Guest Post: Rodney and Me pt. 2

Today we have a second installment of Robert Riley’s open letter to the parents of his new significant other. You can read the first installment here.

Seeing my own words in print elsewhere besides my coffee table is gratifying and I appreciate you, the gentle reader… I’ll continue if it pleases you.

 

If your son is anything like Rodney, and his relationship with someone older continues as I am certainly hoping that ours will, at some point you will have a conversation and parts of it are going to sound like this:

“But that’s a whole generation”, “He’s old enough to be…”, “Are you crazy?”, or “Son are you sure you want this?” There’s a few bazillion other things you might say as well, some couched in your own prejudice, assuming human nature is as much a part of your makeup as it is anyone else. Then you’re going to “repair” to your own thoughts, perhaps thinking that if you object you’re going to drive him in a direction you’d prefer he not go. It’s okay to not want your son to be in a relationship with some guy who is twenty five years his senior. You’ve got a right to your feelings. I’d suggest that you really take a bit and experience them. You’re going to think things that will range from “What kind of pervert…?” when you imagine my face to “Well, it’s his life; he needs to make his own mistakes” when thinking about your son. Being frustrated and fearful that your son is making a terrible mistake is part of being a parent, and you’re probably already used to it. The difference is this may be an area in which your input is not going to be so quickly wanted or heeded, you’d better get used that too. Somewhere along the line in this process you’re going to get curious, so go ahead and get that other crap out of the way. After all you’re concerned and rightly so, on a couple of points at least: You don’t want your son hurt, he’s your child – of course you don’t. You don’t want to see him taken advantage of or in a situation where he is operating at a disadvantage. You see the difference in years as something to be worried about. You could easily be thinking that he’s being taken advantage of or just being used sexually. As much as it pains me to say, you could be right, there are some real bad people out there and it’s entirely possible that your son might have stumbled on to one of them. Try to equip your son with the knowledge of what the “red flags” look like and be careful that you don’t over do it.

In the midst of all of the negative you might be thinking (and forgive me if I’m terribly wrong about you) I would like to raise a point here. Have you considered that there might be some advantages too, or are you just stuck on what’s wrong? (That part of me that wants to be supportive is battling with that part that wants you to remind you {loudly and with maximum prejudice} that “no” isn’t the only answer to a question) Parents are used to saying “no” aren’t they? Speaking from my own experience, our kids present us with lots of situations in which we need to “parent”, we establish rules, guidelines and expectations in the hope that they’ll follow all of these instructions and somehow ferret out the right path. We want them to take advantage of our mistakes because we recognize how much pain our errors have caused us and we don’t want them to have to endure what we have endured. When our kids stray from the rules we say “no”, when they’re not following the guidelines we say “do it like this” and when something goes wrong we explain the expectations we had for them… am I correct? Then if that still doesn’t get the point across we follow that up with discipline or worse, punishment. I’m hoping that you don’t go down the punishing path… (oh yes, you can still punish him despite the fact that he’s reached the age of majority) You can isolate him, let him feel that you’re angry because of his choices. I’d like to take moment or two and remind you of something…. Something that gay people over the age of 30 (and a great many younger too) have come to know. Young people that happen to be Gay spend a lot of time being punished, many of them do it to themselves, they really don’t need you to help them to more punishment. Rodney is doing it to himself but I think he’s gaining ground on this. At one point he had convinced himself that you’re going to be so completely disapproving that he’s keeping his seeing someone a complete secret. My guess is that he’s terrified about telling you about this person he’s been seeing once or twice a week.

I don’t want to scare you but this needs to be said because it’s epidemic.

The greatest cause of death among people who are under 25 and identify as GLBT of any variety is Suicide, driven by both real and imagined non acceptance of people they love. Please don’t add to the burden your son already feels, allow him to be who he is without editorial comments, kindly, carefully express your concern but for the time being at least, for his sake keep your judgmental perspective to yourself! If I’m wrong and you are a supportive and affirming parent, don’t pass up the chance to tell him you love him more than life itself, you’ll have my unending gratitude as well as everybody’s from under the rainbow.

