A friend in Zurich asked that I discuss something that I've probably treated too much as a given: what a Young Companion should know about an affair with an Older Admirer. There are certainly enough cautionary tales about such things. There are gender wars rants a-plenty about the dangers of such things, and I'm told that at certain universities incoming first-year co-eds are specifically warned away from such things, especially where the Older Admirer might be an academic. There are cautionary tales all over literature, too. You can add "Lolita" to the list if you want (I wouldn't; it's something else altogether), or things like Debbie Cymbalista's short story "Choice". But my Swiss friend was looking for something else altogether. She was looking for procedures and protocols for being a Young Companion, for how to have an affair with someone much older. Well, it's a topic I need to explore, so I may be coming back to it over time. Let's see, though... Where to begin?
Let's begin with a clear statement. A classic affair with an Older Admirer is based on a straightforward exchange. We're not talking about the Sugar Baby/Sugar Daddy kind of exchange. It's not that. But it is straightforward enough. If you're honest, the exchange is one of youth and beauty for knowledge and experience. Admit that to yourself. There's nothing degrading or exploitative about it. Be honest, though. You each have something to offer, and you're each finding something valuable in the exchange.
If you have an Older Admirer with whom you want to make that exchange, remember. You are hoping to learn from him. No, he doesn't know everything; don't let him act like he does. But he'll have knowledge and experience--- about some things. Be sure those are the things you want. And open yourself to them, to learning. He'll probably over-explain some things, true. That may or may not be a male thing, but it's something I'm probably prone to doing as a part of my past as an academic. But he will have a passion for knowledge--- if you've chosen well ---and he'll be happy to share that, to pass on what he knows. And don't think it's all one-way. If he's worth your time, he'll listen as well as speak. He'll value your thoughts. Oh, yes, he'll enjoy being looked up to; he'll enjoy being listened to. However not? But he'll listen to you, and he'll remember things he learned at your age and appreciate what you're becoming.
Another friend sent me a text message one night from a restaurant in another city telling me that the older man she was with was buying her single-malt Scotch and asking if that was what older lovers always did. The answer, by the way, is yes. He will do that, your Older Admirer--- teach you about whiskeys. It's something we do. He may have some particular fetish about martinis, though that may be as much about geography as age. It'll be the whiskeys he'll want to show you about. And, yes, you should learn about them. They're what a girl who's a bit of a femme fatale would drink, the drink for a girl learning to strike poses in late-night bars, and choosing a good whiskey is a skill worth having.
Let's see, now... There is the issue of sex. That's always there. Remember--- he'll be far more anxious and nervous than you are. Bare, ruin'd choirs... He will be worried about that. You represent youth and beauty, and he'll be all-too-aware of his own mortality. He'll make oblique apologies for not being twenty-two and buff. He'll be very aware of the ways his body can fail. If he's worth your time, though, he'll he open about that. He won't lie to you about it, and he'll be willing to deploy skills he's learned across a lifetime for you. He's making up for age, substituting technique for raw energy. He'll probably have a fetish or two, though he may be hesitant--- maybe even a bit afraid ---to mention them. You, though, are looking for experience, for new worlds. Tell him what you know about your own body; don't be afraid to tell him that you do want pleasure out of whatever you do with him. And then be open to experience. He will want to offer you that, and he'll appreciate the energy and hunger for experience you bring to bed.
He will be all-too-aware of his own body. He'll undress you often and just look and admire, but he may not be comfortable being naked himself. Understand that. You're not blind, and you're not a fool. You can guess at what he'll look like. But I do want you to remember this. His flesh won't crumble to the touch, and it won't smell or taste of decay and death. Your touch--- the willingness behind your touch ---will mean more to him than he'll want to say. His own touch will be delicate, though knowing. Look into his eyes, offer him kisses. He will know how to touch you, and he will want very much to offer you pleasure. A co-ed friend in New York once found herself in some unexpected tryst with an aging, elegant Eastern European emigré whose touch left her thrilled and exhausted. When she gasped out how surprised she was, he told her in precise, formal, accented English that "my dear, why wouldn't I know how to do this? I've had half a century of practice." Bear that in mind.
You'll talk in the dark. He'll talk, too. Accept those things as a given. He'll want to lie there with you in the dark and listen to your stories. He'll want to tell you things, too. Much of what you're doing will involve talking. Learn to love talking in the dark. Learn to love that hour when the dark starts to turn violet-grey. Be willing to listen to him; he'll need that. Be willing to talk, too. He'll be open to you. That hour when the sky is just lightening is a time when he can let go of all his fears. It should be the same for you.
It's not forever. You know that, and so does he. But if he's worth your time, he'll live up to the terms of the exchange. It's not about power, or at least not about power in the gender wars sense. He'll want you to come away with a sense of having learned things, of having had your world opened up. He'll be thrilled if you tell him that--- and tell him honestly. And he'll be clearly and honestly grateful for what you've given him. If he's worth your time, he will be.
Sit across the table, then. Be willing to be open to what he has to offer. Accept that there are disapproving eyes, and give the back of your hand to those people. You know what you have to offer, too, and you make sure that he appreciates that. It's an exchange, and the terms are reciprocal. There in his bed, there across the table--- you know what you're offering and what you're accepting. When his fingertips touch yours, or brush over your cheekbones or thigh, remember that you're learning something, and that you're offering up something just as valuable.