Recently, I was out for lunch with some female co-workers, and mentioned that I had set up a third date with…let’s call him John. It’s not often I go on more than one date with any man, so the girls were demanding more info. What was different about this guy? I started describing what I know of him so far: handsome, divorced, creative, warm, intelligent…
“How old is he?” the most cynical of the bunch piped up.
“Um…” sensing imminent judgement, I paused, and then decided to come clean. “He’s 52.” I said. I’m thirty-seven.
As I had suspected, there was an awkward pause, broken only by the following (tactless) query, posed once again by Miss Cynical (note the unmarried salutation):
“Is he rich?”
This pissed me off, not only because it obviously paints me in a certain unsavory light (gold digger,) but because it’s hopelessly unfair to older men, who often, I find, have so much more to offer than the younger fish in the pond. What follows is a list of reasons why silver foxes should feel confident in reaching out to younger gals, and why women in my position should find out what they’re missing.
- Maturity – It’s common knowledge that women tend to get their shit together sooner than men do. Often, if you’re dating a man fifteen years your senior, you’ll find that your values, as well as the things you want out of life now, match up. No more getting close to a guy for six months and then starting from scratch again when he freaks out and decides he’d rather backpack around South Africa by himself for a year than risk emotional intimacy with a woman who just might be his perfect match. (Not that this has happened to me. Ever.) Most older guys are more self-possessed, less afraid of revealing their own vulnerability, and much better at communicating their feelings, too.
- Relationship Experience – These guys inevitably have had more, and/or longer relationships than dudes in their twenties (yikes) or thirties. If they’ve also got the emotional maturity to match, chances are they’ve reflected on their past relationships and aren’t looking to make the same mistakes.
- Sexual Experience – Ladies: tired of drawing a map so he can find your clitoris? I’ll admit to a period of time when I enjoyed being bossy in the sack. Now? I’m tired of teaching. I want a guy who’s intuitive, patient, and firm, and can control my orgasm, as well as his own. Swoon.
- The Daddy Factor – Guys online in their 30’s and 40’s often have young kids from previous relationships. If you’re into the stepmom thing, that can be ok, if not challenging. However, guys in their 50’s might have kids in their 20’s. This is true in the case of my date, “John,” and it means that not only has he got lots of prior daddy experience, but also, those kids of his are adults now, and long since out of his house. Also, finding out how wonderful his relationships are with his kids makes him all the more attractive – even sexy – to me. Call it the biological imperative; whatever it is, it’s working.
- Independence – This is ultra important. I have a life, and I want to date a man who’s got one, too. It doesn’t mean we can’t get close and enjoy our time together, but I’m not interested in being joined at the hip – or cell phone. I like meeting someone who’s built a full and textured life for himself, based on his own interests and curiosities. If he has a schedule which includes exercise, cooking for himself, doing his own laundry, cleaning his own place, walking his own dog, and going out with his own friends – but he still wants to make space and time in his (already complete) existence for me, all the better. If you don’t need me – yet! – but you want me all the same, I’m doubly flattered, and I’ll never feel like your mom.
There now. Convinced yet? And not a word in there about money. Please give it up, Miss Cynical and the rest of you presumptuous folk! Trust me – I have no trouble at all earning my own.
Now ‘fess up: what’s the greatest age difference you’ve had with a partner? Did it detract or add to your relationship?