Thursday, September 2, 2010

Guidelines for a HimPlus Life. No. 4: Choose a guy who will step into the Wayback Machine

If you fall in love with a younger man, your history book will have a few more chapters than his. So pick a guy who likes to read.

When I met him, Michael’s favorite things included all eleven volumes of Will and Ariel Durant’s Story of Civilization. Even better, he’d inherited all that history from a great aunt born just after the 19th century had turned into the 20th.

Some people are fascinated only by the history they’ve lived through. For Michael, all the past is alive; he loves watching how it rearranges itself in the present. He’s always been more a man who looks backward than forward, someone who’d rather study than predict. So when I came bearing stories about my college years (when he was pre-K), he was eager to hear them.

He’s most interested in the way my personal history intersects with other histories. He was in elementary school when Taxi Driver came out, and Travis Bickle scared him, so he never saw the movie. But then he learned that I went to high school and college with writer of the screenplay. The personal past and the cultural past came together, and we added the movie to our Netflix queue. Likewise, we’ve watched other movies that were seminal to my generation: Chinatown, Midnight Cowboy, Easy Rider, The French Connection, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Belle du Jour. We’ve talked about the Viet Nam War, the Minnesota Twins World Series in 1987 (Homer Hankies!), my excitement at hearing Van Cliburn in his prime play a concert in the Michigan woods a few years after he won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, and what it was like to have a job selling tickets to Disney World from a hotel lobby in Orlando right after the theme park opened.

OK, he doesn’t want to hear again where I was* when I heard about JFK, but he was fed up with that subject before we met.

*(At my high school locker, just before English class).

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