There’s an interesting overlap between the question of how much pop shapes our erotic imagination, and Reynolds’s recent diagnosis of Havershamitis. It’s easy enough to change the way you look, for instance, to start going a bit more mainstream Gap-dad as you get older in funkily age-appropriate ways but is this necessarily calibrated to any internal shifting and reshaping in your object of desire?
It’s always a bit cowardly not personalizing things like this, isn’t it? So the crux of this question would be, do I as a balding, badly dressed thirty eight year old and pillar of my local community still fancy teenage Goths or has the passage of twenty years worth of rich and varied life experience served to gently affix my libido elsewhere.
The answer at least in my case is no. This puts me in the miserable/threatening realm of the leering and creepy, of course ( lock up your self-harming daughters!) But hey, I’m just trying to be honest with you. Certain other types of maturity and self-surpassing may well occur but these will often be related to what seem to me more malleable and fungible aspects of the psyche, discursive matters, the kind of hardcore chemical cathecting we’re talking about, no matter how finally obscure the object of desire might actually be etc is probably ineradicable. You might gloss it, but it’ll hang around needling you.
There’s another problem here, a Catch-22 of a kind, which is that as you get older and your clothing represents your inner set of convictions/subcultural cleavings less and less, how do you spot someone whose inner world roughly correlates with your own ( ie miserable, book obsessed, alienated types, y’know, the exciting ones!) if they are doing the same thing? Clothing is after all a convenient form of shorthand, marking out a broadish set of tastes/orientations and hence promises of varying degrees of connection. However, precisely the set of compulsions that have lead up to you divesting yourself of your costume will make you wary of a women/man of the same age still wearing them ( Havershamed-up, is, I believe, the term) whereas if they’re young you can offer yourself the consolation that at least they’ll grow out of it in the way you yourself haven’t quite managed yet. Or ever will.
So this post is really just an apologia for still fancying girls who look like they’d be going down the Phono in Leeds if it was 1989, innit?
Except I’m not apologizing.