It's a hot new trend. But do either of them understand what relationships are really about?
So is it a bad sign when the AARP starts talking about your dating life?
The AARP, for the young and unenlightened, is the American Association of Retired Persons. They really have no relevance to me on any level except the fact that I’m American and a person. As much as I love the concept of retirement, I’m nowhere remotely near the age where anyone would expect me to retire, or even to seriously plan for retirement. (Okay, I’m sort of doing that. But my current retirement savings wouldn’t keep me in peanut butter and jelly for a year.)
And yet, they recently released a study on dating that lumped people my age together with people their age. Maybe they’re trying to appeal to a younger audience, or to get people used to saying “dating” and “AARP” in the same sentence.
The article was about how older women are dating younger men. It created an interesting picture in my head. It seemed to me that any woman the AARP would refer to as “older” would be one very elderly broad. I imagined a young, muscled stud pushing her wheelchair with one hand while holding her oxygen tank with the other.
Not quite. They featured a picture of Hollywood’s new “it” couple – 40 year old Demi Moore and 25 year old Ashton Kutcher.
But Demi and Ashton have obviously started some kind of trend, because the next day in the grocery store I saw a headline on the cover of Oprah Winfrey’s magazine: “Younger Men! Enjoy One Today.”
What an appealing headline. Younger men are now apparently the dating equivalent of an ice-cold Coke.
This article summed up the mentality of the older women/younger men trend quite nicely. It was written by a 45 year old woman married to a 31 year old man. She’s quite enthused about the “benefits” of younger men. They lack “emotional baggage” because they haven’t lived on the planet long enough to acquire an ex-wife or a string of ex-girlfriends. Nor have they been here long enough to acquire bad backs or stiff joints. They can fix your computer because they grew up playing at the keyboard. And, best of all, because they didn’t grow up with stay-at-home mothers, they don’t mind marrying a woman who expects to have a career.
I was struck on a couple of levels. The whole article was about what he (younger man) could do for you (older woman.) In fact, it struck me that most of the complaints she had about older men (read: men her own age) were the same complaints these younger men would probably have about her. Aging body, emotional baggage – are women suddenly immune? Estee Lauder can only do so much to help. In the end, Mother Nature wins every time.
I’ve always told teenagers that the main problem with young girls dating much older men is that men like that don’t want a woman, they want a child. And when the child inevitably becomes a woman, they’re no longer interested in her. The same works here. These healthy young studs will age. I don’t know, maybe these older women are just assuming they’ll be dead by then. Heaven help these men if the old broads are still around.
And these men don’t “expect” their wives to stay at home? First of all, the problem with this scenario is that these same men actually expect their wives to work. They don’t expect to have to support a family. They were raised believing that a wife has to “carry her own weight” financially. They see no value to the stay-at-home mother role.
Of course, it all seems moot to me anyway, since a majority of these well-past-forty women couldn’t give these younger men children without donor eggs and rental wombs anyway.
It was the perfect summary of what’s wrong with dating today. It’s all about the consumer mentality. What can you do for me? How could you bring me pleasure right now? I don’t see a whole lot of interest in the future. Even marriage is simply “taking the next step” -- moving the benefits into the house for convenience.
Marriage, as I understand it, isn’t about “what can you do for me?” It’s about total self-donation. It’s about the dignity and well-being of the other person. It’s about dying to self for the sake of the other, and for the family that comes from that union.
Age-wise, I honestly don’t care who marries whom. Yes, big age-gaps look weird – regardless of who is “May” and who is “December.” But I’m much more interested in their attitude towards each other. Do they see marriage as self-donation – as dying to self for the sake of the other person? Do they truly see themselves as linked to the other, for better or for worse, for life?
Or are they just looking to “enjoy each other” today?