40 First Dates

November 12, 2009

5: Ain’t Nothing But A Number

Filed under: Uncategorized — 40firstdates @ 11:25 pm

I was on the elliptical at Equinox this morning – a Hollywood-ridiculous gym with more human growth hormone inside than a scientist’s rat cage –  having a good laugh at the Snuggie commercial on the overhead TV (www.getsnuggie.com) when a cute boy approached the 40ish woman next to me.

“Does my hair look too blond?” He asked, his spray-tanned face twisting with anxiety.

The woman looked bored.

“It’s a good look for you” she finally said, before plugging her headphones back in.

He went away, satisfied.

Now, maybe this woman was the guy’s surrogate mum after he moved to Hollywood with stars in his eyes, got a crappy apartment with mouldy bathroom tile and five other wannabe-famous roomies, but it intrigues me, the younger man/ older woman relationship.  These two seemed like just friends, but still, it was interesting.

For the past two weeks I’ve been seeing, texting, e-mailing and IMing with a very cute new guy. A journalist who’s traveled, 6’3”, amazing body (I’ve seen pictures ok?) he’s driven and successful and interesting and clever and funny. And keen. Oh and he’s 24 years old.

Why does a guy that age go out with a woman in her thirties?

I called my brother.

“Dunno. He’s probably got issues with his mum” he said.

Then I asked a girlfriend.

She said, “Men don’t think ahead about viability, they date you if they like you and that’s it. Women weigh up the future consequences more.”

But still, there was something wrong. The very fact that he’s so into this, there’s always a reason for a much younger man chasing an older woman, isn’t there? There has to be.

Another friend said, “you don’t look or act your age, he probably got to like you before he realised.”

It’s true I didn’t meet this guy online as per my blog rules, so it wasn’t until late in our first meeting that he knew. I gabbled away about places I’d lived and jobs I’d done, feeling his eyes on me and trying to put him off with obvious evidence of our age difference. Frankly, I’m so firmly on the blog-track that I discounted meeting a guy organically, a guy I might like.

“Would it be very rude of me to ask how old you are?” He said.

“I’m 33”.

“How old do you think I am?” He asked, laughing.

“25” I said.

“I’m 24. Do I look really young?” He seemed worried.

“It’s not that, I figured it out when you said how recently you started working,” I lied.  He did look young.

This is not the first time this has happened. I once met a Belgian guy who seemed intensely nuts about me. I asked him what he’d done since college.

“Just this, living here,” he said.

“When did you move here?” I asked.

“Last February.”

When I finally responded to his 17 texts (that is not an exaggeration) with ‘sorry you seem nice, but I’m looking for someone in my own age group’, he went nuts. In fact he was outside my house the next morning. He was actually insane.

See? There is definitely something wrong with these guys, isn’t there? A few years is OK, but an entire generation?

Recently I asked Ashton Kutcher on the red carpet what he loved about Demi. They started dating in 2003. He was 25, she was 40.

He said “she gets more beautiful every day.”

I mean she is beautiful, and youthful, maybe $200,000 of surgery later, but Ashton, do you have issues? What are you looking for? Is this your starter marriage? Will you divorce once Demi is 65 and in retirement and then marry a 22 year-old starlet instead? I wanted to ask these questions, but of course if I had, his rep might have bludgeoned me to death.

And what about Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry? She’s 43, he’s 33. Ok she’s stunning and could easily pass for ten years younger. Then there’s the godmother of older women – Madonna, 51, with Jesus Lutz, 23. Yes those new plastic cheeks and frenetically-honed arse enable her to pass for late 30s, but really, Jesus? What gives?

So maybe my girlfriend was right. Men don’t think ahead so much when it comes to dating, they just like what they find attractive and that’s it. Obviously there are some grey areas in these celeb examples, I mean Jesus’ career and lifestyle have gone nuclear since he enrolled as Madonna’s concubine. Gabriel has gone from hot French model guy to the celebrity Mr Berry. But then, he wasn’t doing too badly on his $30,000 a day as a Hugo Boss clothes hanger and ownership of that trendy East Village café. Ok his album is not exactly on everyone’s ipod, but what the hell, he didn’t really need a leg-up from Halle. The allure of fame may be so strong it leads to crazy behaviour – as all of us in Los Angeles know – but I’m not buying that as Gabriel and Ashton’s sole reason for dating these ladies.

