Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Quarter-life crisis

Totally lame, I know. 25 is not old in realito world. Many years ahead for my life to actually evolve into the way I want it to be rather than the planning for something else better to happen.

But sometimes it's easy to feel old.

Like "thin" and "gay thin", or "beautiful" and "gay beautiful", "young" and "gay young" can often be miles apart. This was re-inforced on Sunday night when I went along to Queer Nation along with my flatmate and posse of boy club buddies. Our median age would be I think 25 or 26. We have all been out since quite young ages and are probably a bit more jaded and cynical than many of our homo and hetero contemporaries (I would imagine the fact we were all at some point involved in student politics contributed substantially to this too). This was my first QN and I had been given enough notice about all the terribly beautiful shirtless schoolboys who would make up the bulk of the crowd, and likely walk by our little posse with looks of either contempt, pity or reverence ("Wow! It's so amazing to see the self-funded retirees still making it out past supper time at the home. They're so cute with their pink zimmer frames!") Thankfully, the bulk of the schoolboys must have been on a different excursion somewhere that night as the age range was mercifully wide.

A good night was had - concluding with three very trashed men chilling out in front of the definitive 1980s camp movie that is "9 to 5" before bedtime - but more than once did I wonder if perhaps I might just be a little too old for this shit. How many more years will I be sweating at overcrowded orgies posing as dance parties, putting my soul and flesh on the market to potential buyers even though I know I'm likely to be returned to the shop the following afternoon? Do I really want to commence the 6-time-a-week gym routine to mould myself into the 30yo+ muscle marys with receeding hairlines who can still maintain credibility and potentially pull said teenagers with their pendulous pectorals, electrolysis and snake tattoos?

By October next year, I will have officially been out for 10 years. I'm not sure I have much to show for this. No doubt I have changed enormously since then, as indeed have my family, friends, priorities, values, politics and taste in men, but I'm trying to remember if I ever asked myself at 16 where I'd like to be at 26, and if so would 16yo Sam be pleased with 26yo Sam or would he be bitterly disappointed?

I know these days there are all sorts of precedents for getting away with being young and "wild" (not that, in the grand scheme of things, going to gay dance parties is massively wild) right up until 40 until it looks silly. Kylie is still a pocket-sized garage mechanic at 37, the Sex and the City women were allowed to be single and fabulous in their mid 30s right up until the final season where they were each paired off with a bloke, effectively contradicting the entire moral of the show, and my now 42-year-old ex of a few weeks has more drive, vitality and sex appeal in him than most guys of my age I know. 40 is the new 30, and at this rate 30 will be the new 20 by the time I reach that age. But this doesn't stop me from sometimes feeling apprehensive. I was never taught how to be 25 at school or university and why the hell is it that turning from 24 to 25 feels so much more extreme than when I went from 23 to 24? Why is it when I hear about the "youth-obsessed culture" I find myself sympathising with the "old farts" I once used to condemn for misperceiving the world in this light?

Ironic. The one thing I regret about my youth (or let's call it "youth youth", to be perfectly clear) was that I spent too many years being a precocious little princess focusing on how much older and wiser I was for my age and therefore outside of the "stupid" gay Adelaide microcosm in which I played out so many years of my life. It was only when I moved to Sydney that I realised the problem wasn't that I was old (and that I certainly wasn't older or wiser than most people - blogging is also very eye-opening for this), but that constantly going to the same nightclub at least once every two weeks, dancing to the same music with the same people, carrying on the same pointless conversations and creating the same unnecessary dramas for myself instead of - fuck! just having a good time, you pretentious little shit - was ageing me psychologically. It's definitely better now - I don't go clubbing anywhere near as regularly as I used to and I've discovered dinner parties, Eurotrash-themed house parties, weekend retreats and other civil joys of the 20-somethings. I'm about to finally leave the country and, I predict, develop a nasty travel bug and I no longer feel the urgent need to be with someone just for the sake of being with someone. All good stuff.

But sometimes, the schoolboys get to me. Someone should put bigger padlocks on the school gates.


At 26/4/05 6:54 pm, Anonymous Phil said...

Great writing QP....actually, great blogging, it's what the media was media for. Thanks.

At 26/4/05 7:06 pm, Blogger Jellyfish said...

Yes, I agree. A very good account of the kind of self-doubt that haunts us all, from time to time. Nice work.

At 26/4/05 9:59 pm, Blogger buff said...

Yea, you will out grow it. I felt that as well, but when you look back, it just a part of growing up gay and evolving, maturing. WOOOF

At 27/4/05 1:31 am, Blogger Nic White said...



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