Bill Kaelin

Bill Kaelin: A gay man coming to grips with being middle-aged

Sometimes I forget how old I am. I had a friend recently tell me with a straight, somber face, “You know; we ARE middle-aged.” I rolled my eyes and told her to “shut up,” but she persisted. “No honestly, what’s 43 plus 43?” Quickly I started to do my air math and stopped abruptly when I got to 4 plus 4. “Oh my God”, I said. “We are fucking middle aged.” I simply couldn’t believe it. My entire life as I knew it flashed in front of my eyes and I tried to gauge how long it took me to get where I am at now and how quickly the second half of my life could go from here. Pretty deep, right?

Thinking about time and mortality can mess with you and I understand why people will suddenly buy a red Corvette or do something drastic to try to stop Father Time, or at the very least to ignore him. The truth is we can’t stop it; it happens to all of us whether we like it or not. Life is gonna give us lemons, so we might as well find some vodka, sit back, chill out and learn to embrace the process of aging.

Not long after our conversation a company contacted my agency to do a grand opening event in West Palm Beach for a retirement community. Wondering if this was a sign of things to come, I realized that if I can throw a kickass party for the young and the hip, then I certainly could kill it for the young at heart.

The party was a success and the community was beautiful, and the residents had lots of energy. It was great to see that the second half of our lives can be lived in luxury instead of rolling around on nursing home linoleum. The entire experience made me wonder what will happen to all of us homos once we grow old?

For the first time in our history, the LGBT community will need retirement developments designed specifically for us. AIDS deaths are at an all-time low and LGBT rights are at an all-time high. We are finally going to live long, healthy, out and proud lives that will one day require retirement communities are fit for queens. If the Golden Girls are gonna be gay, there will need to be some specific retirement rules for the places we will stay. Okayyyyyy?

Culturally, gay people are different from straight people, and sometimes we just like opposite things. The kind of activities I will want in my rec room will probably be much different from what my straight brother-in-law would want. When it comes to visiting hours, I would want Violet Chachki to visit more than children, and our movie nights would lean more towards Hedwig than Dirty Harry. Botox parties could replace the classic game of bingo, and I know for a fact that most gay men would prefer cabana boys to arts and crafts. We will want our drinks stiff and served by a good-looking staff. We like our food top of the line and the service first class. Gone will be the days of the classic standards sing-a-longs, and who knows? With the legalization of marijuana we might even be passing bongs.

Old folks’ homes have never sounded so much fun, and finally developers are going to have to take note.

Like my favorite queen famously asked, “once you reach a certain age society says you’re not allowed to be adventurous. I mean is there a rule? Are you supposed to just die?”

The answer is a resounding no. Thankfully, the LGBT community has always broken the rules, and I have a feeling our retirement communities will be places where everyone will be “living”! Growing old in America is going to change. I hope I’m around long enough to be a part of it and party like it’s 1999 by the pool with you.