The other day, an artist friend of mine (yes, a woman artist) walked upto me while we were in a gallery and told me that she had read my ‘A Girl in a Metro Coach’ and thought it was middle aged man’s fantasies about a young female metro traveller. She was not accusing me. But her tone sounded familiar because after reading the blog my wife too had told me the same opinion. While my artist friend said that I had taken all care to balance myself between lust and care for that girl, my wife said it was an absolute case of middle aged man’s demand for reassurance of his sexuality. Perhaps the latster was brutally truthful and the former was polite and mild. I thought they together expressed the general view on that blog. There could be a third view. Someone might have thought it was very beautiful, so expressive, so imaginative and very humane. But such views today are rare.
The general view goes like this: Men at forty are dirty. If this has earned the status of a maxim there must be some truth behind it. Most of the men in their forties look for reassurance about their sexuality. They feel the need to reassure their male virility by proving it to someone who is not his wife. In the work situations they become so assertive and dominating because they want to prove that they are still in control and have not lost the ability to keep other under their power. Their aggression and advances are mainly trained at women subordinates so that not only his need for social authority but also sexual power is reassured. They never ask themselves what their subjects or objects of their authority feel or think about them. If they ask they would never do what they do. In public spaces, men over forty try to look cooler than what they are because they are aware of the fact that they are fighting a losing battle. They try to look hep, during vacations they look sportier than the younger lot and in social networking sites they pose themselves more daring and adventurous than they are.
The fact that in their age old foolishness or the foolishness that has been transmitted to them by them by their forefathers, they believe that the moment they hit forty they start losing power. In fact a man gains power when he enters in his forties. He has a settled life. His issues are more or less resolved. He has something to base his life and something else to hope for. His sexual needs are more or less taken care of and if he needs, it is easy for him to hire sexual favours from those who are willing. Then why does he become so impatient and look around for younger girls to feel that he is still attractive to them? I would say if men at forty are foolish enough to look for young girls and their approval of their sexual prowess it is the ultimate foolishness they could resort to. If you are confident and resolved naturally the young blood will gravitate towards you and you never feel the need for sexual gratification from the younger lot.
There have been psychoanalytical and psychological studies about men’s behaviour by the age of forty. There are hormonal changes and there have been theories of male menopause. The chemical locha or hormonal imbalances make men to behave like monkeys the moment they usher into the world of forties, they say. But it is absolutely wrong. A man in his mid forties now I could clearly say that I do not feel the need to be reassured by young girls or boys, sexually, I should add. It is always good to be in the company of compatible young people who could vibe with you without disrespecting your age and experience. I believe that the people over forty prefer to be in the company of peer group people or senior ones while keeping their company with the youngsters intact. May be I am not the right person to talk about all those men above forty. So I could talk about myself.
I have never felt the need to be sexually or physically reassured by a younger girl, even after turning forty. I am forty four now. In fact I wanted such reassurances when I was in my late twenties and in early thirties. I was married to a girl of my choice and was spending happy times with her. But the life in a metro where we had migrated to was very difficult. We were bogged down by materialistic pressures. So I would say most of my youthful days had gone into the struggle of settling in my life. In those days it was very difficult to digest the fact that none found me attractive, sexually or intellectually. Every action in life was to prove the relevance of my existence. Interestingly in such situations your partner is the only person who assures you of your worth. But when you are at war with a world what difference that assurance could have made? I had spent my days of self-doubt when I was really really young. Today I am assured about myself. I do not need any reassurance of anybody. I know what I am doing, what my body wants and what my mind seeks.
I have never been a one woman’s man. I always had multiple relationships. Those were not always physical. Those were not meant for physical gratification. At the age of forty four too I am not driven by any physical needs from the opposite sex. I look at women with respect and love. I do care for the people who are in touch with me. When I look at a woman in a metro or any other place it is not inspired by any carnal pleasure. I create a context of me looking at someone and I analyse that situation. I remember looking at a girl who was so intimately standing with her boy friend in metro and shedding silent tears for some reasons unknown to me. At one point her eyes had locked up with my eyes. I gave her a reassuring smile. I thought she felt quite a lot happy for that.
A man at forty could be good and well meaning. But exceptions are not rule. Be forewarned. I am brutally honest about my life and I pay for it.