At what age does one first officially become a dirty old man?
It’s a rite of passage in our culture nobody talks much about.
Authors don’t chronicle its sweet blossoming emergence or the picaresque journey down the highway of life it signals. Songwriters don’t rhapsodize about the kickin’ back, lovin’ life, feelin’ groovy exuberance and sense of possibility it sets free. And rabbis don’t give long boring sermons about how today “you are a man” --- that is, a dirty old one.
It’s not as if you even get to receive a diploma from Hugh Hefner!
I think I started to notice something untoward several years ago when there came a change in my fantasies. Each and every one of them began to require a lengthy preamble explaining how it was that the women who starred in them happened to be so incredibly sexually passionate and aroused over someone who best fit the description of their dad’s bowling partner.
Last week it got to the point that I had to hire a couple of writers. The way it’s going in a year or so I’ll be needing Shakespeare!
It is a cruel and unfair fact of life but true nonetheless: regardless of how we older guys may look --- even if we look like we’ve just been struck down by linebacker Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens --- the majority of women our own age to us appearmore the type of person we’d prefer to have knit us a sweater or bake us a pie than engage with in activities that may entail the shouting out of four letter words.
It ain't pretty, I know.
But then again neither are we!
So we tend to cast our askance glances at women unlikely to cast back any kind of glance at us, askance or otherwise. Women of years a bit more tender and certainly more juicy than our own.
We dream about them. We lust after them. We try not to think about the fact that the sight of any one of us and any one of them engaged in any activity more graphic than birding is something we ourselves would gagged over not so long ago. Like, say, in the 70’s.
Do we approach them? Well, in the singles bar of life: The richest, boldest, and those with the most hair among us hesitate not. After all, they can afford much better preamble writers than the rest of us. Those who enjoy a bit less of the aforesaid attributes buttress their courage with a few drinks and hit the bathroom to comb their declining hair and practice their fading smiles before taking the literal, figurative, and metaphorical plunge, although most often the "plunge" taken turns out to be flaming and downward into the sea. You and I down a heck of a lot of drinks and hit the head more than a few times to coax what we can get out of our Custer’s Land Stand of a hairline and run our smiles through a series of drills so strenuous they almost suffer heat stroke before we clumsily seek out a sympathy moment, conversation, or other desperate encounter that might hopefully lead to an entire progression of sympathy gestures and actions culminating in The Grand and UltimateSympathy Act .... which by then we’ll be too damn exhausted to follow through on anyway.
How best to behave? None of us truly knows!A mere smile might be met by disinterest, contempt, or a call to the authorities. A casual word might be held up to derision, especially if we absent-mindedly employ an expression like "happening," "groovy," or “Jeepers Creepers, where’d you get those peepers?”
So at what age does one officially become a dirty old man?
There are no dirty old men really.
There is only all of us --- inwardly in age feeling but a square root of what we outwardly in age express to the world --- trying to make sense of it all without hopefully making too big a fool out of ourselves.
Unfortunately to the rest of the world, we resemble troll dolls hitting on Barbie.
And only the best of preamble writers could ever put into words the deepest, darkest, and most soulful hopes, desires, and dreams of our Inner Ken.