I have always been attracted to older men. I don’t know why- I have a great relationship with my father, it’s not like I have Daddy issues or anything. But there is something about a man in his mid to late 40’s that I find incredibly attractive. At various times in my life I’ve dabbled in dating older men. As with any man I’ve dated, the results have been mixed.

Everyone who wants to date older does so because they want someone mature, someone who knows what they want and has their life together. The catch-22, of course, is that anyone that age who would seriously date someone your age is usually doing so because they are none of those things. Usually older men who date drastically younger than themselves do so because they’re stuck, wanting to recapture the wildness of youth. Or they’re looking for someone to basically mold in their image, like a mentorship.

I went on several dates a few years ago with a man I’ll call Arnold. Arnold was 44, had salt and pepper hair and a British accent. I thought he was the most attractive person I had ever been out with. He took me to lunch, paid the check, then whisked me off in his Porsche to his home (which he owned) to watch a movie on our first date. I was instantly enamored with every aspect of the previous sentence, and heavily infatuated with him. We went out to dinner after the movie (our date now going on 6 hours) and he told me he did a lot of traveling, and that I should make sure my passport was up to date. He pulled out all the stops, and I ate it all up. For some reason by the end of our first date I told him that I was still a virgin, and he told me that he had herpes.

Somehow I was still really attracted to him.

On our second date, he suggested we ask each other the “36 questions to fall in love”. On our SECOND date. We talked about a lot of different things, and he told me that he had no relationship with his mom and basically didn’t care if his mother was alive or dead. In hindsight (which is really the only saving grace I have from this story), anyone who does not have a great relationship with his mother is immediately off the list of potential suitors. Why him telling me he had herpes didn’t fall into that category, I’ll never know. After the date, he told me he was meeting friends, and said that he thought of inviting me, but figured it might be too soon. I agreed, although to be honest I was still really attracted to him (despite the herpes and mom being left dead in a ditch somewhere) and would have met his friends right then and there if he’d asked.

On our third date, we got brunch at Joan’s on Third. When he arrived, however, I could tell that something was different. His mood seemed sour, and the conversation didn’t flow like it had previously. We walked down third street, and stopped in a shop where he asked the manager if he had decided to feature any of Arnold’s art in the store. The manager said that he would pass, as I awkwardly looked around the store pretending not to notice the embarrassing exchange. I bought a mug. I still drink out of that mug and call it my “Worst date in the world mug”. At the end of our date we went to my place. I thought we were going to make out, but instead he suggested we take a nap. He then promptly curled up on my couch and went to sleep. I laid down next to him, and wondered what the hell was going on. He awoke 30 minutes later, said that he’d had a fun time, and left. I did not know what to think. I think it’s obvious to say I still don’t know what to think.

I asked my friend for advice, wanting to know what was going on. Our first date had had such a spark, we were so attracted to each other. Ever since then it felt dead. But we kept seeing each other. Why?

“He’s just not that into you,” my friend said.

And although I had seen that movie, I wasn’t so sure that I was Ginnifer Goodwin just yet.

Arnold and I went to see Dr Strange at the Arclight, and I held his hand during the film. Afterwards, we went to Swingers, where he ordered a tuna melt. I asked if he had read my blog. He told me he “hadn’t gotten around to it”. He dropped me off at home, and by that point I had had enough. Fuming, I texted him and basically asked, “What is going on?”

“I’m glad you asked,” he responded. He told me that he didn’t feel like our relationship was headed in a physical direction, and that the “spark he felt on the first date failed to light a fire beneath him”, to which I replied, “Ouch.”

I wanted to write back a lot of things. First, “What the fuck?” Followed by, “Why have you been wasting my time? Why have you been continuing to date me? Why haven’t you said any of this to me? Why did you take that nap? Why did you make me sit through a Marvel film?” But the biggest question I wanted to ask was to myself: “Why am I so hung up on someone who is clearly not interested in me?”

It hurt. A lot. The feeling that I felt when I got that text was lower than I had felt at any point since I had gotten sober. But it passed. I got over it. Now I laugh about it. And I know that sometimes, he’s just not that into you. But if it’s meant to be, he will be.

I’d like to say this is the end of me dating older men. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I can’t say for sure whether I’m only going to go on serious dates, with men who I could absolutely see myself with, or if I’ll go out with people I’m attracted to and not worry as much about the long term. I don’t even think I’ve decided that for myself yet. The one thing I do know is, I don’t have to try to be liked. Just being is enough.

-Theodore Dandy

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