First Published in “Between The Lines” in May 2007
If the marketing industry is any gauge, I’m not a very good Gay Man. No matter how many pairs of shoes I own, I typically wear only two: a pair of simple black dress boots or a pair of black sneakers. Same with jeans: a pair of Levis or some fancy designer pair (I honestly don’t know the brand). I thought the latter were ridiculously expensive, even at 75% off, but in a moment of weakness I let the sales-guy talk me into them because, in his words, “they make your ass look hot!” (They do, so I wear them to go out.)
I don’t shop at Abercrombie and Fitch, because, frankly, I’ve never been young enough to wear those clothes (I was the only guy in my 7th grade class to wear a tie for the yearbook photo). When my partner and I walk into a department store, he goes to the jeans and t-shirts and I go to what we’ve come to call “the grown-up section.” In the grown-up section I look at ties but never buy them, because no matter how many I own, there are only three or four in my closet that I ever reach for.
I live in a comfortable four-bedroom house built in the 1930’s, with modestly sized closets typical of that era. Several friends have suggested turning the fourth bedroom into a walk-in closet. I think that if I ever need to do that, it’s time to give away some clothes. (The Ruth Ellis Center, a Detroit shelter for homeless and runaway LGBT youth, is happy to take donations.)
I buy $12 sunglasses. Without rhinestones. Seriously: twice in the last month I’ve been to parties where some guy (a different one each time) wore bedazzled Chanel sunglasses. One of those parties was at night, indoors.
I go to a barber shop, not a salon. I don’t use eye cream. I seldom wear hair product.
I feel silly typing the words “hair product.”
I don’t lie about my age, even online, where I don’t have a profile anyway (not that there’s anything wrong with that). This column hits the newsstands around my 38th birthday. To ease me into the next decade, my friends have begun telling me that 40 is the new 30. I keep telling myself that a slight paunch is the new six-pack, and that weird patches of hair are the new smooth.
I think gyms are goofy, but I go because I’m a gay man pushing 40 and it’s the law. Besides, I need to keep fitting in those jeans in order to justify their cost.
I have less and less patience for the fact that “going out” means leaving the house at an hour that I normally call bedtime. When I do go out, I order “old man drinks” like Negronis or bourbon-and-ginger-ale. I would sooner drink Windex than order a vodka-Red Bull (and it would probably taste better, too).
I have never, ever, ever gone to a tanning salon. Maybe that’s why I don’t need eye cream.
Occasionally I read “lifestyle” magazines that suggest that, at my advanced age, I should consider Botox to make me look more rested. If I wanted to look more rested, I would get more rest. (I’ve tried it; it works.)
Those same magazines suggest that Viagra would allow me to have sex like I did when I was 19. If I wanted to have sex like I did when I was 19, I’d grab a copy of the International Male catalog and lock myself in the bathroom.
When people make stupid comments about penis size, I announce with a straight face that I have a small one. Then I take silent glee in watching them stammer and backpedal. (Try it sometime, regardless of whether you have a small penis. The 50% of men with smaller-than-average penises will be quietly in your debt. Besides, it’s funny to watch the reaction.)
I don’t have an iPod and wouldn’t know how to use one if I did. Until recently, I drove a 12-year-old car, even though I could afford a new one. I have nothing against people’s spending money on things that make their lives better (my new car is really sweet), but I find that things never turn me on as much as people do.