Hi, I’m Jason, and this is my wife Rachel, who is 13 years younger than me. After the show, I’ll be available in the lobby for high-fives.
On a related note, Chelsea Samelson at Acculturated asks, “What’s wrong with dating older men?“
For most of human history, it was normal and even expected for a younger woman to wind up with an older man. There are more examples of this than one could possibly count in history, art, poetry, music, and literature. (And I’m not talking about Lolita . . .) In fact, most of us probably need not look much further than our grandparents to see age gaps that would be considered scandalous today.
…the age disparity in modern relationships is dwindling. Today, the average age gap between married couples in America is around two years, and a recent survey found that people believe the ideal age gap is around four years.
Here’s the problem—for a young woman like me, the socially acceptable, “ideal” mate is a man in his mid to late twenties. Allow me to risk a sweeping generalization here and say that most guys in their mid-twenties still embody all the unattractive characteristics of boys not far out of high school: beer pong, roommates, video games, crappy jobs, saggy pants, and all around immaturity.
Haaa-hahahaha! Really? You don’t say? Tell me more.
I can’t help but wonder if our focus on girl power has left today’s young men a bit displaced and in the dark, especially when it comes to their role with women. So is it really any wonder that today’s young women might want to go back to climbing the age ladder to find someone who’s past playing Halo with his roommates?
Cultural trends aside, there has always and will always be an attraction and appeal to dating older men. Plain and simple, older men bring a lot to the table that younger men cannot.
Older men are often more intelligent, well read, and street smart—they’ve just been around longer. They can be a wealth of experience and advice, often because one can learn from what they have done rather than hearing about what they hope to do. And usually, older men are a bit better at old-fashioned chivalry and romance than younger boys.
So maybe it’s actually a good thing for younger women to date older men. But at the very least, if a young woman has high standards for men and falls in love with someone older, we shouldn’t jump to shaming her…
Seriously, though, I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that I’m not exactly what you think of when you think “older man.” I still linger a long time in the comics section of bookstores, and if Rachel didn’t cook, I’d probably just eat a bag of BBQ potato chips for dinner every night. Maturity-wise, she’s the one who’s too old for me.
However, I think there’s a lot to like about Samelson’s post, and some good advice for the single ladies out there. There’s nothing wrong with looking for a guy who’s cleaned himself up, gotten a job, and started making a place for himself in the world. As for me, I had the great good fortune to, as they say, marry my second wife first.