By Madeline Iva
Occasionally, the guy who runs OkCupid.com shares interesting statistical from his dating site. One statistic: women tend to think the ideal age for a man is the same age as herself. For example, if a woman is 21 then her idea of the ideal age for a man is 21. If she’s 35, then it’s 35.
Men, on the other hand, think that the ideal age for a woman is 21.
It’s like the punch line to a bad joke. Cue the sound effects: Whaaa-waaa-waaaaah.
I am not surprised. Never have I been so hit upon as when I was 21-ish. Nine-tenths of the men were older–around thirty or so. They saw a young woman alone in the world and wanted to take care of me. It was an irresistible urge on their part. I wanted nothing to do with them–an irresistible urge on my part. Basically, I was very intimidated.
To be honest, I had grown up fatherless. The daddy figure thing hit me on an emotional funny bone. It made the sexual chemistry between me and a guy who was older hideously uncomfortable and icky for me.
Ah, how joyous it was when I met my dear beloved husband and that issue was put to rest for forever. No more being approached by older men.
Years later I was hanging out with two guys at lunch–both of whom were about fifteen years younger than me. They talked about living in NYC where they both got entangled with older women. The bottom line: while they really wanted to relish the ego boost of having knocked boots with a sexy older women–in their hearts of hearts they found older women intimidating. Hooray! — It wasn’t just me. I know other people are different, but I appreciated the company.
Then I got a little older. Things changed. First I became a lot more aware of men physically. My friends were the same. All our minds seemed to have wandered to the gutter. They confessed to a sudden obsessions with men’s legs, or chests. Me too! But for me it was also a time where I did an about-face with the whole older man thing.
I’ve noticed I’m once more getting the eye from older men. Of course, older now doesn’t mean guys in their 30’s, it means guys in their 50’s and early 60’s. Usually at the gym. Sometimes in the line at the grocery store or in a cafe. Unlike the younger men, who will be staring at my breasts in the gym and then look up another six inches, flush and look away, older men are going for eye contact with the hint of a smile. Unlike younger older men (!) older older men, seem to be able to read subtle cues that I’m not interested and they stay away. And me? I’m not bothered by the whole thing as I used to be.
Looking at actors on TV or in movies, I find that suddenly older men aren’t intimidating–they’re sexy. In fact, I like the idea of older men. Someone more patient. Someone who recognizes his own flaws. Someone who sees things across a landscape of experience and makes a gentle suggestion that really helps. I also find that I like the way older men look. Is it just me or have older men stepped up their game? Some men improve dramatically over the decades– both in appearance and in charisma.
There’s a quality of experience and assurance with older men that I now like and appreciate. But, so what? What we’re really talking here is the daddy figure thing–in a sexy, more sophisticated form. The whole dark desire of a Daddy Figure? Not so freaky to me any more. Definitely a forbidden desire. Definitely hot.
And why IS it so forbidden? The older-man/younger-woman thing is as old as time. As common as it is, our society gets incredibly critical at the idea and takes a huge crap on it. With good reason sometimes. Another statistic: the greater the age gap, the greater the chance of a couple breaking up.
On television I notice that sometimes the older man and the younger women just have the chemistry. When they try to match up the older guy to an age appropriate foil, it’s not the same. (Though I appreciate the thought.)
What are you gonna do? In FOYLE’S WAR they just let all that chemistry lie there. On HOUSE they took it to an awkward, painful place. As usual. Alas.
Go forth next week and feast your heart out at Thanksgiving! We’re going to post some of our favorite blog posts from the past while wishing you warm holiday cheer.
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