 At some point in the last couple of years you might have thought: “We’ve spent all this time and energy trying to teach him how to get from “A” to “B” and then he throws a curve ball” I can almost hear it in the wind. “Mom, Dad… we need to talk” “What’s wrong honey?” His Mother says with a hint of alarm, his Dad sits, quietly. They both look at him as he fidgets a bit. “I have something to tell you”. His pronounced adams apple bobs gently and then he says: “I’m gay”. His Dad exhales sharply, and says “Oh, is that all. I thought you were, um… I mean I thought somebody was pregnant”. His Mother looks at her husband… mouth open wide, “is that all, Tom what’s got into you?” A year later, you’ve still not really dealt with the “Gay” thing and you discover, quite by accident that your son of 20 is in a relationship with someone as old as his Father and you have no idea what to do. Let me make it easy on you: Sit down, relax, let me help you here a little.

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Beginners: A Young Man, His Gay Father, and a Dog

When I first heard about Beginners a few months ago I knew I wanted to see it when it hit theaters.  The film stars Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer as father and son.  The former is coming to terms with the ins and outs of making relationships and love work, the latter is coming out late in life and embracing life anew.  The film was written and directed by Mike Mills and loosely based on experiences with his own father.

The core of the story is McGregor as Oliver, the dower but likeable son trying to make a new relationship work.  However his own love life is tinted by the relationship his father had with his mother and his father’s subsequent coming out after his mother’s death. Oliver is an illustrator and graphic designer, and that sensibility is carried through the film. The main story of Oliver’s burgeoning relationship is punctuated by iconic/photographic depictions of the world and ideas Oliver is struggling with.  Also interwoven with the primary story are flashbacks to Oliver’s childhood experiences with his mother and his experiences with his father during the final months of his life.

Plummer takes a wonderful turn as McGregor’s out-late father, Hal. His enthusiasm for his new gay life as well as his struggle with the cancer that, revealed very early in the film, kills him, provide emotional resonance that propels and haunts McGregor’s character throughout the film.

Rounding out the cast are the lovely Mélanie Laurent as Oliver’s love interest and Goran Visnjic as Hal’s much younger boyfriend.  The chemistry in both onscreen couples works well.  I particularly enjoy that Visnjic’s Andy is just strange enough to feel earnest and like a real person.  Last, but not least is Cosmo, the ever present Jack Russell Terrier in the film.  Part security blanket, part sounding board for Oliver’s neurosis; the dog adds some lightness to what is often a very heavy film.

I highly recommend Beginners for those in gay intergenerational relationships; seldom do we see our own stories depicted so sensitively. However, I wouldn’t say this is a stereotypical “gay” film.  There is a lot there to appeal to individuals of diverse backgrounds and experiences.   It is now showing  in select theaters.

Homeland: Perhaps We Can Go Back Again, Pt. 2

In the last post I began recounting my experience of coming out to my parents.  Today’s post concludes the narrative.

As Christmas of 2008 drew nearer both John and I became more anxious about how my parents might react to us.  During phone calls they were generally pretty reticent to discuss my relationship, but I knew that my return home for Christmas would advance the conversation.

Fairly early on, John decided that it would be a nice gesture if he sent them a little gift.  Eventually we decided it would seem less presumptuous if we sent a gift together, so we ordered them a gift basket to be delivered directly to their house.  John also sent along a Christmas card wishing them the best and included a photo of the two of us together.  I had already sent them photos in the past, but this one ended up taking on greater significance.

By the time my trip back home came around I was pretty nervous.  I was only going for a handful of days and each was scheduled with family events long before I headed to the airport.  Overall I was pleased by my return home.  I feared that an atmosphere of tension might permeate my whole visit, but from the outset my parents seemed comfortable with my return.  However, it did seem that, on the drive home, the issue of my coming out was a proverbial elephant in the room that no one wanted to bring up.

Once getting to the house my parents thanked me again for the gift we sent; it had arrived quite early and they had previously thanked John and I over the phone.  I was also pleasantly surprised to find that they had framed the photo John had sent and had it sitting with other family photos on a shelf in the living room.  It was a subtle but reassuring sign of my parents’ position on our relationship.

Throughout the trip it was my father that made the most direct overtures of interest or approval.  At one point, while my mother was out doing shopping, he broached the subject.  He managed to stealthfully complement both John and I by saying that I had good judgment in people.  At that time he mentioned that he’d also like to meet John and that perhaps he and my mother would come out for a visit.  Unfortunately when the subject of a visit was broached again later with my mother she seemed much more resistant.  She cited the economy as a primary factor, and she’s never been one to travel much anyway, but I can’t help but think that a sense of discomfort about my sexuality and the age difference between John and I were contributing factors.

