Molly Fisk: Young Men

Today I had lunch with a 27-year-old man, the son of a friend. I think “man” is the right word, although it’s hard for me not to think of male people as boys if I’ve known them when they were under 18. I still think my 48-year-old brother is about ten, to his extreme disgust.

This young man and I met through his family, and have mostly done things together in a family setting: played Boggle, eaten Thanksgiving dinners, blown out or watched someone else blow out birthday candles. But one day we ran into each other at the health food co-op, both buying sandwiches, and sat down to eat them together. Thus was established our secret lunch-date routine.

That time we talked about relationships, because he was just getting out of one that had caused him great pain, and I was just getting into one and nervous about it. This time we talked about them again, because I just got out of the one I was getting into then, and he’s having a good time not being in one and going to lots of music festivals.

I should perhaps make it clear that this is not a romantic connection, even though I adore him. He does meet one of my criteria in that he can name all four Beatles. And he’s cute as can be. But I’m not looking for someone young enough to be my child. What I like is the energy of people young enough to be my children, since I don’t have kids of my own. There’s so much going on in the world that this age group is interested in and I know nothing about, it’s just a bunch of fun to be around them.

Like hacky-sack, for instance. Who knew that people able to toss a bean-bag-like item back and forth with their feet had world championships? And won money for doing this? But I guess if you can win money for playing a game as idiotic as golf, it makes sense that foot coordination would be prized as well.

My friend is planning to test-drive his old truck-and-camper unit to a nearby music festival this weekend, and then make repairs to the vehicle as necessary. After that he’ll be careening around the Pacific Northwest between hacky-sack gigs and three or four more festivals, as well as Burning Man, and visits to friends. Then, he said with a smile, he’d come back to town to work all winter and pay off the debts he’d incurred by having such fun in the summer. I have to say it made me wish I was 27 again, just for the looseness of his planning and the thought of all that music.

I have some other young men in my life: a poetry student with whom I drink coffee, a godson, my ex-boyfriend’s nephews. It’s really fun to talk to them, they’re so jazzed about life. I do have to take certain things with a grain of salt, though, especially when they advise me on matters of the heart. They’re great at explaining how the male mind  works, and what I ought to pay attention to — like if a man says he wants multiple partners, I should believe him. But revenge-sex, for instance, I think is an activity best reserved for guys in their 20’s rather than gals in their 60’s. At least this gal in her 60’s, who has learned to leave revenge alone in any of its forms.

When I gasp at their suggestions, we usually burst out laughing. It’s nice that they’re not really my kids and I’m not really their aunt or mother. We don’t have to worry about each other, which gives us a lot of freedom.

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