Confessions to a Younger Man: A Letter to a Flirt

Dear Ben,

I can’t tell you in real life all of what I’m going to say here. Part of the reason is because of my own fears and hang ups; part is because I really don’t think you’re going to hear any of it. So here we go.

I’m really, really flattered you find me attractive. And 30 years ago I would have already jumped your bones. But it isn’t going to happen. I’m almost 50, and you’re 24. No matter how much I want to cheer anytime I see an age disparity like that between an older woman and a younger man, it’s not going to be me. And frankly, I don’t even know that the age difference is my real hang up here. I know it’s a factor. But the real reason is I don’t feel sexual. At all. And I’m great with that.

I’m the other side of menopause. I know with today’s media and prescription pills that’s not got the same impact it did 30 years ago. But something happened to me when my periods stopped. I began to return to the person I was many years ago.

When my hormones kicked in, I went with it. I enjoyed sex with many partners. I was also driven by social expectations, pressures, and alcohol and drug abuse. I was there for decades; it seemed as long as my womb was capable of reproducing, my body was going to try for it even tho I’m entirely against the idea of my reproducing at all. And I caught a lot of flack for it: maybe these days the cool girls are owning the word ‘slut’, but in my family it was thrown as an arrow, to hurt. I have the scars of many of those arrows. So I fucked. I fucked needlessly and without any emotion behind it. At times it became no more to me than physical exercise; something to raise my heart rate and give me a good cardiovascular pump.

Then the man I refer to as The Stalker came into my life. He fed my alcohol and drug abuse. He encouraged it. And he was a good fuck. He was also abusive. And when the time finally came for his abuse to meld with his fucking…

No. I’m not over it. I don’t think I’ll ever BE over it, and I don’t know that I want to be. It was the wake up call that got me out. I could take a lot of degradation. But I couldn’t take that. I think of it in the way I think of another memory: with complete disgust to the point of almost feeling physically ill, but with the knowledge that seeing that, experiencing THAT was the kicker that finally got me clean, finally got me out.

Years afterwards, I tried to have sex again. But by then I was already peri-menopausal, and my sex drive was naturally dropping away. I was also alcohol and cocaine free, two other conditions that were pretty new to me while having sex. And you know what? I found out I didn’t really like it.

Sex is ok. Once in a while it can rock your world. I don’t know if my world can ever be rocked again; I’m just not there. And I don’t care to invest the time and effort to find out if it ever can be that way again.

I wish I could make you understand that I like to flirt and feel sexy, but not have sex. I know that’s fucked up; I know that’s teasing, etc. etc. Don’t give a shit: that’s where I am and I’m owning it. I wish I knew how to make you understand all of this in real life, but some of it you’ve already heard, and you’ve brushed it aside. I’m afraid you’re going to continue to do that and drive me to be sharp with you which will then upset you and drive you away. I’d like to have you as a friend, but these days I’m not so naive as to think a man who comes onto me as hot and heavy as you have could ever backtrack and keep our relationship in the ‘just friends’ mode. Nope. Sorry if you’re the one guy in the world who could actually do that; I’m not trusting that you can. Too many have gone before you and failed utterly.

So I’m going to have to try and make you hear it one more time, because you’ve just texted me.

I know I blithely stated at 14 that when I grew up I’d grow older but my lovers would continue to be young men. And, for once, I got what I wanted. Problem is, I don’t want it anymore.


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