I have been a little surprised that my parents waited as long as they did to ask questions about the age difference between John and I.  I sent them photos of John early last year, but it wasn’t until my Christmas visit that they pressed me on John’s age.  One morning while we were together in the living room my father asked “How old is John anyway, in his forties?”  I couldn’t help but laugh; John looks quite young for his age, but no one could reasonably mistake him for being in his forties.  My mother immediately responded “No! He has to be about my age”.  My mother, just turning 60 this year, was getting warmer.  “No” I said “he’s around dad’s age”.  I feel a little disingenuous not sharing John’s precise age, but, with my dad having just turned 70, there was no longer any pretense about the age gap between John and me.

Ultimately my visit with my parents was reassuring, but not earth shaking.  There were no tearful revelations or heartfelt late night talks.  For them the nature of my relationship was clarified and to a certain extent they were probably reassured that I hadn’t lost my mind; I’m the same son they knew and loved.  On my part, I received no profound embrace of John as the newest member of the family.  However it was encouraging to find that our family wasn’t fundamentally challenged by my revelations either.cookies There were no hidden rifts in my relationship with my parents to be revealed only when we finally met again face to face. In fact I found small signs of encouragement, signs that my parents could accept my being gay, signs that my parents might be willing to get to know John and not just tolerate his presence in my life, signs that come in the form of a photo on a book shelf or a tin of home baked goodies my mother sent home with me for John.

Homeland: Perhaps We Can Go Back Again, Pt. 1

I have mentioned before that I thought that telling people that I was interested in older men was like coming out a second time and that the age difference between my partner and I was where I felt I would encounter the most resistance about our relationship.  I visited my parents over the holidays and really confronted the consequences of coming out to them face-to-face for the first time; thankfully without much anguish.  It is also now coming upon one year of being out to them and, in a way, that means one year of really, truly being fully out to the world.  It feels like a good time to reflect on the past year and this final, monumental step of coming out.

During November and December of 2007 I began seriously considering coming out to my parents.  For the first time in my life I was in a committed relationship, and the idea of coming out started to feel less like a lie of omission and more like a bold faced lie.  I began reading a number of books about coming out; I found Betty Fairchild and Nancy Hayward’s Now That You Know exceptionally helpful.  The idea of coming out to my parents filled me with anxiety.  We were always the sort of family that never talked about controversial topics, so sex and religion were generally off the table.  I had no concrete idea of how my parents felt about homosexuality.

When I went home for the holidays that year I intended to come out, but couldn’t bring myself to do it.  There was another sort of family crisis happening at the time that was already affecting the mood back home, and so I decided not to add to the stress of the season.  However, the visit was incredibly stressful for me;  having to make secretive phone calls to John, being unable to talk to my brother about the relationship for fear of being overheard, and the general dis-ease created by denying my relationship.

Upon returning home I decided that I needed to come out sooner rather than later.  In late January I mailed a coming out letter to my parents.  This isn’t a method I’d necessarily recommend to everyone, but I decided for my parents and I it was the best option at the time.  In my letter I discussed how I came to identify myself as gay, my personal journey with that identity, and how I now felt happy and successful in my life.  However I did not state that I was in a relationship or discuss John;  I decided I’d let them acclimate themselves to the idea that I was gay for a bit before jumping into the relationship side of it.

I waited about two weeks after mailing the letter before I contacted them.  I had hoped that they would call me first, but after giving them some time for the letter to reach them and for them to process what they read I called.  I spoke to my father first and was buoyed by his reception of my letter.  He told me that the thought that I might be gay had crossed his mind in the past and said that “people are they way they are, you can’t try to change them”.  He also related a story about someone he had gone to school with that had gotten married and had kids, but later came out and now lived with a partner.  I was elated at my father’s willingness to try to relate with me.

During the first call my mother hadn’t been at home, so I called back a couple days later.  She was clearly much more uncomfortable talking about the subject than my father was.  She asked some questions and didn’t seem too upset, but overall she seemed to want to avoid the topic.  She did ask me if I was in a relationship with the man I was living with and I admitted yes, but said I’d prefer to discuss him more later after they’d become more comfortable with the idea of me being gay.  I did convince my mother and father to check a copy of Now That You Know out of their local library.  I think it helped them innumerably as well.

