“She behaved like what she was, a girl ready to learn about life under the guidance of a venerable old man who was not shocked by anything, and he chose to behave like what he had most feared being in his life: a senile lover.” ~Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in a Time of Cholera
I just couldn’t do it.
Had I been there as scheduled, I would have been there to celebrate her 20th birthday. My ego would have been very happy had I gone. I was imagining the reaction people would get as they saw pictures of me with a stunning younger woman. Oh, how impressive my life would have looked on Facebook and Instagram.
For years I fantasized of having a young lover. It’s as if I’ve been groomed over decades to have this fantasy. Music, movies, and books romanticized the older man – younger woman relationship.
- Steely Dan and Muddy Waters sung songs about having a 19-year-old lover.
- The movie “Surviving Picasso” as well as the book Life with Picasso by Françoise Gilot inspired me to want to live like him based on facts like: In 1927 Picasso, at the age of 46, met 17-year-old Marie-Thérèse Walter. They had one child together. Many years later he met Françoise Gilot, who was 21. He was 40 years her senior. They had two children together.
- The movie “Frida” told the story of artist Frida Kahlo who married muralist Diego River. She was 22. He was 42.
- I also went through a phase of my life where I read as many Gabriel Garcia Marquez novels as I could. He wrote, several times over, of old men taking young lovers in his books.
It’s no wonder I developed this fantasy that I would some day be this fantastic artist who took women half his age to his bed. Specifically, I thought I would have a photographic portfolio full of pictures of all my young lovers and that more would be lined up, asking me to take their picture and them as a lover.
The young girl in North Carolina was everything I ever fantasized about. She even had seen some of my photography work and was anxious for me to take her picture. The perfect scenario was just a few hours drive away and I was on my way to it the very next morning but instead, I chose to drive in the opposite direction. .
Why didn’t I go?
At 41, I feel I am finally ready to be in a relationship. I never felt ready before. I just got in relationships. Many of them based on sex, infatuation, or even love but none of them ever worked. For the first time in my life I am ready for a real relationship. I am also ready to start a family. This means, not only am I looking for a suitable mate for me, I am looking for suitable mother of my children. Simply being a young and fertile woman is not enough. I need a woman who has her shit together. In most cases, this comes with time, meaning age.
“You’re supposed to say god damn it, daddy!” Apparently this was my response to my father one day when he dropped his razor while shaving. No matter what you teach your children, they are going to learn by the example you set. Rachel Cruze, author of Smart Money Smart Kids says, “More is caught then taught.” I believe this it be absolutely true. So, I’m glad I didn’t have children when all my peers did.
It took me over 40 years to get my shit together, to be ready to start a family, why would I bring someone else into the relationship who hadn’t put their work in too. I don’t want somebody messing up my kids! When I look at a woman 20 years younger than me who is interested in me, my ego says “yes!” The true me, though, sees 20 years worth of learning she needs to go through. And if I’m half wrong, it’s still 10 years. I don’t have time to wait. I have waited long enough for me to get to this point in life. Now that I am ready I can see that I need to be with someone who is here as well.
So I chose the woman in Mexico over the girl in North Carolina. There was more potential of a second date in Mexico turning into a REAL relationship than the fantasy in North Carolina ever had. Not only was it a mature decision, it was what I wanted. This was the shocker for me. This is what took me a while to set in. Regardless of how long I had wanted to model my life like a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, it was no longer what I wanted. The real me was in a battle with my ego. I committed to going to North Carolina because my ego wanted it. When I chose the contrary, what I really wanted, I became overwhelmed with relief. That night, sitting on the floor of my St. Louis apartment, I made the best decisions of my life.