Friday 19 January 2018

A letter to my 40 year-old self: You’re a Creep.

You’ve truly lived a life of luxurious privilege, Robert. You’re young and white, and you’ve gone to University in Brighton AND London for pete-sake. It’s been a beautiful journey. You’ve made a best friend for life, cried to the NHS at 5am… and left Brighton with a first. You’ve left no stone left unturned. I’m so PROUD of who you are. The stories you can tell. And even now, at 21, you are still learning new kinks about yourself; maybe, life will always be this perfect. This pure and unwavering, growing just like the straight-forward chapters of a book.

There’s one fear I have for you though, 40-year-old me. Being gay is a young man’s world. Older men are designated for when we want to look at the past, and we thank them and respect them. But they are not there for our friendship, they are not there for us to love, to appreciate in any deep connection. But of course, that doesn’t worry you now. You have all the power. You can easily sprout love wherever you go, as it doesn’t matter if you win or fail in your attempts to change others; you still have privilege.

You love all men, but let’s face it, older men have been your awakening. You owe it ALL to older men. They’ve shown you different opinions and places and feelings. They could face true judgement from the illogical societal connotations that occur if they were seen with you, but they still did it. I’m forever grateful. Thankyou Lee. Thankyou Laurence. Thankyou Gary. Thankyou James. Thankyou Damon. Thankyou Hugo. Thankyou Andy. Thankyou everyone. I would not be the same gay without so many incredible moments with older men. I open my world to them and they make me happy, and I make them happy too.

The Dilemma

You walk into a museum, see crayons and colouring sheets, and use them, aged 21.
Young: Adorable! Young at heart.
Old: Weird. Confused.

Someone is looking over a crowd in a club, on their own.
Young: Ignored.
Old: Commented on. Pervert. CREEP. [I hear creep all the time. It chills me].

You want to be friends / have sexual relations with someone of a wide age gap.
Young: Whenever they're brought up, people seem to think there's an ulterior motive, they can't grasp it. You are asked 'How old are they?' in the middle of a conversation in some weird sly, gossipy way.
Old: Exactly the same. Though sometimes its celebrated (while other times... not so much).

It seems that growing older changes the connotations of actions. You have to change what you like, how you interact with people. I regularly feel frustrated about poor-diversity around gay representation in magazines etc, but what happens when I become part of the group that is invisible? Whenever I see someone refer to someone older as a creep, it feels as if I’m being shot into the future; and I’ll be on the receiving end.

You are young. Rob. You can defend the world, as the world is before your feet. You have unlimited options. This truly isn’t an attempt at summarising the power of the older community; of course, the older community made me. You love them, they are so strong. I admire them greatly. I just feel so much of the confidence you feel lies in your youth. As you see yourself less represented as time goes on, will your voice lessen? Will you feel less empowered to be….yourself? You won’t stop enjoying the things you do now. I just worry that you will feel wrong… and conform. I am weak. Your privilege gives you so much, I fear. I'm terrified you will be alone; a creep. Perhaps I might have a re-awakening, by a young person! But the Grindr profiles asking for ‘my age or younger’ will never disappear; my life will have to change.

I don’t know what to do. I honestly have no clue how your life will lead. I really hope you laugh off this piece, and can re-create all the photos in it to show yourself how ignorant you were at 21. I’m just so scared of the future, because today, is so perfect. The carousel can only stay high for so long; at some point, you need to get off.

Photography: Saachika Jain & Rashika Ganesh

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