As was the case before Pierre, I returned to encounters and misunderstandings with more age-appropriate men.After all of the boring dinners and trivial coffee dates, I’d always think about Pierre and the way his wrinkles would be magnified when he smiled, and how he’d make me laugh with his jokes about the “problems of my generation.”Ultimately I don’t regret dating somebody who will be an old man when I’m still relatively young in my 30s and 40s. Maybe I’ll be in the same situation when I’m 50 or 60 years old.One day, Pierre’s son, who was a mere one year younger than me (and to whom we didn’t want to disclose our relationship), accidentally found my passport stashed away on a shelf in his father’s house when he went to pick something up.He called his father completely hysterical, outraged by the fact that he was seeing someone who was practically his age.Until then, I had only known empty conversations over beer at run-down dive bars; awkward text message exchanges that would always end when I sent something sounding too eager; or, even more common, starting a “casual thing” with someone that would entail “hanging out” once a week -- an event that would induce an overwhelming sense of loneliness that only seemed to be magnified by the act of sleeping with someone who didn’t give a shit about me.In a way, Pierre, with all of his 51 years, taught me what it felt like to be in a real, functioning, and healthy relationship. Two weeks following that, he brought me to Rome on a business trip.
Our relationship -- which lasted a little over a year -- began when I was studying in Paris during my junior year abroad.
When I met him, he had recently separated from his now ex-wife and she wasn’t pleased to learn that he was seeing a much younger woman.
Once we were having lunch in a restaurant next to his office, and we ran into two women he knew from work.
There was one instance when he came to say hello to a group of them on the street.
They all shyly introduced themselves, as if they were in an intimidating interview.
Plenty of people disapprovingly looked at us holding hands in restaurants, on the street, or in the metro.