“Man In The Mirror”
Guest Writer: R. L. Norman
I’m so jazzed and proud that author, performer, and podcast host Mr. R. L. Norman has returned to WYATTEVANS.COM! So Y’all, get ready for more of R. L.’s topical, scintillating and thought-provoking prose! And his new novel, “Honey, I Can’t Stand the Rain: The Story of Survival,” drops in April.
Ready? Aight…let’s do it to it!
“Can I buy you a drink?” the guy sitting next to me asked.
I looked at him and just smiled. As I heard my friend giggling behind me, I wasn’t sure what to say.
The man was older than I, maybe about 45. He might have been even older, though. But I would guess he was at least 20 years older than my 26 years of age.
“This old man is trying to pick me up?” I said in my head. “But maybe he has money and can buy me drinks all night,” I chuckled.
“What am I saying? I am NOT that kind of person.” I reminded myself.
I politely declined his offer, and my friend Tony and I walked away.
“That dirty old man trying to pick you up” Tony teased as he laughed.
“Whatever! Please, I don’t want no dirty old man.” I replied to him and giggled also.
It was a Saturday night and we were at the usual night club. It was the place to go during those days.
It was a big building, with several dance floors, depending on what type of music you were into.
There was an old–school room that played what we called at the time “Old People’s Music.” There were various rooms: jazz, country, hip hop— and even a line/hand dancing.
On the second floor was a big room that had a large bar. It was where most people hung out if they wanted a break from what ever particular room they were hanging in.
Tony and I went from room to room to check out the different crowds. We stayed in the hip hop room for most of the night since it had mostly people our age.
After a while, we went back to the large room with the bar to get some drinks. We walked up to the bar and ordered.
I asked the bartender for a rum and coke and a Corona for Tony.
When the bartender walked away to get the drinks, I looked around the room. I spotted the gentlemen from earlier, sitting in the same seat at the bar.
He smiled and nodded. I responded in the same manner.
The bartender returned with the drinks and I proceeded to pay for them.
“No charge.” the bartender said. “The drinks are on him.” He motioned to the other end of the bar to the old man who’d tried to buy me a drink earlier.
I took the drinks and nodded toward him. He smiled and came over.
“Oh my gosh.” I thought. “This old man is really going to try to pick me up.”
“Hey, my name is Greg,” he said as he extended his hand for me to shake. Next, he casually sat down next to me.
I turned around and motioned for Tony to come get his drink.
“Tony this is Greg. Greg this is Tony. He bought us drinks.”
Tony politely said thank you, smiled and excused himself.
I really did not want him to leave me alone with this guy! I don’t know why guys my age are constantly being hit on by “dirty old men.”
Greg proceeded to tell me that he was not trying to pick me up. He just wanted to say “hi” to the cutest man in the bar.
He said that he was 49, an engineer—and single. He was just out to meet people, is all. He explained that people his age couldn’t find anyone their own age.
“I don’t know where the single men my age hang out,” Greg continued. “So, I have to resort to hanging out at bars, which is not really my thing.”
As Greg spoke, I could detect the loneliness in his eyes. As he talked more and more, he came across as very sincere.
I thought to myself that when I am his age, I don’t want anyone to call me a dirty old man! But that’s the way I perceived Greg to be.
But after talking to him, I realized that that was not the case at all! He was just an average, down–to–earth guy trying to be happy.
That was about 27 years ago. And here I sit in the same bar at the age of 53, hoping and wishing that no one is calling me a “dirty old man.”
I am single, very successful, have my own home, car and lots of friends.
But unfortunately, I am lonely.
I cannot find men my own age to date, either. As I sit here sipping my drink, my mind took me back to that night in the bar when I met Greg.
I saw two men at the bar ordering drinks and one of them was really cute. My type of guy! Except he was young. Maybe early 30’s.
I motioned for the bartender and told him that I would pay for whatever they were drinking.
This is déjà vu! The same scenario happened to me. Except there was one difference– supposedly, I was the dirty old man this time.
Now here I am, walking a mile in Greg’s shoes.
Over the years I had come to realize what Greg was going through with being single at his age. It was frustrating for him because he was a good man. And, it seemed like no one wanted a good man.
When I look in the mirror, I see Greg: that lonely old man who couldn’t find companionship.
And I am not alone. You see, most of my single friends do the same thing that I do. We are home alone on a Saturday night wondering where everyone our age is. We are in the house watching TV, sipping wine and wondering why we are single.
But what can we do? Hang out at the gay bars looking for love? Place ads on dating sites? Or, do we hang out at the places where the most men are—such as Home Depot and Lowes?
But there is no answer to that question. We just have to do what we do. Live the best way we can to be happy.
And after all these years, I have kept in touch with Greg. We talk all the time. But we have never been more than just very good friends.
I was even in his wedding.
You see, Greg found the man of his dreams! He crossed paths with him while alone, at the mall, just minding his business on the way to see a movie.
They met while they were both on line at the cinema. After they started talking, they ended up sitting together in the movie. And years later, they are sitting together on the front pouch of their home enjoying life.
Isn’t life full of surprises? Greg was a lonely old man sitting at a gay bar buying drinks for young men because he thought that was all he could do.
But now, he’s happy and loving life.
And I decided that I was going to do what he does. I’m going to live my life to the fullest and just wait for love to find me.
And they say if you don’t look for love, love will find you.
And suddenly, one day, it happened!
One winter, there was a snowstorm that particularly shut down the city. Nearly everything was closed, except for the local 7-11.
So, I decided to walk to the store, which was about five blocks away to get some supplies.
On my way back, it happened! I met HIM. The man with whom I’m now sitting on the front porch.
The man I’m going to spend the rest of my life with.
You see… life is full of surprises! Here I was a lonely older man, thinking that I would never find love. And out of the blue… there he was! Walking down the street in the middle of that same snowstorm.
So, for all you older gentlemen like myself: never give up on love! Never give up on your hopes and dreams. Not just love, but in everything you hope, wish and dream for.
In other words, don’t be surprised if right around the corner is the man of your dreams!
Because it happened to me.
And, it can happen to you, too.
Just keep the faith.
R. L. Norman is a writer, performer, and author of the popular series of novels entitled, “Honey Let Me Tell You.” The fifth installment “Honey, Hush: Don’t Ask And I Won’t Tell” was a sizzling sequel to the series. Now his sixth book, “Honey, I Can’t Stand The Rain,” drops in April 2020. As well, R. L. has created “Norman’s One Night Stand,” a one-man show he conceived, wrote and performs that showcases the main character of his series. And catch his Podcast, “Honey Let Me Tell You Something Else”, which returns soon to Itunes. All of these endeavors are part of Mr. Norman’s production company, Honey Let Me Tell You. You may reach R. L. at his on line home, www.rlnorman1.wix.com/honeyletmetellyou; by email at email@example.com; on Facebook at RL NORMAN; on Twitter, @rl_norman; and on Instagram @rlnorman1.