The New York Times ran a truly illuminating feature this weekend about some men who… well, who defy classification, really. Who are they, you ask? They are those unmarried 40-something gents who continue to rub shoulders (and, uh, also some other things) with the 20-something Jitney-hopping set at summer share houses up and down the Long Island coast.
In what I assume to be a nod toward the need for unbiased reporting (or maybe just man-solidarity, I just noticed that the writer of the piece is named “Allen”), the piece tends toward describing these guys as living “a bittersweet existence”, numbing the pain of failed relationships and midlife regret with the exquisite anesthetic of Hamptons summering.
I, on the other hand, would tend toward describing them as “douchebags”.
Consider the story’s lead paragraph, which appears to be on a record-setting mission for eyebrow raise-worthy content per line:
JOHN IVERS, 42, did not want to commit1. His girlfriend of a year, a 25-year-old2 investment banker3 he met at a bar in the Hamptons4, wanted to join his summer house in Amagansett, a five-bedroom modified Cape Cod he shares with about 20 others5, male and female6. But Labor Day is a long time away, with nearly three months of sunbathing, bikinis and cocktails to come7. Mr. Ivers, who has been in 14 share houses over the years, turned her down8, although the relationship continues for now9.
1. Um, ok.
2. Wait, what?
3. Oh my god.
4. OH MY GOD.
5. Hmm… twenty divided by five equals…
6. …having sex with your roommates, right.
7. Cock-tails, huh.
8. Ok, really for the love of God please stop.
9. And someone rescue that poor girl!
Is John Ivers an asshole? Only time (and the next ten paragraphs) will tell. In the meantime, try answering this question: In your ideal relationship, at what point would it be no longer acceptable to say, “I’d rather not have you around this summer, because I might just feel the need to bang somebody else?” Because for John, a year isn’t long enough.
Still, as bad as I feel for the guy’s girlfriend (she’s my age, for Christ’s sake), it’s actually hard not to feel a little bit sorry for some of the men profiled here. The article is full of howlers, among them:
Theirs can be a bittersweet existence, where the highs of the evening’s party are occasionally doused by the recognition that matrimony and fatherhood may be slipping away with each relationship that dissipates on a cool September wind.
and this, about another stallion of 42:
Mr. Mahony, whose light brown hair is flecked with gray, considered how his life had brought him here tonight, one of the oldest people in a crowd drinking Heineken from plastic cups. “Relationships I thought were going to last didn’t last,” he said. “And to tell you the truth, the past five years, the older I get the shorter the relationships get, and now it’s like a game of musical chairs. There’s nobody left. It’s sad.”
“So I come here for hope,” he said.
and this one, about a 60 year-old:
He says he still finds it easy to meet younger women in nightspots at the shore. “The secret is I never divulge my age,” he said. “It doesn’t work all the time, especially with women who are single and want kids. But if they’re in their late 30s or 40s, they don’t care as much.”
Ooooh, you hear that, girls? As long as you’re not looking to fertilize your lady-eggs, there’s an AARP member who’s just dying to meet you.