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Articles tagged with: Toronto

Aug13

Turning 50

Thursday, 13 August 2015 Written by // Brian Finch - Founder Categories // Gay Men, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Brian Finch

Brian Finch recounts the pros and cons of reaching the half century mark in life and says he’s happy to live with the trade-offs

Turning 50

A senior moment

I reply to a cute very young cashier at Varsity Theatre who asks me what movie I want to see, “I’ll have the same as my friend.”  My expectation wasn’t a senior's ticket!

it’s not completely the cashier's fault. My friend had just asked for a senior ticket. I just meant the same movie. 

It probably didn’t help that I came off as a complete technological neophyte. I didn’t have my glasses on, and I had just switched from an Android to iPhone that day. Not being able to see and not knowing exactly how to navigate combined to make for a very senior moment. 

I can’t lie. At the prices movies are these days, I did enjoy getting half price on an expensive movie ticket. Since then, I've gone online and ordered senior tickets. I mean who wants to pay $19 plus tax to see San Andreas? 

The way I figure, just having turned fifty combined with HIV-related premature aging of about 15 years (they say), get’s me to discount age. These are the joys of getting older. Now I’m at an age where any 18 year old can’t tell the difference between 50 and 65. It’s all the same to them: old. 

Here is a little tip though; it’s worth getting a Scene Card. Free movies include VIP fancy screenings at $24.99. Use your points for those. (Who would pay that much is beyond me.) Buy a couple of drinks and popcorn and it'scheaper to stay in doing cocaine while watching Netflix. (Update, Cineplex has announced they are going to fuck us over by asking for more points for more expensive movies - starts in November) 

I’ve not yet turned into my first boyfriend of Ukrainian descent back in my Winnipeg days. He’d make popcorn and buy drinks to bring in.  And this was the era of Two-Dollar Tuesdays.  Another tip, if you are watching The War of the Roses (a dark comedy about divorce) and laughing your head off while the boyfriend just stares at the screen, your relationship is going to expire very soon. 

Speaking of relationships, the only one I’m having is weekly for 30 minutes at a time. 

Two weeks ago I ran to catch the streetcar. On the way my foot gave out and le-voilà I sprained my ankle, had a little bone contusion. 

On the bright side this is one way I can get a cute Irish guy to touch me - my physiotherapist - and have insurance pay for it. 

And, all that Irish man-touching has become more enjoyable with my testosterone replacement gel to boost up my sagging levels. 

Every day now I slap of four squirts of that stuff, and well, let’s just say I’d fuck a door if it were open at the moment. 

But I digress . . .  

The big 5-0

Before my birthday I told someone it was coming up and that I couldn’t believe that I was turning 50.  He replied, “It beats the alternative.” 

That seemed like an odd thing to say, and not all that comforting. The bar has now been set so low that I’m supposed to be grateful for simply being alive. Call me greedy, but I want a little more than to just be alive. Just ask Terry Shivo. 

I’ve now moved from the “you look good for your age”, which starts at around 30-something, to “it’s better than the alternative.”


Pair this with the automatic letter from the Ministry of Health announcing that now that I’m 50 I need to be screened for colon cancer and the world couldn’t look better. 

One day when someone asks me “How’s it going?” I’m really going to tell them.

On the flip side 

It’s not all bad news. There are some benefits to moving into this new decade. I’ve mellowed, and I like that. 

An acquaintance tells me about the underworld he’s discovered while working at a gay strip club as if it never existed before. I just feel nostalgia. 

I take comfort in knowing I’ve done that kind of crazy in many cities, countries and a couple of continents. 

This guy will never know the joys of getting blown in a seedy New York porn theatre.  Let him have the strip club. Who knows, maybe one day they won't exist and he’ll be telling a 20 year old all about it.

Another fellow tells me about the circuit-party style bashes he goes to all super fucked-up. This just makes me tired. He doesn’t know that, with a little guess work, I’ve probably put more hours into meth-fuelled insanity than pilots need to qualify for their commercial license. 

Not to mention I've dropped my clothes for so many quick encounters that I used to pride myself for having been in most of the high rises and hotels in the downtown core. The last ten years of a condo boom have taken away that claim. I’ve now passed that challenge and baton onto the next generation. 

BTW - I’ve come to coin the term for get in and get off hook ups as “drive by shootings.” 

Yap, it’s definitely a new stage - literally and metaphorically.

Using the stories of the past 

Risk taking doesn’t have to be over. This is the spice of life! Today I take all these great stories and work them into performances in front of live audiences doing what I used to do with the written word. 

In 2005 I wanted to write. I created Acid Reflux. I’ve had increasingly more difficult times writing lately, I perform. I don’t need a spellcheck or editor when speaking. 

Instead of typing a document, I can get up in front of an audience and explain how awful it was that my Chihuahua puppy had shit on me on the way up to an outdoor show. Or recount the painfully awkward moment of trying to explain in poor French (in France)  to a pharmacist that I had crabs and didn’t know the word for Kwellada.


I’ve even told that story about how I just bought an iPhone and didn’t know how to use it while buying movie tickets ending with me getting senior’s discount by mistake. Being 50 means I have no shame admitting there’s a slight rush of not being discovered every time I hand over the senior's ticket, even though it’s not really a compliment. 

And that’s the upside to turning 50. Becoming comfortable in one’s skin is worth all the headaches, accidents, off the cuff remarks and foibles that come with it. 

I’d say I wouldn’t trade it in for anything if I could, but that’s not true. And since I can’t, I’m happy to live with the trade off. 

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