Ooooh, provocative blog title. I can hear the heavy breathing of people lining up on either side of this debate that is so incendiary it will make you forget about bedbugs and J-Woww’s nude photo scandal. So here goes:
I have an ongoing disagreement with my friend Jean. She insists that all men over age 50 want to date 30 year olds. Jean is in her 60s and she says that for her to find a man who would date her, he would have to be in his 80s. Her evidence is what men say they want on sites like Match.com. I respectfully disagree. Or rather, I snort until things come out of my nose. But, since things have a habit of coming out of my nose anyway, Jean doesn’t take it as a comment on her opinion.
Here’s what I think about the Match.com thing: When I see a man list an age parameter for a potential partner, I put this in the same category as all the other things people write about themselves and what they want. This is called, “I am sitting at home/in the office in front of my computer. I am having an out-of-body experience triggered by questions on the screen like “Indicate Your Perfect Match: Body Type, Age, Monetary and Real Estate Holdings, Sexual Flexibility Awards, etc. The Little Match.com Genie that lives in the computer will grant you your every wish. All you have to do is click away. Then the emails will come pouring in.” Why wouldn’t any sane person go for broke?
Whenever I saw a profile of a man my age who expressed an interest in much younger women, I always contacted him. I wrote the following: “Your profile caught my eye. You look like a very special person. I’m older than your age parameters, but I wanted to write to wish you the best of luck in finding your match.” In 100% of all cases (maybe more), I got the following reply, “Wait! Hold on just a second! That age thing was just something I tossed off without thinking! It doesn’t mean anything! Let’s meet!”
A friend and I started and ran a speed dating company for several years. I’ll tell you what I learned from that experience: Older men love the idea of younger women. This is the same as me loving the idea of a string bikini. I can certainly buy it, and I can certainly wear it. But at some level, I sort of know that that kind of swimsuit and I should have parted ways at least 10 20 25 years ago. I can look in the mirror and tell myself it’s a good fit, but if I were Snow White and the Wicked Witch lived in my mirror, she would laugh herself into a coma.
When my friend and I advertised events for people 50 and over, most men weren’t interested because they said the women were “too sedentary, too set in their ways, too whatever.” What they were really saying was that they wanted some mythical hot young chick. So we cajoled, we gave incentives, we outright lied. And we got the men to sign up.
And here is what happened: When those same men were confronted with women in their age range, they responded. With gusto. We had more matches in the older age groups than in the younger. I got to observe all of those interactions. And what I saw was real men being attracted to real women.
I also think my cross-section of friends is a pretty good indication, as well. Some of them were divorced and then remarried after age 45. In one case, a friend married a man 14 years younger than she. In all the other cases, they married men in their own age group. When these women were dating, they dated men in their own age group. Now Husband Dan is less than two years younger than me. My ex married a woman five years younger than him. Anything five years or less is the same age, as far as I’m concerned.
I’m finished. I await your comments, opinions, rants, personal experiences, referrals to good therapists. I’m tough. I can take it. And beside, you don’t know where I live.