I was recently at a bar with a couple of my former students turned friends, Ben and Mike. They are millennials, both around 27, and I’m a boomer, let’s just say over 51 and under 65. OK, way over 51, as if anyone is counting. There’s a generational gap for sure, but it works for us. They get a cool, irreverent uncle influence thing and I get a bit of the son I never had thing plus a HUGE rush of YOUTH. Like natural blood thinner.
We’ll occasionally meet up and talk about sports and movies and all sorts of stuff. Mike is a film editor. He and his girlfriend are moving to L.A. to find work and settle. This is sort of a going-away get-together for Mike, and I’m buying them beers because I’m the old guy and it’s kind of my job.
Ben’s cell is buzzing a mile a minute. He answers. Sends.
“Hooking up with this girl.”
“Ginny?” asks Mike.
“Ah, la chica linda. Muy buena.”
Ben starts to put on his jacket.
“Wait, where are you going?”
“To meet up with her.”
“Now? You just got here.”
“Duty calls, dude.”
“More like booty calls.”
“Yeah yeah yeah, sure, but wait a minute. Just a sec. Come on, five minutes.”
I’m suddenly feeling jealous, like I’ve missed out on a huge and incredible part of the male sexual experience. I have to ask some things I’ve been dying to know.
“All right, let me ask: So how often do you do this hooking up thing?”
“Pretty much when it happens. Once, twice, sometimes three times a week? Depends.”
I groan, remembering my young libido, and turn to Mike. “What about you?”
“I’ve been kind of out of it, being with Lizzy.”
“How long has that been going on?”
“About five months now.”
“Ah, the sweet five. Still hot?”
“Ooooh, yeah. I have no complaints...”
“You’re more of a relationship guy, right. Kind of like me. I’ve had a lot of long-term relationships. It takes work to keep it sexy. You’ll find out…”
Now back to Ben.
“So, you going to have sex with this girl?”
“Hope so. That’s kind of the point.”
My prurient side is really showing now. I feel like a perv, but I can’t help myself.
“Intercourse, you think? Oral, or what?”
“Dude, I haven’t seen the menu yet.”“Do you guys ever engage in foreplay with these girls? Kissing, necking, petting? For us boomers, that was all you did on a first, second date, praying for third-date sex.”
“Yeah, kissing and feeling your way there is definitely part of it, usually.”
“Well, now we’re talking. That sounds pretty similar to my generation. Except that it seems you cut to the chase a whole lot faster. Like immediately. So, do you know this girl you’re meeting later? Is this from a site you go to?”
“No site, but I don’t know her too well. She’s a friend of friends. Like a larger group. We’ve met. At a party or someplace.”
“Right, a party. Always the best place to meet a girl. Beer drinking, making out on the couch in the dark den, trying to reach into her panty girdle.”
“The panty what?”
“Panty girdle. It was this contraption that held up a pair of stockings. Girls wore some heavy armor in the ’60s and ’70s. Getting through was like breaking through the Iron Curtain.”
“The Iron Curtain?”
“Oh, don’t start.”
Another round appears at the table.
“So, you don’t go on sites? Tinder, or…”
“Nah, it got old.”
“Do you date more than one girl at a time?”
“Yeah, maybe two or three. Right now I’m seeing roughly three girls. It’s very casual. I might not see one for a few weeks and then we’ll hook up again.”
“Nice. Enviable. There was a period in the ’90s when I was a free man and I was seeing two women at the same time. I never had so much or such good sex. Incredible. After a while, though, it got more difficult to sustain. I’d forget what restaurants I’d been to with whom, what movies we saw. Mistakes mounted. Secrets and lies. I began to hate me.”
“So, on your escapades do you practice safe sex with these women, use condoms or some form of birth control?”
“Not really. ’Less she wants me to and brings them. A lot of girls are on the pill.”
“But sex is on the table, it’s going to happen. It’s the main event.”
“So, what about porn? It’s so prevalent. Does it play a role?”
“Well, watching porn before a date, or during it, is kind of like an NFL player watching a tape before a football game. What to try, what moves to make.”
“You know, for us I’d say porn was more titillating because it was more taboo, hidden, less in your face. But still there. I went on a date back in my 20s. Some porn movie was playing in a legit theater — a mainstream crossover thing called It Happened in Hollywood. It was very silly but also pretty sexy. It made us horny as hell. We couldn’t wait to get home.”
“Yeah, porn can be a real igniter. Too bad you had to go all the way to a movie theater. We watch it on our phones or computers. Much less travel time. But, hey listen, I really need to go. ’Sbeen sweet.”
I nod. I’ve been nodding like an idiot this whole time — my head hurts. Blood is rushing through my loins. These kids are killing me.
“OK. Just one more question. Can I come with you? Just kidding. No, seriously, what’s the hottest hookup you’ve ever had?
“Well, I don’t know. This cute girl and I were sipping some hard-core margaritas at Panchito’s at noontime. Licking limes led us to some major raunchy sex in a filthy hotel around the corner. Soiled sheets. Two-hour rates. It was incredible.”
“Wow. That sounds awesome and a bit disgusting.”
“Yeah. Thank you. It was pretty bad. It was great.”
Afterward, walking home in the late fall twilight feeling a little buzz from the beer and grateful for my time with the boys, I thought of my wife waiting for me at home. She’s making veggie lasagna tonight, my fave. We’ll watch Jeopardy! and have a cocktail. We’ll snuggle and she’ll tell me about her day and I’ll really try to listen. I love her, my wife. And I think I also love my life.
Tim Kirkpatrick is a writer, actor and teacher. He teaches acting and directing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and conducts theater and writing workshops throughout New York City.