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A Field Guide to "Cool Older Men"
Be careful with that Anthony Bourdain crush.
By Julie Klausner
I met a girl at a party recently who told me about her Anthony Bourdain fantasy.
"He takes me to his loft and shows me all the tchotchkes he bought around the world. And then we're in bed and he's on top of me, and he's wearing this medallion that he got in Thailand or whatever, and it keeps hitting me in the forehead, over and over, with every thrust. Then, the next morning, he's brewing espresso and I say I'm going to leave, but he's like 'No, don't leave.' And I put on a kimono that he got in Kobe, and he serves me a breakfast of ricotta and honey in bed."
We laughed triumphantly at her well-crafted ode to TV's most virile chef (sorry, Guy Fieri), and then our laughs petered out in a sigh of recognition.
Most girls have had crushes on Bourdain types: the older guy who likes rock music, the "don't stand so close to me"-style English professor, the boss who puts his feet up on his desk and conspiratorially tells you he thought that meeting was bullshit.
They seem to be more ubiquitous than when Clinton got in trouble for fooling around with an intern not much older than his daughter. Remember — we were supposed to buy that he was the first "cool" president since Kennedy, because he wore Ray-Bans on Arsenio Hall and played the sax? Now that we have an actual cool guy who's president, and David Letterman is the one schtupping interns, the parade of pop-culture middle-age swagger seems a little posed and crusty.
But it certainly took long enough for the cool old guy thing to get old. My first crush — like, hugely sexual crush — was on character actor John Larroquette, who was silver-haired and smarmy even in his thirties. I write in my book about attending a sleepover at Melissa Ackerman's house when I was twelve, and getting, um, erotically distracted from the evening's social agenda once Melissa turned on a syndicated Night Court episode in which Larroquette's Dan Fielding saves Markie Post's Christine Sullivan from choking, and in return, she has to let him fuck her.
That was twenty years ago. Today, my attitude towards John Larroquette is decidedly less lustful. I hadn't even thought about him until recently, when I found his Twitter feed, which I now follow. Unlike most '80s sitcom television actors', Larroquette's online presence has its own appeal. It's not so much about, "Look how funny it is that I remember this washed-up person who's saying crazy stupid stuff now!" (Scott Baio) — it's that John Larroquette's Twitter is one-stop shopping for musings of that specific, Bourdainian sexy-old-guy type.
Online, Larroquette regularly weighs in on Bob Dylan, attractive women, chess, Picasso, strawberry-rhubarb pie, giving money to homeless people, and jazz. Most of his tweets link to MP3s of songs he describes briefly and poetically ("Neil Young: like warm wood"), but he also posts quotes ("Fascism is Capitalism plus murder — Upton Sinclair"), tells 140-character showbiz anecdotes ("John Lennon was murdered while we were filming Stripes..."), and, most memorably, displays a fascination with sex. "What am I doing? Hmm, thinking of small feet, long hair..." reads one decidedly libidinous Larroquette tweet.
John Laroquette is just one tweeting example of the kind of baby-boomer sexuality that used to appeal to me when I was a teenage babysitter getting a ride home from my charge's dad, wondering what it would be like if he kissed me at the red traffic lights. But now, the peacocking of men who may or may not need Viagra to make love to their second wives no longer seems novel. It's just another predictable qualifier of middle age from a generation of men who grew up with rock 'n roll.