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4 August 2011, 12:00 pm 4 Comments

Cynical And Southern: Does My Gaydolescence Ever Have To End?

This post was submitted by Jeremy Gloff

A night out with my friends

I don’t ever want to grow up. Thankfully because I am gay I’m allowed a longer lease on my youth.

I am 36 years old. I still have rock star posters on my wall. I love my stuffed animals. I go out and dance three nights a week. I leave my house at one am. I wait tables and love it. Many of my habits haven’t changed since I was eighteen.

My friends Michelle and Jessica were recently talking to a forty year old girl they knew. Distastefully they chastised the girl for being forty, unmarried, and still going to clubs. “People shouldn’t be going to clubs when they are over forty!”

“Ladies,” I replied. “I plan on still tearing up the dance floor when I’m sixty.”

“It’s different,” they said. “You are gay.”

Michelle and Jessica reaffirmed what I already knew. As a gay man I am relieved of the expectation of having to raise a family, move to the ‘burbs, and lose my soul after twenty nine. Homo say what?

Many things have changed since I was 18. I am much more mature with conflict resolution. Years of soul searching has made me more self aware and more genuine. I find myself to be more insightful than I was in my teen years. Personal growth aside, if one were to view my daily schedule on paper…not much has changed! Many of my gay friends in my age bracket are in the same boat. Without biological clocks ticking in our gay ears do we allow ourselves to feel young longer without the straight guilt?

I don’t drink. I am not enslaved to a chemical dependency. I just love pounding my thirty six year old feet on the dance floor with a big smile on my face. For years I’ve mourned my single life. Perhaps these are the years I still should be enjoying it.

I see many of my gay friends settling down once they are in their mid forties. Perhaps for straight people adolescence ends at twenty one and for gay men it ends at forty five.

I plan on enjoying my gaydolescence while it lasts.

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  • Brent said:

    A straight friend in his mid-forties recently posted a question on Facebook asking if it was okay for him to wear shorts to lunch at a nice-ish restaurant when it was 100+ degrees outside. Almost everyone piped up to say it was NOT okay, except for me. I told him that creative types (like he and I — I’m a designer and he’s a photographer), gay men, and anyone in the Caribbean are allowed to wear shorts in this scenario. No one refuted my argument because they knew it was true.

    While gay men in particular are chided for being hedonistic and immature, I look at it this way. Many of us Gen-X gays (I can’t speak for the real younguns) are having our first crushes and dates and boyfriends and sex in our twenties and thirties, while our straight friends did all that in middle and high school. You combine adolescent feelings with adult libidos, independence, income and transportation (not to mention legal drinking) and you’ve got some long-and-hard-partying “older” men.

    I’m 42 now, and yes I live in the burbs with my husband, dog, and our almost 2 year-old son, so the (hard) partying has stopped. But I still wear shorts whenever I want.

  • claire said:

    found this really interesting as i was just reflecting on this today. it seems like most of the straight people i went to high school and college with are getting married and/or having babies, and my lesbian friends my age are nowhere near that stuff. i think lesbians adolescence ends after straight people’s but before gay men’s…maybe around early thirties?

  • Doctor Whom said:

    I bought a house when I was 32. This was well after the ages at which most hetero people of my acquaintance had bought their first houses, but my queer friends thought I was exotic for buying real estate at such a young age or a detatched house ever.

  • Richard said:

    I think Brent’s got the gist of it: Gay men of a certain age didn’t really get to experience sexual adolescence until their early-mid 20′s. That delays the rest of the maturing until that point as well. I’ve been preaching that for a long time.

    I came out and started dating when I was 15, so I wasn’t far behind my straight peers. Then again, I was married to my husband at 27… so maybe that proves the point lol.

    I turned 30 this year and I find myself censoring myself around my straight co-workers when they ask “What’d you do this weekend?” The answer is usually house party or bars or eating out or something to that effect. But I usually end up saying “Oh, nothing much. Hung around the house, some chores, you know…” and get the approving nod and agreement from them. If I told them that I was out at The Hole until 4:30 AM then went to the taqueria next door before visiting the sidewalk sale and ultimately heading home… well, I feel like that wouldn’t go over so well!