9.21.17 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Two things I told myself

I would never write about: Aging and dating. Who wants to hear another middle-aged gay man talk about the woes of getting older and being single? Does every homosexual writer think he’s Carrie Bradshaw? Well, it’s time to break my own rule. Getting old sucks!

It’s true. As a procrastinator, you’d think I would put that off for a few years. Although, as an overachiever I think I started getting old before my time. Sign #1: Since I was 10 years old my favorite band has been Air Supply. The next signs came a little later in life.

When I was 33 years old I developed a skin irritation on my shoulders. At a kickball game—because I was cool and played kick ball at 33—I asked my brother to take a look at my shoulder and see if he could tell what the irritation was. He told me it looked like herpes and then laughed hysterically, yelling about how I had managed to get herpes on my shoulder. This was in my rather frisky days, so I’ll admit it was a bit concerning. Was that even a thing? Herpes on your shoulder? Turns out it is a thing and that thing is called shingles. When Jesus was 33 he was busy dying for our sins. Me, I got shingles. I thought that was a painful treat saved for old people, but I was ahead of my time. On a side note, I don’t wish shingles on anyone. They are awful!

To continue my advanced aging sequence, I developed rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 35. Another malady I thought was reserved for my golden years. It got so bad I couldn’t button my own shirts or tie my own shoes. Thanks to modern medicine those pains are distant memories.

All of this and I wasn’t even 40 yet. Then 40 came. I’m pretty sure I woke up with back pain on my 40th birthday. Yes, you get back pain at 40 when you sleep. You get back pain at 40 when you walk, stand or sit on the couch and watch TV. I’m also 85% sure Grindr deleted itself when I turned 40, but I got a free month of Growlr and an email about a new app called Daddyhunt.

40 was a pivotal year for me. I was a drunk, overweight guy in a toxic relationship. I’ll take responsibility for the toxicity of that, and previous relationships. A drunk with a constant need for attention does not make a good boyfriend. My life definitely needed a change and change was coming. Thanks to an overnight stay at 33rd Street and an incredible new group of friends, I got sober. A new diet and exercise plan helped me drop six pant sizes and Max Dunley at Rock Hard Fitness—shameless plug—keeps me healthy.

Sadly, when I gave up drinking and smoking I inadvertently gave up dating and sex as well. For a while I was the guy who could legally give blood, a pro and a con if you are keeping score. However, being a recovering habitual dater and drinker has afforded me the opportunity to take care of some pretty important spiritual self-improvement.

I have one more change to go before I’m ready to jump head first into the dating scene, and that is fixing the ever shifting tectonic plates in my mouth. Seriously, my teeth are so crooked that my picture on this page looks like I am missing a tooth. By the time this issue leaves the stands I will have been fitted for adult braces. I’m nervous that I am committing myself to two more years of being single, but maybe I’ll be the sexy guy with laugh lines and railroad tracks in his mouth?

Getting old does suck, but it is also pretty awesome. You get to reinvent yourself. You get to be the best you (thank you Oprah!). If the best me is an Air Supply-loving, arthritis patient with a good center of gravity and a mouth full of metal with two years of sobriety under his belt, then I guess I’m doing alright.

In this issue we take a look at the destruction Hurricane Irma brought and the overwhelming sense of community that followed, Jeremy Williams checks in with Andy Cohen on his tour with Anderson Cooper and Ryan Williams-Jent writes about a new LGBTQ author event. Our big story covers Orlando’s Come Out With Pride and how important it is to keep dancing and take action. We are in the midst of a new pride season, so go out and support your communities.

We strive to bring you a variety of stories, your stories. I hope you enjoy this latest issue.

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