A relationship with a much older person can have myriad connotations. Aside from the usual negative aspects such as with pedophilia, a relationship with an older person can prove both eventful and educating if steering in the right direction. But how can you ever know that the right direction is a place you’re going.
There are lots of mixed views on relationships with older persons; women are viewed as cougars or gold diggers and men viewed as sugar daddy’s or gigolos. There seems to be a stigma with everything we do nowadays, there’s no avoiding it and so all we can do is get on with our lives and make the best of what we have.
Relationships between the old and young are fairly common today, and have been going on for quite some time. There was the era of the Mrs. Robinson syndrome that was highlighted in the 1967 movie The Graduate, with Dustin Hoffman. Not every mixed age relationship begins as a point of heated seduction; there have been genuine situations where people of mixed ages actually fall in love. Everyone dreads the calling of old age, and longs to relive their life again, carrying into it the knowledge of today stuffed in the body of yesterday, but that is all a silly dream and so people contend with the element of mixing age in their lives, everyone is looking for that moment to be young again.
There are treatments on the market today promising the return of youth or the retarding of old age, but anyone with a twinkling of sense knows that the inevitable cannot be forestalled. People will try almost anything to recapture the pride of youth, and somewhere tucked beneath the seam of adulthood, lurks a man or woman seeking to be reborn again.
The Bible promises immortality, a chance to be reborn, but those seeking the opposite of biblical rebirth don’t have time to wait for that type of rebirthing. Everyone is in a panic over aging and dying, and believes that a relationship with a younger person will temporarily revive the essence of life within.
When I was a young man of fifteen I spent a lot of time with women not my age. In my family there were no male role models; most of the men in our family were uneducated offering little to no advice on love, or relationships, they barely knew at that time that what they were in was called a relationship. They had a small piece of ethic orbiting around in them somewhere, but on the surface it wasn’t evident. My grandmother, aunts and mother were the backbones of the family, and rightly so because most of their relationships involved men of a transient nature.
At the early age of 12 I was constantly exposed to the older women of my mother’s work place; she supervised at a convalescent hospital for the elderly. The nurses there were all of mixed ages ranging from 30 to 50 years. It was quite fascinating for me to be admired as a kid by these beautiful and sexually attractive women, somehow I didn’t view it as a kid, but more as an adult myself for when I saw them I found myself attracted to them, and why I didn’t feel the same sexual attraction for girls my own age never seemed to puzzle me.
There was a connection taking place, and though there may have been some reservation from them due to my mother, I could sense that there was more stirring then being said. Nothing ever took place, and no one acted out of sorts, it all seemed to be a harmless attraction, the onset of puberty I guess.
As I grew older still, around the age of 15, I started having greater want for a woman older than me, and it began quite harmless one day with the mother of one of my friends. Janet Wheeler was a woman in her 40’s. She had a homely, unexpressed look about her that made her seeming overcast moral character attractive in a most forbidden way.
At that time we lived in a quiet little community called Fairmede, in Richmond, California. The local community was predominantly white, my family was black and I was a mixture of both. I didn’t quite know what I was going through at that moment, but looking back I could see that I was very sexually oriented at a young age. I hadn’t up to that point had sex with a girl or a woman, I was still a virgin, but my mind and body was quite active.
I wanted to experience sexuality, yet not with a young woman my age. I wanted to experience sexuality with an older woman, somehow the notion of such a thing was producing a heightened level of sexual intensity or frustration, the same feeling I knew I felt whenever I did something for the first time that presented an element of danger. I wanted to be on the edge, and in many ways my shadow wanted me there too.
It was a cold rainy morning one school day, and I was waiting for the last school bus directly across from the Wheeler’s. Perry Wheeler was a friend, not a good friend, but a friend nonetheless. I often visited him at his home to play, but most of all I felt an attraction to his mother that was beyond my own comprehension at that time. It was as though I were being led by a force not me, an uncontrollable desire to experience sexuality with his mother, Janet Wheeler.
I didn’t have a clue how I was going to make this happen, yet while I was waiting there at the bus stop, and then noticing the bus leave because I suddenly had changed my mind about getting on, I had an idea. suddenly, a solution just popped into my head. I walked from the bus stop to the Wheeler’s, and knocked on the door, and within minutes there she was standing there:
“Hello Mrs. Wheeler, is Perry home?” I asked.
“No, Perry is in Juvenile Hall, and why aren’t you in school?” She asked with a slight frown on her face.
“I missed the last bus,” I said, and then asked, “What are you doing?”
“Just my usual housework,” she replied, and at that moment I found my way in.
“Can I help you?”
She opened the door wider and gestured me in. She closed the door and left me standing in the main entrance of the house while she went into the garage. In what seemed less than a minute she returned carrying a bucket and mop? “You clean the kitchen floor, while I continue with the rooms,” she said and then left. My mind was focused on the work assigned; I didn’t at that point think anything outside of what I was doing. There may have been some thoughts, a weaving of thoughts intersecting and criss crossing each other with no apparent value or substance to the fact I was there alone with her.
