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18 Things Gay 20-Somethings Need to Know About Gay 40-Somethings and Beyond

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1: Never assume because we are over 40 that we are HIV-Positive or practice unsafe sex.

Young men are often the most prone to abandon safe sex in the heat of the moment, as they view the disease in a less-serious light than we do. If we are over 40 and healthy, it's more than likely because we've been smart in our sexual choices and, if we are Positive, have taken care of ourselves so as not to risk our health or the health of others.

No matter our ages, let's make one thing clear: Asking if someone is "clean" when you mean "HIV Negative" is an insult to all Positive men (the implication being that men with HIV are "dirty"). Use the word "clean" when enquiring about someone's apartment status.

2: We aren't all enamored of Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler and Judy Garland.

Many men over 40 have no interest in or despise some of these women, and some are even too young to know much about Judy. But we do all love Cher, because not loving Cher is somehow just wrong.

3: Not all men over 40 are dads, and even those who are don't always like to be called Daddies, unless it's by a child we're raising.

Stay away from the label unless you know we like it, or unless you want us to send you home without supper.

4: You don't need to look at us with sad eyes if we say we don't want to get married.

It's possible to be pro marriage equality and not want it for ourselves. You know, just like a lot of straight people.

5: Except for the music and fashion, the Eighties sucked.

Don't listen to us when we get overly sentimental about the Reagan era.

6: Contrary to most of the photos of half-naked men you see on Internet websites and Calvin Klein's love life, not all older guys think 20-something men are automatically sexier than those above the 40 mark...

...and that, as such, we'll date you no matter what your personality. Men are sexy and handsome at all ages, and with experience comes the desire for substantial relationships above all else.

7: Your beards are getting too long.

Someone had to say it, and we've embarrassed ourselves enough with Day-Glo and manpris. Learn from our mistakes.

8: With age doesn't always come maturity, and even though we might be rich, successful and popular, we can be just as shallow and immature as anyone else.

Keep that in mind and you might be able to teach us a few things, or know when it's wise to search for someone at your own level of growth.

9: Brace yourself, but a lot of us never went to Studio 54.

10: If it's five days after the Black Party and we tell you we can't go out because we're still recovering, do not date us.

We've got some serious maturity issues we need to resolve.

11: We don't necessarily find it an attractive trait when you brag about being "too young" to miss references to Rock Hudson, Debbie Harry or Vietnam.

Knowledge is never a bad thing, and besides, most of us don't brag about having no understanding of Einstein's relevance.

12: Despise online dating?

Unfortunately, meeting guys in bars and at the gym sucked too. It's never been easy to find nice, available men; never will be.

13: What you perceive as a weakness in yourself, we might perceive as your strength.

It's tough being a gay man at any age, and we've spent more time figuring that out and learning that it's okay to admit your insecurities. We're all in this together, so feel free to open up.

14: Those steroids you're using make you look amazing...

Keep it up and you'll be the most beautiful corpse in town. We'll say wonderful things about you at the service.

15: Even though being gay is probably easier for you in terms of acceptance than it was for us when we were your age, you are still being discriminated against everyday and there are people who hate you just because of your sexual orientation.

That may sound simplistic, but remember it when you dismiss our generation as "lost" or "out of touch." No generation has all the answers, and part of the reason you have so many new rights is because of our visibility and the visibility of men before us. Gay rights didn't happen by magic, but they could disappear faster than you can say "abracadabra."

16: Lady Gaga really has been copying every Madonna look, image, and video for the last several years.

Trust us on this one and move on.

17: Kissing rocks!

18: We're not your enemy; we are you future.

If you're lucky, you'll eventually be our age, so you might as well start learning about the pain and beauty and hope and hurt and heartbreak that comes with age. You are our past, so we might understand more than you think we do. If we forget or dismiss you as "too young to understand," slap some sense into us. It's one big beautiful gay world out there, and no matter our ages and age difference, let's share it together.