Monday, February 23, 2009

As a Man Grows Older...

I recently turned 45 and I’ve noticed that as I get older women are becoming more attractive to me in new and often unique – even idiosyncratic - ways. I don’t know why this is so. But I’m starting to find as I age that their little personality traits and quirks can be completely enchanting.

For example, a few weeks ago, I was going through an art gallery in Pioneer Square, taking notes and hoping to get a blog posting out of the show (I didn't). One of the girls working in the gallery saw me scribbling away in my notepad and came up to talk to me. She asked me what I thought of the art. She was cute. Mid-twenties. A little chunky, but not too much. Fun to talk to. Pleasant to the eyes. Especially pleasant to the eyes was her large cleavage, which her low cut top accentuated. I made it clear to her that I wasn't a collector but nonetheless we continued to chat about the paintings in the show and about art in general. She was a good talker – open, lively. She immediately noticed my New Jersey accent. Even though she was Northwest born and bred, her parents were both from the East Coast so she was familiar with the accent and the attitude. We talked about differences between coasts. All very routine. Engaging in these sorts of casual, quasi-flirtatious interactions with women is one of the nice things about being single. Yet despite both the good time I was having with her, and her enticing chest (just don't look at them, I kept telling myself, just keep your eyes locked with hers!), I wasn’t about to ask her out. She’s too young for me. It’s totally inappropriate, I told myself. Better luck next time, Grandpa.

Then it happened. I mentioned Dale Chihuly. Suddenly a disdainful smirk lit up her face. "Tch!" she said and contemptuously dismissed him with a wide wave of her hand. It was charming, spontaneous, sassy. I was a goner. Fuck the age difference! I have got to ask this girl out! She’s fun. She's exactly what I need in my life - someone who can call bullshit on things and do it with style! Something in the pure insouciance of her gesture won me over. It shows a great strength of character to be able to work in the Seattle art world and still have enough sense of yourself to dismiss the values of that world if they conflict with yours.

Now, at 24 that gesture would scarcely have registered with me. All I would be thinking is: nice boobs, cute, single – gimme. But by 45, though, one begins to realize that all women’s boobs (or butts or legs or whatever) are basically the same, it’s all variations on a theme. And with enough exposure, even the most amazing theme becomes tedious. New things begin to catch your eye, your tastes begin to grow. In my forties I find myself just as attracted to the intangible qualities of a woman’s character as I am to her body. It’s not that the physical diminishes; it’s that the psychological or personal qualities of the woman, the things that set her apart from everyone else, start to make her even more desirable. They give her a new luster.

So, what happened with the girl at the art gallery? Well, I hit on her, of course. I told her that the best and most little known art collection in Seattle is the one at the University of Washington Medical Center (which is true). Since I worked in the building at the time I told her that if she was interested she come by and I would give her a tour. Then I gave her my phone number and we parted. But – alas - she never called. Oh, well.

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