10 June 2012

My boss told me he was feeling tired, because he’d finished off last night with an eighteen year old.  I looked at him askance. He’s a nice guy and good looking in an understated sort of way, but an eighteen year old?  He’s forty for heaven’s sake. 

What is it about men and younger women?  Is it about ego and the desire to show off their intact virility and attractiveness while their middle-aged wives live vicariously by enviously looking at photos of Madonna and Jesus in Hello magazine?  Or is it biological instinct, which forever impels them to seek out young nubile girls to mate with?  Of course it could be sheer bloody-mindedness and an inability to admit they’re getting old, like the other half of the population.

Either way, middle-aged men continue to ogle younger girls and middle-aged women continue to buy gossip magazines where they can devour pictures and stories of the best type of age gap romances like Demi and Ashton. Not that that one ended so well but how many women wouldn’t have traded places with Demi for a while?  I’d certainly put some serious thought into it if I had the chance.

Traditionally society has disapproved less of pairings between older men and younger women than the other way around, but things are changing thank goodness and now we celebrate older women taking toy boys. And why shouldn’t we?  Older women look great these days, thanks to the gym, a healthy lifestyle, anti-aging products and the occasional helping hand from cosmetic procedures.  Witness the popularity of TV programme Cougar Town, which celebrates all these things.

In men’s defence, why is it OK – and even glamorous – for women to take toy boys as lovers, while we frown at and ridicule men who want to go out with younger women?  We’ve even built a whole vernacular around the phenomenon – cradle snatcher, jailbait and lech to name a few.  And if there’s an imbalance in financial position words such as sugar daddy, trophy wife, sugar baby and gold-digger are thrown around. Anna Nicole Smith had two of these labels, and probably much worse.

There has even been a rule created around the May to September romance.   This tongue in cheek guideline, called the ‘Standard Creepiness Rule’, states that the youngest acceptable dating age limit for a partner is half the age of the older partner, plus 7 years.  The age range of acceptable dating partners increases as the older partners ages, so that a romance between a 50 year old and a 30 year old would be ‘creepy’ according to this rule.  Ironically, once the 50 year old reaches 55, it would be OK to date the person, who would then be 35.

Many men of course push the limits of the Standard Creepiness Rule or like Hugh Hefner, ignore it altogether.  Most men only dream of being lucky enough to do so.

For my part, I’ve always taken the view that love comes in all forms, shapes, sizes and ages.  If two people are happy what does chronology matter?

Back to my boss, who really did look exhausted, but in that mellow, satisfied way of a man who’s had what he wants and would like to repeat the experience.

There was a pause in the conversation as he looked at me looking at him askance.  His face split into a wide grin.  “Yep, the 18 year old was great,” he said.  “Eighteen really is the best age for a malt whisky.”




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