Over the proceeding months I began to reveal additional information about John.  Eventually I wrote them a second letter.  Through both the letter and phone conversations I explained that I had always been attracted to older men, that John was exceptionally important to me, and that I considered him my partner.  I also sent them some photos of John.

By the time it came time for me to return home for Christmas of 2008 they were getting a pretty full picture of John.  They knew he was much older than me, though I still have yet to give a precise age, they learned he has adult children, and I often spoke to them about our life together.  However they seldom asked about John or even alluded to him in conversation unless I brought him up first.  I was anxious to see my parents face-to-face, to see if they would be more willing to discuss my homosexuality in person, and what questions they might ask about John.

Coming up:  My visit home during Christmas 2008.

Coming Out Intergenerational: a Poll

portalOver the Christmas holiday I returned to the American South to visit my family.  This was the first visit back since I came out to my parents and told them about my relationship with a man more than forty years my senior.  I plan to write a post about my experience of coming out to my parents, but I want to take a little more time to reflect on my most recent visit.

In addition to this visit, John and I recently watched the film Milk.  In it we see Harvey Milk imploring his gay compatriots to come out, that only by being visible will the gay community make any political progress.  In one scene he almost forces one of his campaign aids to call his parents to come out.

Combined, these events have had me thinking about and reflecting on coming out quite a bit lately.  I first started coming out to friends about ten years ago.  The first person I told was a mere acquaintance, a young woman that lived in my freshman dorm.  Over the years I’ve found it easier and easier to come out to people.  But, I remember having a very difficult time coming out to friends from high school that had known me a long time and it took me a long time and a change in personal circumstances to finally come clean with my parents.

For those of us who are attracted to individuals who are significantly older or younger than ourselves, an additional challenge is thrown into the process of coming out.  I had lots of friends to whom I had come out to, but never told them about my attraction to older men.  After I became involved with John, I realized I had to, in a way, come out a second time.  I had the same sort of anxiety telling these friends about my attraction to older men as I did when I first came out.  However, by far I worried most about my parents’ reaction to my intergenerational relationship.

For you, who do you think will be, or was, the most difficult to tell about your attraction to individuals of a much different age? Feel free to leave a comment as well as respond to the poll below.


“Lately Gay”: a Resource For Coming Out Late

A couple of months ago I started off my special features with a wildly popular post about the photography of Nate Ndosi.  I’ve been looking long and hard for other interesting sites, artists, or authors that are doing distinctive things on the subject of gay inter-generational relationships or unique aspects of gay life.  I have to admit those subjects are sometimes few and far between.  But today, I’m excited to bring you our second installment featuring Stephen McKenna, the editor and primary contributor of the site Lately Gay.

Lately Gay is a site primarily geared toward men that have come out later in life.  When visiting the site the reader is greeted by a striking masthead and a crisp magazine style layout.  Once you scroll past the masthead, it is a tad on the large side, you’ll find a brief welcome that introduces you to the site and several featured articles.  To the right of the welcome message you’ll the true portal to Lately Gay, the site map.  The site map features a number of topics/categories, under which you’ll find more information.

Initially navigating this site map can be a little confusing because some of the topic headers don’t overtly reference what you will find under them.  However, your patience will be well rewarded as you continue to explore the site.  Despite its recent creation, Lately Gay is already a wealth of interesting articles.  One can find blog style posts, articles on general gay topics, health info, and book reviews.  Lately Gay also seems to have mission of inclusiveness offering a variety of way readers may also participate in the site.  Many posts are open for leaving comments and there are areas for coming out stories, asking for advice, and responding to polls.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised when I cam across Stephen’s site a little while back.  While I am a young gay man that never contemplated living the straight life I can certainly sympathize.  I would estimate that at least half of the older gay men in my social circle came out late, were married, and had children.  That was certainly the case for my partner; we’ve talked a lot about the complicated nature of coming out that way.  I also feel a sense of fraternity with Stephen; he started Lately Gay to address what I felt was an under-represented  aspect of the gay community and for similar reasons I started From Gay to December.  I look forward to seeing his site, and hopefully the community around it, grow.  To give you a better sense of the goals and motivations behind Lately Gay I asked Stephen if he’d answer a few questions; the following is a brief interview conducted via electronic correspondence.

