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The Prime Timer Way

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It was obvious as he stepped into the room that he was apprehensive. A gentleman in his mid to upper sixties dressed in business casual clothes that fit nicely over his grandfatherly shape. Scanning the room for a familiar face, he saw none and felt a bit over-dressed as he noticed how casually this group of men were clothed in retirement casual. He hadn't known what to expect when he heard about this Prime Timer group through a friend or how to dress.

Within a few moments one of the men in the room broke free from a conversation and approached him with a broad smile. "Hello. Are you looking for the Prime Timers?" he asked with an extended hand. Within a few minutes the visitor had been introduced around the room and was engaged in conversation. The apprehensive expression had disappeared as he met one nice man after the next. He had found Prime Timers.

Have you ever thought about the logo of Prime Timers with the clasped hands? With the formation of our organization and development of a symbol for us, Woody Baldwin looked for something that would be easily recognizable as a sign of welcome. The clasped hands became that symbol and we are required to have it included in every chapter's logo. Those clasped hands became our identifiable symbol and projected the foundational principle of welcoming mature gay and/or bi-sexual men to the social opportunities Prime Timers provides.

While a hug often takes the place of a handshake in today's environment, the principle is the same. We are an organization that welcomes men to our ranks who would have fewer social opportunities without our 75 chapters throughout the USA and Canada. And, where there are not chapters, these men are welcomed to the Independent Chapter to know about and participate in chapter, regional, and worldwide events that will welcome them from their more isolated environments. We remain the same after 31 years as an organization offering a brotherhood of men sharing life through various social opportunities provided by chapters and the worldwide organization in most major metropolitan cities.

I recently heard a disturbing story. A man from another state visited the xyz chapter luncheon he saw on their website on calendar of events. No RSVP was required so he showed up and sat with the group. No one engaged him in conversation or introduced around the table. After some uncomfortable time, he requested a "to-go" box, took his food and left the table. He was later spotted in another part of the restaurant eating alone. Surely this could not have happened at a Prime Timer chapter event. Hopefully, it didn't for it would be in direct opposition to our founding principle of providing positive social opportunities for mature gay and bi-sexual men.

In the hypothetical chapter I described as I began this article, our apprehensive visitor may have had a different impression of Prime Timers had the men in the room continued conversations with old friends within their "clique" or if they decided he was too stuffy to be bothered with in that "straight-looking" outfit. Standing alone and unwelcomed, he may have drifted out the door he entered through thinking, I guess Prime Timers is not for me. What a shame that would have been when the man of his dreams was within the room looking for a similar dream! Happily, that smiling Prime Timer extended his hand.

Have you noticed an apprehensive stranger at your chapter's door? Be the first to extend that hand of friendship to a man who may become your very good friend.

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