Life In Plastic, It’s Fantastic!
by James Killough
There is something highly comical about cosmetic surgery of any kind, whether it’s just botox treatment or a full facelift. Vanity is amusing. The vanity of middle-aged people is even more amusing; there is nothing funny about aging gracefully, but fighting it kicking and screaming with excessive nip and tuck and plump and freeze and augmentation can make for some visual slapstick.
There are instances when plastic surgery is heroic, when it reconstructs a body after an accident or a birth defect. But that isn’t the bread and butter of the industry, although if I were a surgeon, I would find the reconstructions and the defect corrections far more interesting and challenging than the fountain of youth stuff. It goes without saying that, Amanda Lepore’s character aside, I consider sexual reassignments corrective surgery.
As I’ve said before, by and large I’m happy with the way I am aging. My sister thinks I should do something about my neck, and offered to get me some Botox when she was on a trip to India if I could find someone to inject it for me in the US (I’m still not sure if that she meant that for my neck or my forehead). But I just don’t see enough wrong with myself to do that. Yes, I do look in the mirror and wish this aging thing would stop and go away like a bad cold, but if I look at myself in the mirror of society as it reflects back at me, I don’t seem to be doing to badly.
I am more afraid of looking like a clown than an old troll. Alec Baldwin, for instance, used to be a very handsome man. Now he looks like Bea Arthur in businessman drag. I asked Tuttle the other night what had happened to Baldwin’s eyes. “Botox,” he replied, and explained that his surprised, Asian-ish look wasn’t an eyelift because the space between his eyelids was… I couldn’t follow exactly. The only thing I can see is there’s something wrong with Baldwin’s eyes and his face in general, and whatever that wrong is, it’s confining him to broad comedy on TV.
There is another strange thing working in my favor as I age. As much as I hate being called “daddy,” the truth is I am now what they refer to in gay culture as just that. I was warned by older daddies when I was in my late 30s, or pre-daddyhood: “Just watch what happens. You’re going to be surprised.” And I was, and am. It would appear that there is some primary gay fantasy of having sex with your father, which is great if you just want to hook up with lots of younger guys, but the “pups” — as they are called, or “cubs” if they are fat and furry — can also be a little odd. Well, they can be downright fucking weird at times, to tell the truth.
For readers who are concerned that I am getting almost pornographic with these posts, the following story is no more titillating than a gay version of Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally.
There was a time during the 2009-2010 Hunting Season, when my six-year relationship in London with a man my age was sadly winding down and I was randomly foraging about the forest, that I ended up dating eight twenty-five-year-olds all in a row — the streak was broken by a twenty-two-year old. It was entirely coincidence, but it was sort of spooky after a while. After the third or fourth, the conversations went something like this:
“Guess how old I am.”
“How did you know?”
“Oh. Most people think I’m older.”
Etcetera. They always want to prove how much other they are so they give you the impression they are able to maintain a mature, stable relationship and not bore you, but they are twenty-five and too easily distracted to carry that theme for too long.
The Main Twenty-Five-Year-Old of that period is someone Eric Baker and I euphemistically call Antinous. This is because said twenty-five-year-old once referred to me as “a cross between Charlie Sheen and the Emperor Hadrian.” Hadrian’s great love was a youth named Antinous, whom he had deified after he died tragically, and built all sorts of stuff in memory of.
While I own the Hadrian piece of the comparison completely, the Sheen comparison is as whacky as he is.
My Antinous was a transitional bisexual, or a Ghey transitioning from women to men. It is a difficult, confused period that many self-realized Gheys understand and commiserate with, but don’t want to deal with because we’ve all been through it and it’s, like, get on with it, already. But I’m a compassionate sort, and this particular Antinous was worth the trouble.
After our first, wonderful date, Antinous freaked out and disappeared for seven weeks. Considering that I was old enough to be his father, this left me blaming myself and my age (and other imagined crap) for his disappearance, when it had nothing to do with me. I blamed anything except what should have been manifest: that I had sent him into a spin, and that he needed space and time to ponder. So I did my own pondering by diving into in boys and booze. One night in particular, I tried to find the answer to Antinous’s behavior in an entire bottle of vodka, but by the last drop I was no more enlightened, just seeing things in triplicate.
My hangover the next day was famous. It was the sort of important hangover that should not only be remembered, it should be commemorated annually. The problem with hangovers after you crest forty is they get exponentially worse. Somewhere mid-afternoon, when the ethanol is being processed by the liver, you are often seized with this horrendous panic attack. It is completely artificial, the thoughts in your mind have no bearing in reality, but, hooley-kabooley, are you ever ready for a hot bath and a straight razor.
So I did what any lovelorn, bruised, hungover Ghey would do: I logged onto Manhunt.net and sought myself a piece of “comfort poon.” Comfort poon is distinct from a revenge fuck, which is what you do when you’ve found out your partner has been cheating and you actually care enough to seek revenge. Comfort poon is there to make you feel better about yourself, that you still have it, that despite glaring evidence to the contrary, your Antinous does still care.
In a half hour, I was connected with a winner, so I thought. He was literally a winner, but not the kind I was looking for. While we webcammed:
“Guess how old I am,” he asked.
“How did you know? My profile says twenty-three.”
“Most people think I’m older.” Etcetera.
The reason this piece of comfort poon was literally a winner is he was a two-time Olympic athlete and medalist. Perfect. Exactly what I needed to allay my artificial panic attack and make myself feel better: I was going to have myself a twenty-five-year-old Olympian. My anxieties about middle age, about having been too intensely Charlie Sheen — lascivious and bonkers — about having no Xanax to blast it all way would be all swept aside by a few rounds around the mulberry bush with a gorgeous, twenty-five-year-old world-class athlete.
Well, it wasn’t what I expected, despite the fact I had cammed with him before meeting. I just wasn’t terribly into him: he was too tall, too arrogant, just not sexy in a way you can never pinpoint. And I was smitten with someone else. I still went through with it, just to be polite.
Midway through the encounter, while he was close to climax, he started yelling lustfully, “Ooooooh, yes, YES! You’re so old! YOU’RE SOOOOO OLD!”
Now, any self-respecting man, gay or straight, would have pushed him off, zipped up and been out of there. But I’m a raconteur. Regardless of my shock with him riding my old man’s todger and yelling this dreadful, age-ist obscenity to heighten his pleasure, I instantly saw the great party anecdote this would make. So I let him finish and asked, “Would you like to join me for a drink at my club?”
I took him to Norwood Arts Club and introduced him to everyone, members and staff included. After he left, I tried the anecdote out, blow by blow, on the whole room, hip thrusts and all, to gales of laughter. It was so successful that Alan Linn, the owner, had to ask me not to be quite so graphic in front of the staff.
When Alan Linn tells you that, you know you have a hit.
Sure enough, my sister, the de facto Lady Mayor of Tribeca, thought it was so funny that she told all of her friends. In less than a week, Tribeca moms were coming up to me at cocktail parties, nudging me and whispering, “You’re so old! YOU’RE SOOOO OLD! Love it!”
So, yeah, like the saying goes, old age isn’t for sissies. But if you’re a certain kind of gay daddy, you can have your moment in the son.