I'm a gay man who's about to turn 49, but I look 5-10 years older. On dating and hook-up sites, when I listed my actual age, I was often accused of lying. I would reply by asking, "Why would I tell a lie that would make people think I look like shit for my age; wouldn't it make sense to say I was 70 and looked great?" So, I finally acted on this: I started listing my age as early 50s. I figured that, not only would I stop getting accused of lying, but my profile would show up in the search results of guys looking for people who look like me. Since I have done this, I have been approached by (and hooked up and had relationships with) a lot of guys in their 20s. While I am embarrassed by my Trumpian superficiality, I am attracted to younger guys. I'm not exclusively attracted to younger guys, but that's who's responding to my profiles. This is a bit of a problem because I am looking for a serious boyfriend with whom I'm intellectually compatible.

Three of these guys have just disappeared after a while (one stood me up, wrote me a nasty email, and then started begging me to get back together sending me repeated emails through Manhunt). One extremely young (22) guy who flaked on me initially seemed promising. He's Brazilian, teaches Portuguese, and we've had pretty good conversations about language and Brazilian politics. There are some sexual problems (he's obsessed with being rimmed and fisted, and I don't find his ass that attractive, and I have lost my erection with him). He started flaking on me. One time I found out he couldn't meet because he was sick only because I contacted him; another time he didn't show because he lost his cell phone and wallet, and, another time, he canceled at the last minute because he was sick. I spoke to him about this and he said he would stop canceling and not showing without notice. He asked me if we could date exclusively, and I agreed. The last time I saw him, I lost my erection but he came, and then he did nothing to make me come. Later, I felt he left abruptly. The next morning, I told him I didn't have a good time and gave him the reasons. He was hurt and said that he was feeling bad because I lost my erection, which implied I wasn't attracted to him, and that he didn't think he left abruptly. I proposed that we go on a real date—a movie and dinner. He loved the idea. On the day we were supposed to go to the movies, we exchanged text messages about what movie to go to, where, and when. After I proposed a specific time and theater, I never heard back from him. At that point, I decided I was done with him.

Last week (about a month after the the movie mishigas), he started contacting me. (He communicates almost exclusively by text message—kids today!) He told me he had been disappearing because of panic attacks and that he was now seeing a therapist. He begged me to give him a second chance. I refused in no uncertain terms. Last night, he texted me a "Hi, how are you?" (though he didn't spell out "are" or "you"). Emotionally, I'm starting to soften (especially since a couple of recent dating prospects have not panned out), but, rationally, I know there is a very good chance that he is trouble, and I should stay away. Any thoughts?

Conflicted Over Frickin' Flakey Equatorial Ephebe

Thought #1: I wish guys wouldn't log onto dating apps to scold guys—for lying or any other reason. Well, unless they're JMP gays. Scold them, sure. But there's no need to scold people for shaving a few years off, adding a few years on, for being overweight or femme or whatever else. If someone isn't for you, move the fuck along.

Thought #2: Fucking someone much younger than you is fine, COFFEE—so long as the guy you're fucking is of a legal age, so long as he wants to fuck you too (or get rimmed and/or fisted by you), so long as you're following the campsite rule, and so long as the younger guy seems likely to honor the Tea and Sympathy rule. And while relationships don't have to be lifelong or open-ended to be worthwhile—longevity shouldn't be our only metric for relationship success—there are certainly some fantastic examples of lasting intergenerational gay love out there and plenty of examples of fleeting intragenerational gay love.

Thought #3: I've met some really smart guys in their early twenties, COFFEE, and I've met some really fucking stupid guys in their forties and fifties. You could make the case that flakiness correlates more strongly with youth (and wisdom with age), but staying in your chronological/demographical lane isn't going protect you from ghosting, flakiness, or mishigas. Trends are trends, yes, but every individual is a data point.

Thought #4: The fact that this guy is 22 is the least your problems, COFFEE. Let's review:

• He demands exclusivity and then disappears
• He's "obsessed" with being rimmed and fisted
• You don't find his ass attractive
• He's canceled on you three times
• He texts like an id3it

You don't like him for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with his age. He's flakey. He's inconsiderate. He's sexually selfish ("he came, and then he did nothing to make me come")—hell, you don't even want to fuck him the way he wants to be fucked, COFFEE. So why on earth would you agree to see him again? What are you getting out of this? What's he getting out of this? Why are you bothering me about this? My advice: DTMFA ("dump the motherfucking adolescent") and go find yourself a guy—nearer to your age or further from your age—who isn't a flakey ghoster whose sexual obsessions you don't share.

Thought #5: Work on your attitude. Thirty-somethings and forty-somethings and fifty-somethings also ghost on people, suffer from panic attacks, lose things, flake on dates, want their unappealing butts rimmed and/or fisted, and t3xt lyke l0s3rz. Twenty-somethings are probably likelier to be flighty and flakey—maddening traits that can somehow make a younger man more alluring—but no one wants to date a nitpicky dude of any age who comes with a style guide for texting. Chill out. Your hookups don't have to check all the right boxes. But if no boxes are being checked, COFFEE, be friendly (no scolding) and move on to the next dude.

Listen to my podcast, the Savage Lovecast, at www.savagelovecast.com.

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