Does age-difference really matter anyway?

I think it doesn’t have to matter for a while, then comes a crucial point when the chasm widens. Like in a late-30s woman with a late-20s guy, for example. Is he going to want kids because her ovaries are on the outs? Maybe not. Does he feel the impulse to get married very soon because she’s going to turn 40? Not necessarily. If she’s already 45+ and marriage and kids are off-menu, maybe he’s just in love with her elegance, her attitude, or her wisdom. But how long until some girl his age whisks him away? The point of a partnership is to be able to have a life together, in tandem, surely?

I don’t believe in lying about your age. I think you’ll only seem deeply weird and desperate when they find out the truth, like those mad facelifted Beverly Hills ladies who look like they’ve been locked in a wind tunnel.

One of my girlfriends adjusts her age from 26 to 24, because “25 is the fun threshold”. I remember being 26 and having that fear, that the fun was slipping away. It didn’t though. It’s a choice to keep doing all the things you ever wanted to in life I think. And when you’re settled, you can still be spontaneous and fun, even if you have to remind yourself to be.

I once met the British ex-Editor of Cosmopolitan, Marcelle D’Argy Smith. This woman’s career is legendary. Yet she told me how she fearlessly dropped her editorship in London to take a creative writing course in New York. Afterwards, she got a job again without trouble or anxiety. She didn’t fear an age threshold, she just followed her dreams and did exactly what she wanted to.

Last week a friend from work wrote this on her blog:

“Estee Lauder sold her first cosmetics at Saks at 36, Lucille Ball debuted in TV favorite ‘I Love Lucy’ at 40, Marian Anderson, opera star, sang at the Lincoln Memorial at 42. You have plenty of time.”

I love this idea and I believe it’s true. But when it comes to love, age is a compatibility factor – if your life-stage is radically different to that of your partner, then look out.

So back to what’s wrong with this guy? Does my demeanour say ‘Mrs Robinson’ or what?

I have yet to ask the man himself. Instead, I am going out with a different 24 year-old this week. One who approached online. Maybe I’ll ask him. There was this 22 year-old asking me too, but I ditched him after he said, “I like older chicks, I’m just going to put that out there.”

I mean, that’s no way to talk to a lady.


  1. Thanks for sharing – Very funny. This happens to me too! I personally find myself attracted to men at least 5 years older than me, but the only guys who ever earnestly hit on me, ask me out on dates even, are at least 5 years younger than me. I don’t understand!

    Comment by amanda — November 12, 2009 @ 11:57 pm | Reply

  2. The age difference can work sometimes. Or maybe it’s a cultural thing. I have a work colleague who is married to a man 15 years younger than herself and has been for the last 19 years. He is a lead singer in a commercially viable rock band and has had the opportunity to ditch her umpteen times, given his national celebrity status, and the predilection of groupies to present their ankles behind their ears at the first opportunity. She has just had both her breasts removed, due to advanced cancer, and he is so devastated.

    She tells me that the age issue has never been a problem between them. I can relate. I am attracted to the person, not the age, and the love of my life was considerably younger than me; he never even considered it worth mentioning, let alone worrying about.

    Comment by kitty — November 17, 2009 @ 5:48 am | Reply

  3. It can work. My in-laws, for example. She’s 9 years older. When they married he was 20 and she was 29. When she reached retirement age he switched to working from home and then a few years later took early retirement. They are as in love today as the day they married.

    On the other hand, every guy I’ve ever dated has been massively behind me in terms of what he wanted from life. Moving in together, marriage, pets, kids…I was ready for them all long before guys my age or a couple of years older. No idea if that’s an age thing or just the kinds of men I’m attracted to.

    Comment by Nose in a Book — November 29, 2009 @ 12:04 am | Reply

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