I’m not quite sure where to start with this post.
The heading, as you would be well aware, is ‘even more music’, but its not the point of the post. I don’t even know why I titled it that way. Well, I do, but…
The point is, I don’t know where to start with this post, hence the ‘not-at-all-relevant’ blog post title.
Well, I guess with the title. Music. On Wednesday I went out (again) to hear the blokes I have been seeing at ‘The Spaniard’ play at another bar in Kinsale. I had been in two minds about the whole situation, which is more the point of this blog post. The reason I had been in two minds about it, was because one of the musicians seemed interested… well, ok, was very obviously interested in me.
You would think that this would be a good thing. Boiled down to its basics, it certainly is. An Irish musician, interested in me. Awesome.
No, not awesome.
The devil is in the detail, as they say.
Said musician was… well, let’s say conservatively, 50 years old?
Now, I have nothing against 50 year olds as a general rule. I quite like them. I quite often have very lovely conversations with people just such an age. There are some really very nice 50 year old people around. I even know some nice people that are even older than that. I don’t even have an issue with a large age gap in a relationship. Older men can be quite sexy (Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Richard Irons, even Sean Connery….), and as long as both partners are happy, I don’t think its a problem.
So, what is my problem here?
Well, firstly, the guy had hardly spoken to me, he knew only that I was Australian, that I was working as an au pair, that I did writing, and that he liked my singing voice (and, presumably, the way I looked). And, after all that, he wanted my number, wanted to call me and was attempting to get me to call it ‘a date’ when I said I would come see his Wednesday gig. As much as I indulge in romantic fantasies of love at first sight and think I’m in love with musicians I’ve never spoken to, any guy that acts this eager and pushy when you haven’t had a conversation longer than 5 minutes is always going to be shut down by me. That’s just the way it goes, I’m afraid. I’m not comfortable thinking of myself as a sex object, so any guy who is ready to go, based on a 30 second glance and some initial inquiries as to what your first name is and your drink of choice, will always make me feel defensive, confused and slightly nervous.
Secondly, when I did turn up at the next gig, and after I had made it clear this was ‘not a date’, he proceeded to act like it was. Being flirtatious, telling me he ‘noticed lots of things about me’, that he had been ‘watching me so intently’, touching my shoulder, putting his finger through a hold in my cardigan sleeve etc. The more I moved away from him, the more he seemed to think he needed to do more to bring me back. When I told him to stop saying I was pretty, he joked, ‘You know, they say that when a woman says to stop, she’s actually telling you to keep going.’ Which, now that I think about it, out of context, is probably the most horrendous thing a man could say to a woman, even jokingly, even in a flirtatious way. Or, maybe, especially then.
Now, I’m not saying that I’m completely innocent here. My natural instinct is not to make waves, not to insult people or upset them. That’s the case, even when they are upsetting me. I take everything on board myself. So, except in very special circumstances, if I’m feeling uncomfortable in a situation, if someone’s behaviour is making me uncomfortable (particularly if the person is someone I don’t know), then I won’t actually tell them to stop it, or stand up for myself, I’ll sit and stew in my own discomfort, and try to convey, say, through telepathy, body language and clipped words that I don’t like what they’re doing. Further to that, some of the things that I did that didn’t help matters, on the Sunday, when he asked for my number, I gave it to him. When he asked if he could call me, I said, yes. He took a photo of me for my phone number in his phone. The problem from my perspective is, that when he asked for my number, I had no inkling that he wanted the phone number in the way that he wanted it. That may sound incredible in hindsight, but its true. I truly thought he was too old to be interested in me! And, I guess, also, I assumed he wouldn’t try anything ‘like that’ because I was so much younger, and therefore would never be interested in him. Anyway, when he said, can I call you, I was thinking it was just because he liked my singing, and thought I was nice. I thought he meant he wanted to call in a friendly way, in a, ‘hey, we’re playing at the pub, come down and sing with us’, kind of way. It wasn’t until I had said yes, and saw his reaction that I realised what he actually meant.
But, anyway, I can handle all that sort of stuff. I can, really. I find it a little odd that a 50 year old man is still attempting a hook-up at his age (I mean, I would expect this kind of behaviour from a boy in their 20s, but I would have thought that by the time you reach middle-age, you would have a bit more sense… well, maybe not, maybe that’s why he’s single… harsh…), but, its still not anything that I haven’t experienced before. Sure, it makes me feel uncomfortable, sure it keeps me up at night, wondering if I’ve led someone on, if they now feel bad, hoping they don’t, kicking myself for all the stupid things I said and did that potentially contributed to the situation, and why didn’t I just nip it in the bud when I had the chance, and why did I go listen to the music again, and then turning it on its head and saying, ‘well, I liked the music, so why shouldn’t I have gone’, and then getting angry at them for making me feel bad and then going, ‘oh, but maybe it was all my fault anyway,’ and twisting and turning continuously and blah blah blah blah blah…
The thing that is really the problem here, and really should be the title of this post, is men over the age of 40. Now, again, before you all jump down my throat, I have nothing against men over the age of 40. I very much like men over the age of 40. They are generally confident, kind, established, charming, much better groomed than their younger counterparts etc. The problem is, that all this year, with maybe one notable exception, it is men over the age of 40 that have been interested in me. I find this confusing. Until I moved to Ireland, I don’t think I had ever experienced a serious come-on from a man in that age bracket. Whereas now, every time I go out, inevitably, it is the middle-aged men who are shooting me glances, smiling cheekily, buying me drinks.
I’m sure I sound ridiculous and whingey and ungrateful, but it has seriously begun to confuse me. A logical explanation would be that most of the smart, eligible, younger Irish bachelors have moved away due to the economy. That’s the logical explanation. Of course, my brain is doing its best to convince me that the logical explanation is not the logical explanation at all. My brain is attempting to convince me that I am no longer attractive to my own age group. That all the ‘good men’ in my age bracket are now seriously committed, engaged or married, therefore leaving me only with those older men who are now starting to divorce their wives, going through mid-life crises or never got hitched in the first place (for whatever reason – that they’re mutants or emotionally stunted or something. I mean, that’s the only reason you wouldn’t get married, isn’t it?)
Seriously though, apart from the potential generational gap current in Ireland, where there are only a very few single, late 20s, early 30s men around, what would be the reason that older men are suddenly very attracted to me? See, I would have assumed that it would have been a case of, no men around in my age bracket, therefore, no men showing interest. But, I’ve had just as much interest, but its been from the type of men who showed no interest in me in Australia. Am I giving off some sort of vibe that is attractive to people going through a mid-life crisis? Because I’m off travelling, doing crazy things that they wished they were doing? Are men in Ireland used to bigger age gaps? I hear that up until recently, it was a ‘late marrying country’, that is, people, mainly men, waited a lot longer to get married than in other places, so it wasn’t unusual for a 40 year old man settling down for the first time with a wife 20 years younger. Is it that there is a man shortage here (apparently there is a significant one), so older men assume younger ones are going to be easier, and therefore more amenable to going out with an older guy?
Who knows. Maybe I should just get over it. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me. In fact, sometimes, when I like to pretend I’m a tiny bit like Elizabeth Gilbert, I remember that she married a gorgeous, 50-year old Brazilian man 15 years older than her, and that perhaps, on my own personal ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ tour of the world I will have to do something similar. Perhaps marrying a 50 year old man is a path to enlightenment. And multi-million dollar book deals.
I’m not quite sure where to start with this post.