Why is it so much harder to accept the idea of successful, older women dating younger, less successful men than when the genders are reversed?
We all know the scenario of the older wealthy man with the younger hot babe. If you live in Los Angeles, it’s practically the norm. We’re more apt to react with surprise when we hear about people getting together who are “age appropriate” because it’s common in this town for the man to be 10, 20 or more years older than his girlfriend. Older rich guy, younger attractive woman – so what?
What remains more of an enigma is when it’s the woman who’s the older and more successful partner in a romantic relationship. Sure, we’ve heard the term gigolo, but that’s more of an hourly wage scenario. What I’m talking about is a relationship, not a male escort. There’s real romance underway that’s not any less “real” than those relationships where the genders are reversed.
It’s different from a “cougar” situation, too, because this is more about influence than sex. And just like the more common older man/younger woman paradigm, most people would agree that it’s highly unlikely the two of them would be together if money, power and prestige were taken off the table.
Take my girlfriend Christie. She’s single, in her early 60s, extraordinarily successful, smart, attractive (no dances with the plastic surgeon yet) and has zero interest in men her own age. She only wants to date men who are on the south side of 35 and look like Calvin Klein underwear models – and if that’s what she likes, why not?
“Men my age can’t keep up with me. They look so old. I would feel like I was dating my father,” she says, showing me a photo of the hunk she’s having dinner with on Saturday night.
Despite my laissez–faire attitude about most things in life, every time she tells me about one of her new love interests, I worry he’s only after her money or connections. Why is it so hard to believe that these men are fascinated by her sophisticated elegance and worldly charm? I don’t react like that, nor do most of my friends, when my older guy friends show up with a younger woman on their arm.
Funny how preconceptions about age and gender – like the bias against people who are single – can sneak into our subconscious and color our perceptions. As aware as I try to be, particularly since I became aware of the prejudice that exists in our culture about being single, I’m still guilty of slipping into judgment based on stereotypes that have me leaping to conclusions before I know the whole story.
Fact is, if my female friends want to date and mate with men who are much younger, even if there’s a certain element of quid pro quo in place, why not? We are talking about adults here, so let the buyer beware. And most likely, that buyer, if she’s managed to create a successful career and business, has tangled with trickier situations than a stunning, much younger dinner companion.
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Copyright © Kim Calvert/2014 Singular Communications, LLC.