I tried matching the time element, spending as much time with the chore of cleaning the floor to correspond with the time she was spending in the rooms; I didn’t want to be finished before her. After the fourth mopping I couldn’t see myself doing a fifth and so I put things off to the side and called out to her.
“Mrs. Wheeler I am finished,” I could hear myself echo through the scantily furnished house. And then she appeared. Saying nothing she laid on the sofa, and draped an arm over her eye’s to seemingly block out the light, yet there was no light bright enough to warrant defending one’s sight.
She laid there saying nothing for what seemed a very long time, and through it all I sat in a chair across the room watching her intently. And then out of nowhere, I asked her: “Mrs. Wheeler can I kiss you?” and when I got no response I took this as a yes and moved towards her, and with nervousness beyond anything I had ever felt, I lowered my lips to hers and kissed her gently.
“Get out of here, you pervert!” she scolded.
“What did I do, I am sorry, I didn’t mean any harm, I am sorry Mrs. Wheeler.”
“Get out now and don’t you ever come back to our house again, you should be ashamed of yourself.” She said still angry.
I grabbed my coat and in confusion I left. I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong. I made the short walk back to my house, and forgot about the whole incident. A month later I was in my room preparing for bed when suddenly the phone began to ring, I answered, it was her.
“Hello, may I speak with Bruce?” she asked.
“This is Bruce,” I answered.
“Hi, Bruce, I this is Janet Wheeler,” she paused and continued, “I just wanted to apologize for what happened the last time we saw each other, I am terribly sorry for say all those things you and wanted you to know I didn’t mean it.”
I didn’t say anything; instead I just listened as she sounded through her feelings of which had suddenly changed. I wondered if she had actually thought about things and decided she wanted me too, I didn’t know.
“I wondered if you would like to come by for a cup of cocoa?” she said.
“Right now!” I said with excitement.
I couldn’t move fast enough. I opened my bedroom window, and climbed out. It was pouring rain, but I didn’t care. I moved swiftly down the block and in minutes I was at her front door dripping from head to toe. I knocked and in minutes she was there. The light shining from behind her cast a light that shown through her nightgown, I could actually see the outline of her lower body, it excited me more.
The whole night ended in about an hour or two, and it was an experience I had never anticipated. I never realized this was how it was going to be, but I was glad it happened. This went on for several weeks and as the weeks passed the relationship began to take its toll on me, I suddenly realized this was not for me, I felt as though I got what I came for, and needed no more.
But Mrs. Wheeler had fallen in love with me, and I began to resent her and the way she kept her son Perry locked in juvenile hall. I tried staying away from her, but she combed the neighborhood in her little VW looking for me, knocking at neighbors doors, the whole incident made me ashamed I had ever took this road, but I did and didn’t know why other then biological urges, the unknown.
The shadow was directing my life and I didn’t know it. The shadow pushed me to experience this moment to either create an educational moment, or the beginning of something worse. I like to think it was something worse because this moment lead me to feel that I wanted more relationships like this only different. I wanted someone of age, but of different circumstances, and I couldn’t find peace in a simple normal relationship of my own age.
During those times I had no idea where I was going in terms of my future success or failure in subsequent relationships, I don’t think anyone does. It is very hard to predict the outcome of a relationship until you have experienced it. In an older age group you sort of pick up the values of that group, and often times the values are totally out of line with the changes of life coming into the existence of the younger person. A relationship on its own is difficult, but the muddying of waters by combining the varying sediments of age clearly mystifies deeper the discontinuity between the two opposing factors, in this case age.
The emotional maturity or lack of emotional maturity cannot be seen as a positive attribute in a relationship with an older person. The mere fact that there is an animal instinct sexually between the two make the relationship appear suitable, but in actuality it is more damaging to the younger person who has yet to develop a normal emotional awareness of self. I took the beginning of this road and continued to travel its course in search of a defining answer in relation to my family, and how some parts of the values instilled through my family may have been displaced.
Certainly at the age of 15 I should have received enough moral instruction that would have enabled me to make prudent choices on my own, even moral choices that should act to dictate the movement of my life. I had been the key person in a lot of people’s lives during this age, and those key people were always much older than me. They symbolized me as a bright young man capable of sustaining a relationship with older counterparts, yet I believe they had little idea about the possible future implications such a connection could have.
Based on an adult’s overall background; education, moral upbringing, family values and more determine a person’s ability to choose correctly the association they have on a younger person’s life. But if an adult themselves has no clue as to the implications such an association can have on the development of a child’s emotional makeup, then the likelihood of the child taking on some additional scattered roles may be inevitable. I believe at too young an age a relationship with an older person sexually can be damaging.