A site for Gen-X men, by Gen-X men, about the stuff in life that really matters.
The Arrow Logo - SVG
Oh no!
It looks like you aren't logged in to the Arrow community. Log in to get the best user experience, save your favorite articles and quotes, and follow our authors.
Don't have an Online Account? 

You’re Hotter Than You Were in Your 20s

An open letter to men about their spectacular middle-aged bodies

Woman smiling at man in bed
Stefan Schmid/Gallery Stock

When I was young and an unapologetic sexual glutton, I slept with a man who had a perfect body. There just aren’t ways to avoid cliché in describing it — his muscles looked like they’d been carved lovingly out of marble. His abdomen was a taut expanse leading to a tasteful patch of pubic fur. The rest of his body was nearly hairless, and smooth as a seal. 

I should have found this unbearably erotic. Instead, it made me feel awful about myself. I was cute enough, though round by unforgiving ’90s standards. His body left me with the impression that I was swinging wildly above my weight class, which is a real lady-boner killer of a feeling.

This same year, I slept with a man twice my age — 44 to my 22. I did this in the spirit of adventure and a kind of smug sense of generosity. I will give myself to this old man as a present! He screwed me with care and consideration in his basement apartment. It’s a memory upon which I look back fondly, though now at 44 myself, I want to slap young me right in her smug milkmaid face. 

I’m aware that a central theme here is how the attention of these men made me feel about myself — is that narcissism or conditioning? I don’t know and I don’t care.

Young men, their bodies as yet unscathed by gravity, their privates dumb and indiscriminate — no thanks. 

I want a body that’s been lived in a little. I want some starch in that beard stubble, and I’m not mad about a visible scalp. I love a potbelly that speaks proudly of the hedonism of its owner, but I’m certainly down for a skinny guy like your Jon Spencers or your Guy Picciottos. 

Every single man on The Wire, from Idris Elba on down, is hotter to me now than they were during the show’s original run. And furthermore, I’m willing to bet Bunk would be the funnest guy in bed. I imagine a lot of easy laughter and some killer takeout afterward, no pun intended. 

I’m not naive enough to imagine a lot of men hold a reciprocal view of middle-aged women. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for a mash note to the stretch marks, batwings and wattles that I and my kind possess. But, hey, maybe as a thought experiment I can make this not about what you might think of me, and just let this stand in praise of all you Gen X beauties, not faded but ripened into something much more interesting than you were.

My thoughts here are unavoidably heteronormative; I am a cis-gendered lady who’s into dudes. It is, as the kids say, what it is. They’re also purely hypothetical; I am happily married to a middle-aged man of my own and I am more than pleased with his looks. I am, however, neither blind nor dead.

I’m not going to act on it, but I’ll certainly try to temper it by reminding you of a fact that some of you, maybe most of you, have somehow forgotten. 

Your flawed middle-aged body is freaking spectacular, and I’m not the only woman who thinks so.