The 47-year-old dapper actor recently broke up with his twentysomething girlfriend Sarah Larson after one year of dating, and for the first time, I felt a sort of sadness for the man that I hadn’t felt when he broke up with Renee Zellweger, Krista Allen, Julia Roberts, and so on.
Part of that sadness was based on the somewhat unsettling profile of Clooney in a recent issue of The New Yorker entitled “Somebody Has To Be in Control: The Effort Behind George Clooney’s Effortless Charm,” in which writer Ian Parker painted our George as an almost insecure man who calculates every move in an attempt to appear like the Hollywood Bachelor persona he knows he carries. And part of the sadness comes from the basic Psych 101 knowledge that tells us if you go through partner after partner as often as you brush your teeth, there’s bound to be some Mommy or Daddy issues a-brewing deep inside.
I’m sure some of the men reading this are thinking, Hell, screw the issues…who wouldn’t want George Clooney’s life? Who wouldn’t want to be considered dashing and handsome (“He gets better-looking with age!”), and who wouldn’t want to be able to sleep with tons of gorgeous young women and not have to commit?
The problem is, of course, that men are often sadly unaware of when they have crossed a certain line and entered into Creepy Old Man stage. Women know this stage all too well, as they experience it whenever some permanent Romeo tries to put the make on us at a bar by telling us about his war exploits in Korea. Men, listen carefully. You don’t want to be That Guy. The guy who is unaware that his graying temples have gone from classically handsome to totally Geritol. The guy who is completely oblivious to the fact that women are no longer seeing him as a handsome catch but as a burden to care for in old age. Warren Beatty was aware of the Creepy Old Man stage, which is why he settled down with Annette Bening after being dumped by Stephanie Seymour. Most men who marry are aware of the Creepy Old Man stage, which is why they get married at all.
But even more than avoiding COM stage, I think George is missing out on something good by refusing to settle down. There is joy in commitment, in letting go, in allowing a person to see every single one of your faults secure in the knowledge that he or she isn’t going anywhere. I want that for George, and I hope he finds a good shrink that will help him get to that place. Until then, beautiful ladies of Hollywood, Vegas, and beyond…I wouldn’t touch him with the proverbial ten-foot pole. – Jennifer Mathieu