Sooners not Laters

I was about to bemoan how people (men? I have developed this bad habit of saying “people” in an obtuse way when I mean men) used to be surprised when I said I was in my 40s and increasingly that’s no longer the case, but that’s a little overblown and based only on one fresh incident and so what if it’s true? Last night I was having a beer (ok, three) and a cheeseburger alone (a detail I only point out because I was weirded out by this sentence in a NYT Weddings story yesterday in reference to a 37-year-old bride: “It was a potential cautionary tale, particularly for parents worried about their daughters sitting alone in bars in big cities..”) at Corner Bistro at the worst possible time to be trying to do anything in the West Village: 8pm on a Saturday. (My original plan was to get lunch, maybe at Corner Bistro but maybe at Buvette because I’m on a minor croque monsieur bender before catching a 4:10 showing of In Jackson Heights at Film Forum, but couldn’t get out of the house in time. Wanting to get to the theater 30 minutes early, allowing at least one hour to eat, and 45 minutes to get to the neighborhood means leaving at 1:45pm and I’d lost track of time). All horrible 32-year-olds who look 28 from Connecticut, New Jersey, and beyond, not guesses, but reality based on exchanges from the bros camped out on barstools and the ladies asking for the Sooners game to be put on TV.

I got to talking with the non-fratty man, a regular and native New Yorker probably my age give or take a few years, on my left who was being poured tequila by a similarly aged but more boyish  bartender. (We’d both been to Norman, Oklahoma, it turned out, despite not being into sports. Maybe everyone has?) They were bantering in a style from a movie they couldn’t remember or the name of the actress who starred in it and I chimed in “Hudsucker Proxy” even though I’ve never seen The Hudsucker Proxy. Jennifer Jason Leigh came to them on their own. “Whatever happened to Jennifer Jason Leigh?” I asked, even though I know she’s still around; the last thing I could recall her in was Greenberg. “She’s over 40 so she’s not allowed to act anymore,” joked the bartender. (Actually over 50, which is next level.) A comment I took as an acknowledgment of shared experience but probably was just off the cuff and was no commentary on me whatsoever. So readily knowing a 1994 film said more about my age than anything.

Later the conversation turned to what 40something men get out of dating 20something women and vice versa. I try not to disapprove because I’ve been that 20something and I wasn’t stupid and don’t have any so-called daddy issues (such a gross phrase) but it’s hard especially since I recently spent time with a 44 year old very casually dating (I don’t consider someone you haven’t hooked-up/hung-out with in over a month to be the same as “seeing them” but I’m fussy about language) a 26 year old he described as “a downer” countered by “she totally loves me” (not the same as in love, agreed) which only makes me think something is even more wrong with him than I already did (and I’m not even touching on a recent Oklahoma fling, thankfully not in Norman and thankfully with someone in their fourth decade of life, that I suspect has cooled–at least on one end–because I’m overly observant of others’ online foibles, Sooners jerseys included, even when I try not to notice and have other preoccupations believe it or not).

Oh, I just remembered that Jennifer Jason Leigh was married to Noah Baumbach, now with the way younger Greta Gerwig whom I love to hate and maybe wish I was more like. Greta Gerwig wouldn’t waste time parsing Facebook likes and comments. She’s a doer. Is she a muse, though? I’ve been thinking lately about muses, a commonly cited online profile want, and then men who crave them. 

But last weekend I brought a 27-year-old Glaswegian construction worker who I could only understand 45% of what he said back to my place, no Tinder necessary, and he wouldn’t believe that my friend who had just turned 41 and I were really born in the early 70s. Then again, he also thought I was rich because I lived alone (“Don’t tell me you have a Jacuzzi in the bathroom!”) so judgment may not have been his strength (nor mine). I have started regularly putting fresh flowers in my entry way, not even a foyer quite (on my second date with the above-mentioned Tinder addict he liked that I said foy-ER not foy-AY, and I do think that’s correct. He also corrected my pronunciation of Kissimmee, the Florida town with the only remaining Sizzler east of Gallup, NM, while in a room in a Comfort Suites next to Port Authority that I can see shorter and skinnier than the rest of the buildings from my desk at work, and that may also be right but maybe not the right moment, though if someone said Willamette like Willa-Mette I would not be able to let that slide) and I like to believe it adds a rich quality to the apartment. It’s pretty adult-like. 

comfort inn

The moral here? There is none. Do what you want with whoever you want. Have fun. I’m certainly going to. Snoop. Dwell. Plan. Talk to strangers. Find out more than you need to comfortably know about strangers. Ignore everyone. It’s all fine. 


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