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"Old Age Is Not for Sissies"* Except Sometimes
by Patrick O'Connor

Gerontophils rarely experience "post-coital tristesse."
Unlike the rest of roll-over-and-fall-asleep-mankind
Gerontophils, brave warriors, soldier on,
Smile and say "How may I help you?"
Like clerks in the old Lord & Taylors Department Store,
Or better yet "How can I make you happy?"
Even if they're not Brazilians - - Brazilians are the best.

Let's leave this unsolved mystery alone:
This absence in the young of "after-sex sadness,"
Which the French call "a little death."

Be grateful for this blessing:
Aside from the longed for but elusive wisdom
It is one of the few rewards of old age.


*Bette Davis


Desperately Needed:
A New Word for Gerontophil

by Patrick O'Connor

The happiest coinage of the late twentieth century (William Safire, please note) is chubby- chaser; it's descriptive, alliterative, it rolls off the tongue, has immense charm, and it satisfies H.L. Mencken's demand that it be "ingenious and amusing." As a hint to future lexicographers, it probably appeared first in a play "The Ritz" by Terence McNally. It also gave rise to those other two lovelies: chubb (fat) and chubette (not so fat). How the master, Nabakov, could have missed one of the great comic opportunities of the twentieth century by not spelling nymphet, n-y-m-p-h-e-t-t-e, is a mystery. Chubby-chaser has given rise to two other not-so-lovelies; whale (fatter) and blimp (fattest), but those two edge over into the judgmental and we can't have that.

What is needed urgently by the readers of CHIRON RISING and "older men and their admirers" throughout the world is another word for gerontophil, a word that only recently made its appearance in the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition, 1989, and which after much research I find is in no other standard dictionary. The OED defines gerontophil: "Loving or favoring old people esp. old men, desiring sexual relations with old people."*(Note: gerontophil has no final e; I've been spelling it wrong for thirty years.) When I ask young men who show signs of gerontophilia (love for old persons), "Are you a gerontophil?" they look at me as though I were speaking Greek, which of course I am. By the way, gerontophilia is in my computer spellcheck.

Desperately eager as I am to have a coinage of mine in the dictionary, even a dictionary of slang (real immortality), I can't seem to come up with the right word. Logically, Gerry is the right word but it doesn't seem to work. "Are you a gerry?" "Is your friend a gerry?" "Gerry- chaser?" "Gerro-chaser?" I think not. Notice there is no gender involved, which is good and no age, because surprise, surprise, there are old gerontophils. One place where it works is in combination with the word bar: The Gerrybar in New York is the "G H," the Gerribar in Chicago is "Gentry," and the Jerribar in L.A.is "Mr. Mike's." I'm trying out a number of spelling variations; it's my word and I'll spell it how I choose. Calling them Gerribars is better than their usual names: "The Elephant's Graveyard" and "The Wrinkle Room." It's mostly in London that "The City of Quebec," the motherhouse of all gerribars, is called "The Elephant's Graveyard."

My friend John Wykert, the genius, has come up with gerrodote: someone who dotes on the old (I know I'm not supposed to use a word to define a word but what the hell); gerrodate: a date with an old person; gerrobar: a bar for older people and their admirers; and gerrosex: sex with an old person. So a sentence might read: "The gerodote had a gerodate and went to the gerrobar, after which they went to a motel where they had safe gerrosex."

I'm not satisfied with any of the above. I plead with all of you to come up with something; we can't go around calling our admirers gerontophils. It may be an accurate scientific description, but the word lacks charm and humor. It should be genderless. There are heterosexual gerontophils. I used to eat at a Chinese restaurant on West Fifty-Third Street in New York and watched (but didn't take note of until the friendly bartender pointed it out) young handsome men in their twenties, thirties, and forties picking up women in their sixties and seventies and no money was exchanged. In fact, what this country needs more than anything are more heterosexual gerontophils. God knows, there seem to be enough homosexual gerontophils to go around, witness the C. R. Gathering in Orlando.

And it should be ageless. As pointed out above, there are lots of old gerontophils, (I'm sort of one myself). Here are some other interesting notes about gerontophilia I've been eager to share based on my scandalously unscientific research. In New York, at least, the ethnic demographics of gay gerontophils break down as follows, largest number from the top: Arabs, Isrealis, South Americans including Caribbeans and especially Puerto Ricans, American Jews, Asians, Greeks (Why not? They invented it.), African-Americans, international soccer stars, and members of the gay softball league (mostly Irish) which give new meaning to "support your team." Very few wasps, by the way.

To think of a new word is not a hard task, though I don't seem to have managed it: a snappy, funny, non-judgmental, charming word for people (male, female, heterosexual, homosexual, old, young) who are sexually attracted to older people. Analog, the glorious: CHUBBY- CHASER is admittedly a hard act to follow. If you think of a wonderful new word for gerontophil, your coinage and your name could appear in a dictionary. Immortality! Get busy!

*I couldn't finish this mock-scholarly piece without one footnote, so I quote from the final gerontophil citation in the 1989, Oxford English Dictionary: "The Listener," 25 Nov 65. "Robin, one of those gerontophil types described by Proust as being so fortunately provided by Nature for the exclusive gratification of old men."

by Patrick O'Connor

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Ecce Homo
by Patrick O'Connor

This poem is for and about Angel R.
and in memory of "Johnny's Pub."



The old queens of the city, especially the fat ones
Whom age has withered and custom staled, who
"Hang out" in GH and The Town House
Forgoing the penultimate Ovaltine for one last fling
Have reason to rejoice.

Jesus is back from Puerto Rico:
New York City fireman,
Six-foot-two of island-sunshine,
Winner of the San Juan Golden Gloves;
Golden skin, unwrinkled;
Massive, straight shoulders, unbent;
Slim waist, legs of oak, lustrous brown hair,
A modified (non-frightening) Afro;
A smile that would melt the heart of a Vice Squad Cop.

A beauty, Jesus boogies, "Macho, macho, macho man."
As Jesus dances ("like a butterfly," --no sting)
The old men in the bar say, "There is the man."

At Jesus' christening a Caribbean fairy delivered
A blessing and a curse "He shall be happy
All the days of his life and love only fat old men."
It is difficult to tell a Puerto Rican curse from a Puerto Rican blessing.


Saturday night: Jesus soars.
In the chubby chaser, gerontophile Bar
Known to its friends as the Elephant's Graveyard
Jesus finds a soaring partner:
A retired Marine, civil engineer, minor stroke victim.
The Marine is filled with fear from the ministrations of Jesus;
Thinks, money and death (violent); retreats.

Jesus smiles, puts his magic-honey hand
On the palsied arm. Fear melts.
Jesus takes the ex-Colonel home and treats him with the
Exquisite tenderness (island-Indian)
The Colonel did not know seventy-three years ago
In Elmira, New York.

Jesus, fortunately, is promiscuous, but
He remains friends with his soaring partners;
Buys small presents out of his fireman's salary,
Remembers birthdays, visits hospitals,
Attends funerals where he is often the only mourner.

Jesus' promiscuity is a gift from God,
Otherwise numberless old men of Manhattan would never know
Before retiring to the empty room with the hated sister in Perth Amboy,
The Mary Manning Walsh Home for the Aged, The Veterans Hospital,
The golden, warming, island-sunshine, tender touch of blessed Jesus.


by Patrick O'Connor

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