by James Avitabile

I placed a personal ad on Craig’s List in the Men Seeking Men section.

Mature 4 Mature East End Suffolk

72/ Seeking a fun kind of man with an imaginative mindset who feels free to explore his sensuality. Must be flexible to travel to East End without baggage. He might be retired from a job but not from life.

It was a cold and gray January morning. A light snow was beginning to fall. From my window I watched as a few fragile snowflakes floated lazily toward the earth. The beauty of the holidays had gone as quickly as it had come. Like I had done in years past, I began to think about what the New Year would hold for me. On this bleak January morning, sipping a cup of tepid coffee, I remembered Bill. I was 15. He was my Henry Higgins and I a thirsty sponge soaking up so much of what he was trying to teach me.

It seemed like only yesterday when we had sat looking out his window at a vacant lot where NYU’s Bobst Library now stands. He said to me, “James, in life there may not be many happy endings, but thank God for the many wonderful beginnings.” Years earlier, I had shared wonderful beginnings with both Dolph and Robert that had lasted a total of 28 years. And now at nearly 73 I didn’t think that that would ever be possible again, but I wasn’t ready to raise that white flag. The comfort of friends and family is healing and has helped me get through to where I am today, but I also like to make the new and the unknown my allies. I have never been one to eat a boiled potato without spicing it up a bit. So on this bland, dull day at the beginning of the New Year I decided to add a bit of salt to my life.

I posted my message on January 4th. I got about five replies those first few days. None of them really did it for me. They were sheep looking for a shepherd or married or both, or they came with complicated fantasies. I was looking for an unencumbered man who had chemistry compatible with mine, but of course one can’t read that in a few lines. It’s like shooting craps blindly. And with anything like this, people lie to put their chip next to yours. It’s a game for them. But once in a while someone puts much more of himself out there. It’s not often, in fact, it’s very rare.

A few days later, I received an unusual reply from a man with a fully clothed photo of himself. He was masculine, with a buzzed cut and a quiet smile.

Hey OK 72. Older 50 here. Happy 2015, divorced, straight- acting, Italian seeks older. I am discreet, non-smoker, and find older very hot. Landscaper on North Fork. Please hit me back if you like my pix. I give great massages too. Thanxxxx. Dean. This is my cell#. And a pix of me n my @ Foxwoods 1992. Call if u have any interest.

I wasn’t going to wait. I replied right back.

Hello Dean, James here. Mature 72 finds you very hot. My weekend place is in Amagansett. We’re almost neighbors! Can we talk on phone? This is my cell. Who calls whom?

As I began to punch in his numbers on my keypad my phone chimed.

“Hey, Mister Man, what’s up? Dean here. How are you? Gotta tell you, I like mature men. Am I too young for you? I’m really 56. Too young?” He had a deep smoker’s voice filled with the ‘dees and does’ of the Sopranos clan which was hot for me. I wanted to be cool and encouraging and seductive, but he was immediately warm and welcoming and upbeat. We were comfortable with each other in just those first words. I liked that a lot. Mid-fifties seemed good.

I wondered if we should meet over coffee? No! My place would be best. I could have soft music playing, votive candles lit, and the fire glowing. For me it was more about seduction and mood than anything else.

“When can we get together”?

“How about next Wednesday”?

“So far away? Can’t make it sooner”?

I really couldn’t. I had my great nephew’s first birthday party and a Broadway musical.

“I can’t, Dean.”

It seemed like years before that next Wednesday came. I heard the ruptured muffler of his car before I saw it. With my cell phone, I guided him into my driveway. He parked and got out and leaned against his car.

“Hi, Mister. What do you think? I look okay”?

“Yep. You really do. You look just like your picture.

We both broke into smiles. Under the lights of the garage door we hugged each other. He had a full crop of salt and pepper crew cut hair. Blue eyes. About 5’10”. He wasn’t masquerading as a man. He was the real thing. He ran his sandpaper hands over my face as he pulled me closer against him.

“Am I okay”? I asked.

“Oh Yeah, Mister Man. You certainly are.”

I opened the front door. I had already set the mood before I went out to guide him: votive candles lit, Yo Yo Ma playing Ennio Morricone on the cello, the fire glowing.

“I love all of this. What else do you have in your bag of magic, Mister?”

I uncorked a chilled bottle of white wine and filled two glasses.

“Let’s make a toast. It’s nice to meet you, Mister.”

As we clinked our glasses, I smiled and said, “To beginnings.”


Write like you speak. Feel what you write.  Read aloud what you’ve written. That’s how to tell your story.