I’m sorry, man-bun guy. You are beautiful. And you seem to be very enlightened, for 23. I enjoy watching that video where you put your hair up in a bun and take it down again. And put it up. And take it down. And I also like your V muscle and your refreshing nice guy persona, and I thrilled a little when I heard you don’t like women your own age.
There was a time when I would have wanted you, my friend.
But something has changed. And it’s too late, baby. Now, it’s too late.
I want the 45-year-old you.
I want your dad.
If I were to find myself single again, assuming I would be shopping for a relationship at all, it would not be at Aeropostale.
Yes, of course I like older celebrity men. How many do you want me to list? Brad, George, Chris, Jamie, Ewan, Denzel, Hugh, Johnny…
But I’m not talking about them.
I’m talking about YOU, average middle-aged guy. No, not you, guy who still lives with your mom and has never had a successful relationship because no one “gets you.” Or you, guy who thinks you are too hot to date anyone over 20. You go on–keep on being you—but do it over there, because I don’t like you.
I’m talking about the grown-up men. Married, single or the ones who were married, and continue to be grown-up people. With kids or without, although I have to admit that those who are fathers hold a special place in my heart.
Relax. I have an ace in my hands, and I’m not looking to trade.
It just sometimes seems like we focus on the negative examples, and we assume the worst.
I’m not looking to lionize someone for doing what they should be doing anyway, although there is nothing wrong with a little positive reinforcement. I just want to take a minute to appreciate some of the boys who became men.
There are so many reasons why older men can steal the spotlight from the younger set. Here are a few, and you should play these moments in your head in slow motion. Possibly with “Eye of the Tiger” on your inner iPod:
1. He’s a Warrior
Have you ever watched a man who knows how to hold a baby without being begged or coached? A man who can cheer for, and then carry, his injured soccer player off the field and find her a band-aid before sending her back out again, or who sheds unashamed tears while hugging his son at his high school graduation? These are the men who hold our hearts in their hands.
2. He’s Got This
This is not his first rodeo. He is not stymied by new technology and—young turks take note—he still remembers how to replace a master cylinder without using Google. He can also assist you, if you are so inclined, in creating an acceptable meal, or he can do it himself. He can order wine, fix a sink and buy feminine hygiene products. The best part? None of it strikes him as particularly heroic—he just does it.
3. He Is Sexually Seasoned
Two words: yes and yum. He is not intimidated by the female body or how to make it swoon. He understands our orgasm is not negotiable and is willing to take direction, should he need it. He doesn’t judge our preferences and is not afraid to assert his own. It’s not about how either of you looks, and he knows no one is perfect. Flirting is not an urban legend. Neither is foreplay. He gets it.
4. He Engages
We all phone it in sometimes—we can’t focus on everything, all of the time. But this man shows up. He listens to what you have to say, most of the time, without losing focus. He communicates. He’s accepted a long time ago that he may not always get you, but that doesn’t mean your point of view doesn’t count. He knows that you have differences, but it’s more than that. The things that make you different are the things he loves about you.
5. He’s Not Going Anywhere
He’s where he wants to be. If he’s single, it may well be by choice, and that’s OK. If he’s married, he’s not looking to trade. He’s met your demons and faced down his own. He is long past petty jealousies and insecurities, and for him, “mid-life crisis” means splurging on the 10,000 piece Lego Star Wars Action Figure Collection with functional X-wing fighter and voice-activated hovering Death Star.
Here’s to you, grown men of midlife! I appreciate you in all of your rugged, flawed glory! No matter what I read, no matter whose database hack seems to indicate otherwise, I know you exist! Rock on!
And no, that Star Wars Lego set isn’t a thing.