Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Nostalgia for a person you no longer are

I was catching up on my blog reading and I ran into this post at Ravings of a Corporate Mommy about missing her best friend and her support, missing the flirting, the wild abandon of youth. In very recent years, I have been nostalgic for the person I was in college and just beyond, when men regularly bought me drinks and I felt like I turned heads (at least a few) when I walked in a room. There were few consequences for staying out late and getting drunk. No kids to wake up with. As I've aged, I have turned fewer and fewer heads. People don't flirt with me, partly because I never initiate anything and I used too--a lot. And I don't get drunk every weekend, maybe just once a month. :)

I kind of got over this nostalgia on a recent trip to Key West with my sister-in-law. We've been twice together now. We have rules about this trip. No elaborate planning, no fancy clothes, no makeup. We stay out late and sleep late. We drink a lot. In a way, we get to be those youthful people again. My sister-in-law is single so she picks up guys sometimes. On this last trip, I realized for the first time that I was no longer attracted to men under 30. They all looked the same to me somehow, sort of like paperboard cutouts. Now I don't look too bad for my age. I'm still wearing the same size I wore in college, but I'm not in shape and of course, I have the requisite smile lines and gray hairs (which I cover, btw). But still, not bad. But the twenty-something guys I used to be attracted to are not looking at me anymore--at least not that I've noticed.

For the last night of these trips, I make a bet with my sil to see if I can pick up a man. The deal is sealed if I can get a guy to dance with me or buy me a drink. If I can do both, woo hoo. (I realize the anti-feminism of this whole thing, but stay with me for a moment).

On the first trip, I failed miserably. The best I could do was a fat park ranger in flip flops. We danced. While we were dancing, I glanced over at my sil who's with another guy. We I turned back, my guy was gone . . . because he had fallen down like a weeble. Back up he popped and we finished our dance. We left expeditiously.

This time around was different. We went to a better bar--more locals, less park rangers. This time I was picked up by a man in his 50s at least, possibly 60. We danced and boy, could this man dance. I was twirled and dipped and two-stepped all over the floor. Afterwards he bought me a drink. He wanted to take me out on his boat and show me the sunrise. He told me I was amazing. I managed to semi-politely work my out of the situation without revealing my married status. But it was nice to garner that kind of attention. And it was the first time I thought about men much older than me and thought of them as attractive. It was an odd shift for me, from thinking of myself as a twenty-something who considers twenty-somethings, maybe thirty-somethings to thinking of myself as pushing forty and realizing that sixty is not that old. And you know what, I liked it. It was good not trying to be twenty-something again.