone, there’s no doubt, things can be more difficult. After all, let’s face it; you no longer have youth on your side or work where you may meet other gay guys on the job. And because Lauderdale is such a transitory town, making friends, even fuck buddies, is an uphill challenge. That’s why unless you can still fool Father Time (good genes or good luck, I’ll take either), it’s essential to make the most of what you have. If you’re not in shape, get in shape and join a gay gym or one of the gay sports teams where the potential exists that you might meet other men, at least, socially. If you got the bucks, turn back the clock and take advantage of the wonders of modern medicine which abound in South Florida’s countless rejuvenation and cosmetic surgery centers.

And if you can’t make him on your looks or bod or personality, well, there’s always your 401 K (you have one, don’t you, dude?). Hell, I don’t think there’s anything wrong about paying for sex or a live-in bf if you know that’s what you’re doing. You want it quick and dirty and on the Q.T.? Line Him up on rentboy.com. Looking for something more like a handsome well built thirty or forty something “escort” to be your paramour? Then places such as the piano-bar-restaurant Tropics where May-December marriages are made over drinks is your destination.

A lot of late bloomers go through what us jaded “been there, done that” call their “whore” phase when some guy who’s had three men his whole life suddenly sleeps indiscriminately with every anatomically correct male who says “hi” and is willing to bed down with him even if Mr. Friendly is a dwarf.

Fine – sow your oats – but with all this gayety comes one huge cautionary note. The Achilles heel of any just-out over 50 gay guy is his lack of experience, indeed, naïveté in The Life and I don’t mean in bed. Just like society at large, gay men can be cruel and devious even when they have a smile on their face and tell you that you’re wonderful. Particularly those who partied the last twenty years away. Unlike us career faggots who been through the Gay School of Hard Knocks, many older fresh-to-The Life guys don’t have a knowledge base to work from and are unable to read between the lines with these gay boys, particularly those old enough to be their sons. The result: they end up being cockteased, heartbroken, exploited.

Or worse.

If you use Just for Men and your gray still shows, and you don’t have a blue belt in karate, never take an under 40 guy back to your place – you go to his or it just doesn’t happen.

Remember, having ten minutes left in the candy store doesn’t mean you can’t feast – just do it with your eyes open and your brain in the on position.

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