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Do Forty-Something Gays Feel The Pressure To Be Mated?

Updated on November 2, 2007

Have Gays Started Looking For Mr. Right Instead Of Mr. Right Now?

Eyes are the window to the soul (or so they say) and on a recent trip to Seattle, I saw into some souls that started me wondering. After forty, do gay men have more desperation in their eyes than desire? Take that look off your face. I'm not saying that men over forty are no longer on the prowl or that they don't posses the ability for the come hither stare. I'm talking about something different. As I maneuvered through the big city living I once did every day (but haven't done in years), going into little cafes for lunch or stores to shop I would see men either by themselves or with a companion (usually female) and as our eyes met, instead of a look of hubba hubba, I could swear I saw something else; a look that said, "Are you him?" "Could you be the man I can settle down with and look like the Jeep ads from the late nineties?" "How fast can we go from first date to life mate?"

I'm a person who takes eye contact very seriously. I think it creates trust and shows that you're really there when someone is talking with you. I'm also a true Scorpio in that when I'm done with someone I make no eye contact whatsoever. I'm not sure if it's the feeling that the person no longer should be allowed access to my soul (through my eyes) or that I'm so disgusted that I can just no longer look at you. Whatever the reason I think people who don't make eye contact tell you quite a bit about themselves and their own insecurities.

The first guy I encountered in Seattle was at a little lunch bistro. There he was, sitting at a table with a woman and as she was talking, his focus shifted from her to me. He looked to be in his late thirties (no doubt thanks to the many great skin products out there) but I've a feeling he was indeed in his forties. Now anyone who knows anything about the world at large knows that there's the three-second eye contact rule. If you make eye contact with someone and neither of you break it within three seconds (and yes, we're talking the old, "one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi" here) then you're intrigued by one another. By five seconds you could end up in bed with the person later that day or night (whichever the case may be). But at eight seconds if it's still eye contact and no talking to one another it all turns ugly and you most likely have a stalker on your hands (or someone who never gave up in staring contests in the sixth grade). Well, with this guy, our eyes met and there were no sparks but there were at least three seconds easy and I could swear that instead of looking for sex he had a look in his eyes that I can only name as desperation. And not in a sad, hasn't had a date in three years or something desperation, I'm talking about a "by tomorrow could I be sitting with you at this table eating and having everyone look at us as the greatest gay couple since Tab Hunter and Tony Perkins?" And although I possess no psychic abilities whatsoever, I know I was right. This guy wanted to skip all the first date stuff and go right to a joint checking account and lamenting over the gay adoption process.

Throughout my time in Seattle I encountered several of these guys (though I'm convinced that they are everywhere) and it really made me begin to wonder about where we are as a gay society and if the pressure that women over thirty felt at one time (and maybe still do) to be coupled isn't permeating the gay culture now too? I have friends who are not in a relationship over forty and they are more than fine with it but I have others who cringe when the topic comes up and once again, you can see in their eyes they're longing for a Sunday cuddled up with a mate on west elm furniture and their retriever at their feet.

You see, I think that for most of us, we were (as Cole Porter put it) "fated to be mated" and when you reach a certain age, if you're not looking for a boy toy (or looking to still try to be a boy toy) your options seem to become more limited. There aren't too many people I know that don't want companionship or someone in their life. Friends are great but as they used to say, "They don't keep your feet warm at night."

So when you look at it in these terms, I think I was right. I think that what I saw in these men's eyes was a form of desperation. Or maybe that's the wrong word. Maybe what I saw was longing, longing to connect with someone, to be with someone and have someone with them. And as a fellow forty-something gay man, I'm longing for them to get exactly what they want. My grandmother used to say, "There's a lid for every pot." Here's hoping that's true.

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      Leandro 9 years ago

      Here we go again! another superficial gay guy sharing his own judgement of what another man thinks just by looking at his eyes!? how pathetic!!! I am 45 years old, single, and still looking for Mr. Right. But when I make eye contact with another man I am not that superficial as to judge someone's looks by how many seconds it takes for him to notice me!?


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      Gene Carter 9 years ago

      I see your point on the desperation aproach. I see it a lot. I was fortunate to meet my life dream when I was in my mid fifties and he was 28. I don't think I didi the desperation look at him but it psarked between us and we have been an item ever since that first encounter.

      It was a cool first encounter that did not lead to sex. That came after the 3rd date but it was worth the wait and we have built many wonderful memories since that first eye contact incident.

    • Isabella Snow profile image

      Isabella Snow 9 years ago

      Eye contact is such a big thing. Im used to being the person who make the most eye contact during a conversation, but sometimes people make too much and it freaks me out and I cant look at them any more.. starers! (is that a word?) but Im the same way, when I dont like someone I stop making eye contact usually.