the single man: the age gap

A few days ago, a cousin dropped by unannounced and implored that I follow her to a friend’s funeral, these things are difficult to deal with and I know whenever hit with a personal crisis, to glue the physical terms and articulate the facts publicly is a challenge, so to have managed the words “a friend’s funeral” I felt obliged to go along.

The fellow friend, who I shall call Azhar, died from a drug overdose, something I rigorously researched about after, it has become a part of the teenage landscape, the drugs, alcohol, sex or rather, the propensity to become addicted, obsessed for some idea of escape. I don’t know exactly what Azhar went through, but the effects of his death were apparent at the funeral, with many weeping individuals all white in the face, and myself feeling suddenly contemplative.

Funerals, oddly, are the one social event I feel zero awkwardness about, there is a minimal need for aimless chat, to fill that void of silence, and I am already dead in the face and other places, so I need not continually remind myself to act human, but seriously, death is something we all have different ways to approach, I try to think about it as seldom as I can, but thought about several things, as I held my cousin’s chilly hand while we circled the room without purpose.

To be this young, a 20-something, is a transitioning period, between the lavish, superfluous drama of being a young teen, to the responsibility of adulthood, how the latter enforces a certain sense of realism, and in the past few months I’ve had to personally confront a few difficult realities, endure the sour taste of freedom, and here in The Single Man I will share a number of observations, as I navigate past 21, and begin to understand and deal with the strong feelings I have about many things.

In the past week, I’ve had the pleasure to meet a few adults I arranged appointments with, out of curiosity or boredom, and during these conversations I step away from myself and evaluate the exchange objectively, at this age many of us try to detach ourselves from the perceived aloofness of being a 20-something, some of us dress and accessorize the way we imagine adults do, maintain the right amount of facial hair, lest it be required we prove our leap into puberty, and then there’s the way we talk and carry ourselves, the political views and opinions we align ourselves with, the literature, music and film we consume, we manage a persona that we want our friends to capture, and unlike the simple monotony of high school, suddenly everyone wants to be different.

Everyone wants to be interesting, and some of us try very, very hard. This will be dealt in a future article. Going back to my meetings, with people who were much older and presumably much wiser than I was, some were prepared with conceptions and thoughts about how every 20-something operated, so our dialogue was stripped of any true communication, it became almost a parent-child position, and I don’t have the energy nor enthusiasm to convince every presumptuous old person that I am in fact, more than a clean-shaven, well-manicured boy. So I play along and study the treatment, promising myself not to take anyone at face value, but here one man was seriously busy, we spoke in quick snippets, shared little and learned nothing. On the other hand, there were adults who spoke and listened, gave me ample time to convey what I needed to say, and here I was given space to ask questions, display inquisitiveness next to a honest lack of life experience, but like it or not, one’s age plays a large role in dictating the social hierarchy, at least in our top-heavy culture it does.

The Single Man is an abundant and diverse species, driven by lust, ambition and creativity. The connotation here is that he is single, and born into a singular, unambiguous gender. And he's young, there's nothing interesting about being past 30 unless you're Jon Hamm. These two things (single,man) have historically provided me many benefits, but with the modernization of ideas, I feel that only to an extent is my role pre-assigned, and the rest of it is pure initiative.


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