Gay to December: When did you start Lately Gay and what were your primary goals in creating the site?

Stephen McKenna: Well, Lately Gay is in the process of being born as we speak. It’s a big undertaking while also juggling the ‘bill-paying’ things I have to do, but slowly and surely it’s getting there and I hope to do a formal media launch in October.

As for primary goals. One was certainly therapy. My coming out took place six years ago and I recently had to admit that I’d hardly dealt with the baggage of my marital breakdown (my wife and I had been together for almost 12 years). So, six years running away was starting to take its toll.  Writing for the site has indeed helped with a lot of closure. I think it was a final stage of healing I had to go through.

My other big goal with Lately Gay has been the opportunity to share my experience with other men who may be going through the same turmoil as I did. There was no one to turn to when I came out and it was a very lonely time, so LG is all about telling those guys that they are not alone – that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

GtD: According to your site you came out relatively late yourself. Could you tell us briefly about your own coming out process?

SM: One day I’d love to do a version of The Brady Bunch credit sequence adapted to my story. You know … “Here’s the story of a lovely fella … la la la!”. That way I could wrap the whole story up in 30 seconds. Anyway, let me try and be brief.

There I was 13 or 14, wondering why I looked at slightly older, good looking boys on the train all the time. About the same stage a confession to a sibling that I had been molested by a family friend led to a stern warning never to mention it again or my dad would throw me out of the house for being gay!! That was a tough wrap to be thrown at such a delicate age and sufficient for me to lay a big, heavy lid on the problem. Indeed I became good at burying the urges and focusing on another sibling’s straight porn mags.

From there on in I threw myself into school life and went all the way to my thirties without a single relationship until, that is, a girl took an interest in me. That was the beginning of my marriage. Yes, I had had sex with guys on a small number of occasions but I still had myself down as straight, then bisexual, but not until about my 38th year did I cotton on to the fact that I was just gay, gay, gay!

That was the Pandora moment and it soon led to the realization that I had to spread my wings and fly or I was about to die. Yes, I could fully see the devastation I was about to wreak on my marriage but I also knew that I’d never make someone happy when I was so unhappy myself. That was the beginning of the end.

GtD: Are you still in contact with your wife?

SM: Very much so. She’s a special person and while she went through a terrible ordeal she has emerged from it a stronger person. We were each other’s best friends in our marriage and thank God we’ve been able to hold on to that connection.

GtD: Did your own coming out experience influence the creation of the site?

SM: Entirely. If I wrote a book telling my whole story the title would have to be something like Here’s How To Drive Your Car at 90mph Into A Brick Wall And Walk Away From The Wreckage In One Piece. That’s a big story to tell and so I’ve felt compelled by the trauma of that experience to share it through Lately Gay.

GtD: What unique problems do those men coming out late encounter?

SM: For a start they are emerging into the gay world at a very vulnerable stage. Our gay culture can be very ageist and judgmental, like we’re all supposed to be gilded Peter Pans preserved in aspic. Who says?! Well that’s a tough brief to begin with.

Then there’s the marriage they are invariably leaving behind and all the detritus that goes with that. It’s a bit like stepping out of the funeral parlour straight into a birthing pool!Hardly an auspicious beginning.<

And as for the real fun part! These guys are 40 to 50 and having to start the dating game all over again. Plus they face the prospect of encountering their first taste of true love and, all too likely, their first heartbreaks. Any of these guys can tell you that these things don’t get any easier with the passing of the years.

GtD: Is the lately gay phenomenon on the decline? To what extent do you think young gay men are still marrying women out of either fear, denial, etc.?

SM: These days in liberal societies the gay stigma is evaporating all the time, so it is easier for young men and women to come out and there’s much less of a chance of them ending up in straight marriages. However, there are all the guys from twenty or thirty years who’ve been caught up in what I call the ‘gay delay’ that are only now coming out of the closet as the kids have grown up and left home. That’s when they start to contemplate their remaining years.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world suppression of homosexuality is on the increase – not decreasing. Take a nation like Egypt, for example. Or especially in countries where Sharia Law is being adopted and they are advocating punishment by death for being gay.  So, you bet, in such cultures, young people have no option but to enter the imprisonment of unhappy marriages. That’s nothing short of a denial of basic human rights.

It’s imperative for the international community to give these victims a voice and we hope to keep it alive as an issue on the site.

