the other side
Years ago, when I was living in my former city, I was resting by the side of a popular lap pool and overheard the conversation in the lane next to me. An attractive man, divorced with a few kids (I picked this up from the conversation) and perhaps five or ten years older than me, was confessing to a male friend that he was afraid, after his last passionate break-up, that he was never going have another relationship with a woman. He hadn’t met anyone he’d found attractive since and worried it was all over for him sexually– that perhaps those days were over. His friend nervously rushed to deny that this would be the case and seemed uncomfortable with the conversation. I was secretly wishing the man would notice me but certainly could not have injected myself into such a sensitive moment.
I thought of him last night because I was listening to a mental health podcast (The Mental Illness Happy Hour) in which a popular, older radio personality was being interviewed, and he expressed some of the same fears. He worried he would never meet another woman or have sex or get married again and also feared becoming impotent.
Demographics are certainly in men’s favor as people age, but it seems they too feel the difficulty of locating a compatible mate as an older person.
Of course, luck plays a large part for everyone. As proof, two years after I moved away, I visited my former city and returned to that swimming spot. It was in the middle of a weekday and almost deserted. Lo and behold, that same gentleman was there, and as I sat sunning myself by the side of the pool, he came up to me and initiated a conversation. When I revealed that I was just visiting from another city, his face fell.
Men certainly do have their own anxieties. I was talking to a man I just met (not as a date but as someone I hired). He quickly interjected in the conversation how he is divorced…a bit over a year and “getting his head straight”. Another time he openly joked “who would date me with this (his beat up work truck) being my only car”? He was joking but I think the fear was real.
Women have the continuous pressure to look good and sexy enough while men have the continuous pressure to be financially viable. Of course, not all…but in general.
I know several men who have made similar comments about their beat-up cars.
What is the name of that mental health broadcast? Sounds like a good show.
“The Mental Illness Happy Hour” put on by Paul Gilmartin. I recommend it.