In the second of his new opinion pieces for Bent, Simon Savidge looks at who the real predators on the gay scene are and if we should be less concerned about ‘dirty old men’ and more about ‘dirty young men’ instead.
We always promise that we won’t forget what it was like to be young don’t we? Yet in a few cases some of us might rather forget it because it can come back to bite us on the ass. This happened to me recently when I walked into a gay bar in Manchester, with some similarly bearded friends and we were given the ‘why on earth have you just walked in here?’ look from a group of about ten ‘twinks’.
Initially I was mildly offended. When you get to your thirties I find less offends you but this bothered me a little, until I reminded myself of the person I was when I was just twenty and making my way (read that as sleeping my way) round the London gay scene. I thought I was the shit (in a good way). I was young, thin and my friends and I, who all worked at a Soho sex shop (how stereotypical) thought we owned the city and could have any man that we fancied.
Back then I too would probably have turned around and sneered should a group of burly older (at the time I thought anything over thirty was technically the gay walking dead) men have entered ‘my domain’. However, should one have taken my contrary fancy I would probably have tried to get them to buy me drinks, with the promise of being my new boyfriend and sleep with them later on (things don’t change… as one of those Manchester sneering youths then showed with one of my mates). There were lots of ‘Oh I have always fancied having an older boyfriend, I love older men’, only the next morning he was told: ‘We won’t exchange numbers, you were a bit of sympathy shag, and I haven’t had a bear before.’ Ahh the memories because… I was like that.
You see, people think that ‘in the gay world’ it is the older men that are the predators. I remember as a youth being warned about ‘chicken hawks’, older men who would hunt me down and defile me. Yet I didn’t need warning, they did. I was just coming out; my hormones were all over the place, as were my underpants. Hunt me down indeed? I was more than happy to oblige. I wasn’t the hunted; I was ‘good willy hunting’ but only with the clear understanding that, I didn’t want to have to see them again.
Meanwhile, back in Manchester my friend was understandably gutted. No, he isn’t a predatory chicken hawk, he is just a beardy guy who likes slimmer, younger guys and wants to meet one that he can fall for. Instead, he fell into that age old man trap – although I am sure he enjoyed it at the time. Therefore, next time you are out and about, you see an older guy you fancy having a ‘bit of fun with’, either hold that thought or at least tell them where they stand. One day you might find the roles reversed and it’s a rather unpleasant feeling.