GtD: How many contributors does the site currently have?

SM: Well, if I’m honest, it’s me and the dog a lot of the time! I have had friends and the like give me assistance but basically the roster of contributors will grow as more people become aware of Lately Gay. At that stage I hope to perform mainly an editorial role.

Those contributors will be very important also because I’m keen that Lately Gay is made up of a variety of different voices. I don’t want it all to be my perspective and where people write to take issue with things that I’ve posted I make a point of publishing those remarks.

GtD: What has the response to the site been so far?

SM: Very encouraging with lots of people telling me that it’s a good idea and much needed which is good to hear. Kinda makes it all worthwhile.

GtD: How do you envision the future of Lately Gay?

SM: In time I’d like to see Lately Gay become not just a testimonial but also develop a strong voice in the gay community. In particular, one that speaks up for older gay guys. Here in the UK we are all but ignored by the gay media and that really needs to change. We may be Lately Gay but that doesn’t mean that we’re not the real thing. Sure we’re a bit gray but we’re ALL gay and very much intending to stay, so make a bit of room there guys.

GTD: Thank you Stephen for your time, it has been a pleasure hearing your thoughts on the gay community and coming out.  I urge everyone to stop by LatelyGay.com an see what Stephen has been developing.

Advice For Younger Men: On Meeting Older Men

When I was on the market I generally limited myself to dating websites. They worked out for me pretty well, but I can understand that others may shy away from that method for meeting men. Since meeting someone, I’ve become a lot more socially active, and in doing so have come to realize there are other approaches to meeting men. The following are six strategies for younger men seeking an older partner. They might not all seem right for you, but hopefully the will provide you a broader set of strategies for meeting the right guy.

1. Find a gay online dating site that meets your needs. It is probably less imperative for younger guys than older guys, but you might consider dating sites geared toward intergenerational relationships. Sites such as Silverdaddies and SeeksOlder offer great search tools for finding compatible matches. While these sites still provide opportunities for casual dating they also present a sizable pool interested in serious relationships. I met my partner online and several men that I still consider my friends.

2. Join an organized social group tailored to an GLBT audience. Many communities have gay groups geared toward a variety of interests. If you’re just coming out you may consider joining a coming out support group. They offer a great opportunity to build a network of people going through a similar experience and the opportunity to meet interesting individuals. Or, you may want to choose a group that relates to your hobbies or interests. Organizations such as gay book clubs, political organizations, and outdoor/environmentalist groups are common and likely to attract an older crowd. If there is a pass-time you like, there are probably other gay people already organized and doing it together (the pass-time that is). If you meet someone at one of these groups you already know there’s at least one thing you have in common.

3. Go to art events. While the audience for art events aren’t necessarily all gay, a large number of older gay men are likely to turn out. While I think events in the visual arts are best, the performing arts such as plays and concerts provide intermissions in which you might mingle with people you’re interested in. The gallery districts of many cities hold first Friday events or other sorts of festivals. I think theses are excellent opportunities for meeting people; the art on exhibit offer excellent conversations starters.

4. Attend fundraising events; older men tend to be more politically involved. Whether it is a fundraiser for your local HIV/AIDS charity or a local Democratic candidate, fundraisers can provide an opportunity to meet smart and socially engaged people. It doesn’t hurt that potential mates will also see you as a caring socially conscious person.

5. Get involved with your local GLBT resource center. By staying involved in the community you’ll stay abreast of special events and you can build a network of friends. Who knows they just might introduce you to Mr. Right. My local community center regularly holds a GLBT “happy hour” at a local bar. Your resource center may also get you connected to those social groups I mentioned earlier.

6. Keep you eyes and mind open during your day to day life. As a group gay people are pretty bad at self ghettoizing; we think that gay bars and dating sites are our only options. Instead, remain open to opportunities to meet people all the time. Your hobbies and everyday activities may present opportunities for potential mates to approach you. Just walking your dog, riding your motorcycle, or going to the gym may draw a potential mate’s attention. Also, look for ways to start conversations with those men you find handsome or interesting. I’m not saying you should start by putting on the charm full force, but test the waters with attractive older men when you can. Even if they don’t happen to be gay learning to approach and talk with older men will be good practice for when you do meet an older gay man.

For those younger guys out there that have dated older men, what strategies have worked best for you? What sorts of places do you find older gay men?