How I Met My Daddy
Dating older men in India can be whimsical and disappointing at the same time for young gay men.
Image: Prianka Jain
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I distinctly remember logging on to my first gay dating site a day after I turned 19. It was a portal that catered exclusively to bigger and older men and their admirers, such as myself. These men could range anywhere between their late 30s to late 70s, and anyone who admired them were called chasers or sons. It was on that site that I ended up meeting my first partner. He was 40 and a Merchant Navy engineer. I fell for him mainly because I thought he was a world traveller, only to realise that the ships he worked on never really anchored at every shore. Blame it on naïveté. I had hoped, at the very least, he would be more open to the idea of settling down, despite the age gap. This 20-year-old gay boy phase wasn’t my wisest. The man was so far deep in that closet that I gave up trying to convince him. He would introduce me as his younger brother if a stranger asked. Needless to say, I had to end things with him, and I vowed I was done with older men.
After the initial heartbreak, I resorted to meeting boys my age, each of them more daft than the other. Some of them doe-eyed, some of them just purely horny. I yearned for maturity in the true sense of the term. And none of the boys I met or slept with could hold a conversation for over an hour. Unlike their boners. I went over for lunch at this guy’s place, and all I wanted to do was talk and leave. But as time passed, he would keep dropping decibels in his voice so I’d have to strain and come closer to hear him. It was his way of seducing me, so he could lure me next to him on the bed. I wasn’t having any of it. I told him he’s not my type. “You know there are several dudes dying to get in bed with me.” he said. “I bet they do. That’s all they’ll ever do.”I replied and left. I missed how earnest an older lover could be.
I have been attracted to older men for as long as I can remember. It’s like my very own Goodfellas opening scene. Speaking of, how gorgeous is Paul Sorvino? But I digress. Maybe it’s a manifestation of my deep-seated daddy issues or a plain need to be held by a pair of secure hands. I have never quite figured out why a bald patch or a salt-and-pepper crop can get me going. Add a paunch and a moustache and we are in heaven. I know it may seem weird, but boy does it feel good to get this off my chest.
Over the years, I haven’t quite managed to narrow down the terminology, because to me, it’s more than just a Sugar Daddy complex. I can spend hours lying next to a man, asking him about his life, intimate and inconsequential details alike. I’ll ask him about his first sexual experience, or what it was like to cruise without smartphones. I’ll ask him who amongst his other straight Daddy friends does he have a crush on. Sometimes I’ll also ask why he never decided to come out. Most often this question is met with disdain, making it obvious that the topic is somehow out of bounds. It helps that we’re both naked under the covers.
I’ve been with men who are cheating on their domesticated wives, who have sons and daughters as old as me back home. I’ve been with widowers who had a different life once upon a time and now they find themselves comfortable “swinging” my way. I’ve been with men who came out at 40 to become the best versions of themselves by the time they turned 50. Each of them had a story to tell.
Older men love regaling me with stories from “back in the day”, when there were no apps like the ones I am addicted to. I take a look at my Grindr message as one of them tells me about him picking up prospective sex buddies outside Andheri railway station. I try to shift my focus back to him. He is a quarter of a whiskey bottle down, opening up to me about his wife and her tragic death. He tells me about the gay parties he holds at his residence, and in the same vein talks about participating in the Christmas choir. I find him adorable. He has gay friends who are as old as him. They don’t hook up; they just just drink and talk and talk, and I feel almost drawn into this frenzy, as if I cannot wait to grow older and form these companionships.
He is sufficiently tipsy and so am I, so he asks me to come over to his place. We are impatient and start making out in the autorickshaw itself. I am assuming the auto drivers of Mumbai are immune to this by this point. We reach his place and grab more alcohol, literally just spitting words out of our mouths. We sit on his bed and face each other, our legs criss-crossing over each other so our bellies touch. It’s cute, so shut up. After about an hour, he says he misses his wife. I do not look away. Instead I just hold him and let him have his moment. He tears up and reminds me what it was like to be in love. I sound jaded to myself, but that is how and what it is. With every love story we grow older and sadder. I think about my first boyfriend and the fact that one day when I will turn 40, he won’t be around. He would have died, never having come out as a gay man. And I tear up too.
As we hold each other and weep that night, it becomes clear to me why I am drawn to older gay or bisexual men. After years of conditioning where men are told to be strong and not show signs of weakness, they finally reach a point where they just let it out. The good, the bad, the insecurities, it all comes gushing out. But I also know that I have to willingly take the memories of this beautiful night, one of many beautiful nights, and go back home.
He will never want to be with me. He has lived through the pain of not having a partner in his life for far too long. My presence in his life will not make any difference. For him, I am a young catch who miraculously still finds him attractive and doesn’t think of him as a ‘random Indian uncle’. For me, he’s someone I can playfully call Daddy in bed, but never with a straight face.
Follow Navin Noronha on Twitter.