"Yes, we do!" he agreed, waggling his eyebrows at me. Mike is 14 years older than me and an aspiring curmudgeon.
"Not like that, you perv. I meant the old guys at the library!"
Sometimes during my workday one of the other librarians will say, "Hey, Breda. Here comes one of your buddies."
They come to the library alone, widowers most likely, and when they stop at my desk, I always give them my full attention. I smile at them and help them find books and movies. I help them navigate the internet. I personally escort them to the shelves, grateful for the chance to take a short stroll away from my desk.
I listen to them, I make full eye contact. I pay attention. They are brushed off by the rest of female society - the checkout girl at the grocery store is surly and won't make conversation, the bankteller automatically raises her voice because she assumes he's deaf, the lady at the diner pours his coffee and throws his change at him without a second glance. All these women and not one has the time to smile at him.
("Hey, Mike," I asked one day, "Do you think that when guys are 80 or so, they still like girls?"
"Umm...I'm pretty sure that as long as a man isn't dead, he will still like girls, " he answered after a very short moment's consideration. )
So it makes me sad that these old guys get ignored. I really like guys in general, but old guys! They've been places, done things, know lots of stuff and have interesting stories to tell. They are also gentlemanly in a way that no longer exists. Just the other day one of the guys walked past my desk and tipped his cap at me. Old guys tell me stories of WWII, show me photos of grandchildren, ask me out for coffee, and bring me bottles of homemade wine. They share their interests with me: jazz, trains, stamp collecting, leather bound books, gardening, old movies...I've learned a little bit about a lot of things from these guys. On future visits to the library, they come to the reference desk and ask specifically for me not because they are my own personal fan club - but because I am theirs.
( this post was inspired by the site Old Guys Rule. And yes, they totally do!)