The Kids Are Alright

I often write about my so-called extended family, ‘cause they’re pretty badass. I grew up with a dad who taught me cool things, like how to perform a half-Nelson, the Babinski response, and that you can create your own family simply by being a damn good friend. I’ve adopted my pops’ philosophy and have a pretty tightly-knit clan of roustabouts, badasses, and intellectual fuck-ups who I consider my kin. But I credit this only to the fact that the foundation was laid early, as I was raised with a bunch of quasi-uncles and aunts, family-friends who I consider closer than many of the bipeds who share bits of my DNA.

One of these aunt-uncle pairings had twins when I was about nine years old. Probably my dad’s closest friends, their boys were awesome, non-identical adventurers from the moment they sprung from their mom’s womb. Sadly, she passed away when they were preteens, leaving the behind three men and a whole slew of people who’d been touched by her humor and indomitable spirit. Losing Phyllis was hard on my dad and future stepmom, but I can’t imagine what it was like for the twins. Fortunately, they grew up with a dad who tackled the job of single-fatherhood with aplomb, and both kids became brilliant, multi-faceted, award-winning dudes. Because they were teenagers growing up a ways from Manhattan and, unsurprisingly, considering their intellect, they’re in college now, I haven’t seen them in a while. Last weekend was the first time in years, in fact.

A bunch of the crew went out for brunch in the neighborhood, and occurence so rare it makes Halley’s Comet look like a regular poop. A group of grey-haired dudes who have more stories than the Amazon Kindle store, I knew it would be a raucous getogether. And it was. But what I wasn’t prepared for were the boys, now men, who joined us. One of them was hot. (Predictably, if you know anything about me, it was the larger of the two who had been lifting weights and trying to cope with debilitating back issues by working out like a madman.)

This posed an interesting predicament. No, I wouldn’t bone a kid who is essentially my cousin. (Not illegal! Or really that gross! But…still. Difficult to reconcile.) The mental porcupine tossed in my bedsheets was more the question of him being 20 years old. I mean, suddenly I was old. Like, really. Botox and fully-functioning patellas aside, I remember when this kid was a lump in his late-mom’s belly. Now he is a man. And I am his elder.

Once I got over looking inside death’s mouth and recognizing my own mortality in its tonsils, I realized something. I’m old enough to blow this kid’s mind. Which means, to broaden it slightly, I am old enough to blow the minds of many young men and women. I can use this whole age thing to my advantage. In theory.

There are some clear benefits to mounting a green pony. For one thing, a man’s sexual peak occurs in his late teens, on average around 18, with a slight decline over the course of his twenties. Think of it as an internal manifestation of a guy’s hairline. So with a youngster, you’re dealing with a potent potion in their pants. Another biological benefit, or drawback depending on your cradle-robbing skills, is that once men cross the threshold of being thirty there’s a 2% drop in testosterone production every year.

(new dog, new trick)

But, predictably, many of the boons of scoping for dates at a daycare center are emotional, at least from an older-woman/younger-man split. Younger dudes remind you what it’s like to be idealistic, not roughed up or beaten down. So long as you haven’t decided to knock boots with a mini-Zuckerberg, they’re less successful than you, so your ego gets stroked along with the rest of your parts. Baby boys have less “baggage,” even if they still have some “yeah, whatever” thorns in their proverbial sides over their high-school sweethearts. Best part? They’ll be impressed. Very, very impressed. And by role-playing professor you’re doing all future ladies a service by teaching them anatomy.

As with anything that has the veneer of being too good naked to be true clothed, young men are not without their serious sad-trombone inducing flaws. They will make you feel old, even in wholly non-intentional ways. Have you ever watched a baby sleep? Try watching a child sleep on your 1000 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets. (‘Cause, let’s be real, adult knees hurt after a wild night on his futon following one too many Zimas or, in my case, Slurpees.) They can be exhausting, on many, many levels. Most of the time, as per the non-Zuckerberg set, they won’t be taking you to Le Bernadin or dropping bank on you at Barney’s. Of course, if you’re me, a cheap burrito and scoping street art are fine, but try finding a boy under the age of 23 who doesn’t think he’s a DJ ‘cause he has a Mac souped up with Abelton Live. It gets annoying to talk to them. You want ’em to do something better with their mouths.


To boil it down to something that can easily be cleaned up with a damp towel: boys pop off earlier than men. They have a lack of consideration when being given shouted MapQuest-esque directions to your G-spot. And they don’t get your references to Saved by the Bell or My So Called Life. They think Michael Jordan makes a shoe. And they probably like Skrillex.

And to reduce it to a cliche, most younger dudes aren’t looking to be committed partners, if that’s what you’re in the market for. They’re closer to being kids than having them, which for many career chicks in their thirties is something set on their Google Calendar, next to a biweekly Brazillian wax and spin class.

But don’t fret, ladies. Sure, men in your age group might be a little more bald, and less acrobatically enthusiastic (and enthusiastically acrobatic), but biology has thrown us a bone: men hit their peak muscle mass in their 30s.