I am a gentleman of a certain age, and a lifelong bachelor. I style myself as an aging roué. Those are dangerous things to admit to, these days. Even more so when one admits to a preference for younger companions. Nonetheless, here I am: of a certain age, and never married. The question is always there, I suppose: why not? And, too--- am I capable of what's defined these days as a socially or psychologically correct relationship?
I dislike having to defend my never having married. I dislike the idea that the decision is something that needs to be defended. However, society as it stands here in the new century looks askance at the bachelor. To be a bachelor is to be assumed either closeted gay or, if one is grudgingly allowed to be straight, then assumed to have deep psychological flaws. I took a long time at postgraduate studies, and I had a long series of short-term contracts and moved from city to city on a largely annual basis. I have to plead poverty and lack of stability. I might also plead habit, that one grows used to living alone. I've never wanted the standard marriage, but I have always wanted relationships, or at least wanted someone in my life.
I think I've always needed the small proofs of being part of someone's life, the proofs of love. Private names, small shared symbols and rituals. I need the things I see other people, other couples, do. I need to think that I'm doing the things that people in couples are supposed to do. Maybe that's it, or at least part of it. I'd like to have someone who'd want to meet for drinks on a midweek night, who looked forward to brunch on Sunday. I'd like to have someone who'd want to be seen with me in public, who'd be willing to claim my acquaintance. That would be a key thing--- to have someone in my life who'd be proud to be my acknowledged young companion.
A relationship... I'd like to be able to do couple things: dinner, drinks, coffee, being together at all the small events that pop up in a university town. I'd like to be able to do the things I see couples doing.
It's very hard to set out what I'd do in return, of course. I have my own doubts about my value and skills. But sometimes I do have imaginary conversations with an imaginary girl and try to market myself. Looks, money, social status, social skills--- I'll never have any of that, and of course my age is shameful all on its own. But I am polite, and I am a good listener. I'm not bad as a conversationalist about certain things, and I know enough to talk with some knowledge about a few things. I can be adventurous as a lover, and at the least, I do want to please a partner. I've never been someone who's a regular at dinner parties or cocktail parties, but I do have basic training in etiquette. I was trained to that as a boy. Pets like me, and grandmothers of a old school. I never know what else to say. I really don't know what socially-accepted adults talk about or what they do. But I do make a good voice late at night on the telephone, and I'm not bad talking and flirting across a cafe table. And I am always, always fiercely loyal to people I do care about.
But I do want someone in my life who cares about me, and who knows that I care about her. I want to be taken as valuable, and I want to be valued. I want the proofs of love, or at least the public rituals and private symbols of being part of a couple. I want someone who shares interests with me, and who'll talk with me about the things we want to learn and know and experience. I want someone who understands about rituals and symbols and who believes in gentle affection--- and who believes as well in seeking out adventures with lovers.
I do want voices over the aether late at night. I want to talk and talk and talk. Those long late-night conversations that I used to have with the lovers in the past who meant the most to me, those conversations about all the things we were thinking about during the day... I miss those, miss being able to share thoughts and memories and hopes. I need a voice in my life. I need someone who looks forward to talking back and forth in the dark.