The cover of the maxim magazine (brought home by my wife after a business trip, btw) in my bathroom is the image of me getting old and being swept out to the sea of old dudes that will never again be looked at by alluring young ladies like the girls on the covers of Maxim, girls who were once my peers, who once were the girls I used to think that someday I would try to bang, Girls who were once girls older than me or my age or just a little younger than me and therefore suddenly attainable even though they were out of my league technically. Those girls.
That face of that 20 year old, who’s (for the purposes of this exercise) replaceable and not at all important as an individual, is the shrinking face that looks at my aging decrepit carcass from the shore as I float out to sea to get the whales and seahorses drunk on my decay. I will never get younger. I will never have another chance to do the things I didn’t do. It’s even more perverse and ungraspable than the notion that someday I’ll be dead for eternity. Although really, if I think about that, I’ve already been dead for eternity (in the eternity that took place before I was born) so I’m just going into something I’ve literally had the entire history of time to experience.
Big math is weird. I’ve been an entity for all of infinity just due to my tiny blip of an existence here, and so have all of you. It’s impossible to put into your head, or at least my head. Maybe you guys are smarter than me, (bloody unlikely).
The point here is not that I want to bang the women on the cover of Maxim (or to paraphrase Louis CK, I do want to bang them but they don’t want to bang me so fuck them). The point is that models are, like so many things on this earth, a springboard for the imagination when you’re a kid. “Someday,” the ten year old you may think to yourself as you flip through FHM at the barbershop “I’m gonna have a dental assistant that looks like that and if this is any indication of what can happen, wow! Awesome!” just like as a boy perhaps you once looked at firetrucks or fighter planes or professional sports teams and thought about how someday you would be one of those firemen, airforce pilots and/or Chicago Bulls.
I used to think that I would literally be everything. I kind of figured I’d be a rockstar astronaut professor doctor pro-wrestler movie star. Slowly, it dawned on me that no, in fact I wouldn’t be an astronaut. I’m already 22 and I haven’t even given a thought to aeronautical training, plus I smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day. I realized not long after that, the reality of the future. I already had no more interest in being a doctor or a wrestler or a cop or any of those things. I had developed into a person with very limited exploitable paths, as we all do.
You guys who are of a certain age all know this feeling, I’m sure. One day you wake up and you realize that your big, outsized little kids dreams (the ones you maybe never seriously considered beyond answering the question “what do you wanna be when you grow up?”) are definitely not happening. Suddenly you’re way beyond the point where you could pull it together and become (let’s say) a professional quarterback. For one thing, you’re full grown and you’re 5 foot 6. For another, you never REALLY applied yourself to football. Hell, truth be told, you spent a lot more time playing basketball and you’re pretty good at that, actually. But you’re still 5’6” and you’re not one of those “I’m short but I’m so fucking dedicated that I can dunk over Manute Bol” dudes, SO, you’ll probably never be in the NBA either.
That shit kind of skates by and it’s a ‘well, holy shit. Will you look at that’ kind of feeling. You first kind of notice the passage of time, but fuck. You’re still young and you’ve still got your life ahead of you and all that, so it doesn’t REALLY register that what’s happening is that your options are closing. The springboards of your imaginations are retreating, because you CAN’T reasonably pursue every interest you have. It’s a fact of life and it’s not really a sad one, but here’s the part where it gets maybe kind of sad.
There is a song by a band called Too Much Joy called Train In Vain (and it’s not a cover) which features the opening line “the playboy centerfold is younger than me.” It’s actually a very beautiful, very sad song, and I remember as a kid hearing that and thinking “wow. That IS weird. Someday I’ll be older than the girls in playboy!”
Well, guess what? It’s been almost a decade since a girl in the centerfold of playboy (or a girl on the pages of Maxim, to keep this all somewhat tidy) has been my age. I’m no longer looking up at these models as the hot chicks that someday I aspire to be cool enough to impress, but rather I’m leering down at them from my aged perch, remembering when I knew girls that age.
In this particular instance, for the purposes of my current train of thought, this isn’t about wanting to fuck younger girls or feeling like I’m no longer sexy (because, uh, have you seen me? I’m spicy dick on a stick, bro) or anything like that. It’s more about having moved on from the world of kids where there’s this hopefulness and the smell of fucking and danger on everything, to the invisible world of grown ups. Don’t get me wrong, I think the people my age tend to be boning a lot more than the kids from what I can tell, but it’s different. And anyway, that’s not the point. This isn’t about fucking. It’s about suddenly having even the imagination springboard of who you’re gonna impress someday be gone.
You already didn’t impress them. And now they don’t even notice you. And again, it’s not about fucking or virility or sex appeal or anything like that. It’s simply about the fact that one day everyone wakes up and realized that they’re some weird grown up, and the kids are off fucking and getting high and looking pretty and don’t give two fucks about you, walking down the street with your groceries. And sometimes all that hits you while you’re taking a piss, staring at some random model on the cover of a Maxim.