Monday, May 27, 2013

You Gotta Fight

I once stopped seeing a woman because she didn’t recognize a Beastie Boys song.

Okay, it wasn’t quite as simple as that.

But the song was “Fight for Your Right.”

More often than not, I’ve dated women who are older than me. It’s not a state of affairs I’m one-hundred-percent comfortable with--I think a part of me still looks at a woman even a couple years my senior as a high school junior to my freshman, or as a college girl when I was still in high school. A world apart, inaccessible, unattainable. Just the same, my more logical side usually wins out. That there comes a point when a few years don’t make much of a difference. After high school, after college, after a few years outside academia, life’s playing field levels off, and age is less of a defining quality than a construct. All that, plus, the way I live my life is closer to that of an older man than most people I know in my demographic.

All of that’s a prelude to the fact that when I went out with Julie, I knew full well she was younger than me, and it was an odd sensation. The mid- prefix to my twenties was losing steam, as late- started to take hold. And she was fresh out of undergrad, in a new city, living with roommates.

Julie was kind. Smart. Pretty. An impressive young woman with an even more impressive future ahead of her.

But when I kissed her neck, she giggled and said I was like a vampire.

And when I invited her to join me and my friends for an eighties cover band concert, I realized she’d only been alive for the smallest sliver of that decade--hardly long enough to consciously remember it.

And then, when the cover band played the chorus to that Beastie Boys song; when I clenched my fist, pumped it in the air and screamed along; at that moment, she looked up at me, smiled, and said “I’ve never heard this one.”

Couplings end for all manner of reasons, and as I grow older, I like to take responsibility where it’s due--both for the occasions when I deserved to be dumped, and the occasions when I made the call to end things, not for any deficiency in my partner, but because of my own neuroses.

There are times when I think back and wonder what might have been with Julie, had I been a little more patient or a little more open-minded. Or had the band not played that particular song.

Just the same, I return to the same principle: I’ve never felt older than I did in that relationship. If I can retain some semblance of youth just a few years longer, I like to think I’ll have a happier life for it.

I may, indeed, need to fight for that right. But if I have my way, I will still crank my eighties jams every now and again. And I will still party.

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