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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Dating Older: Double The Age, Double The Standards

Amber Mobley |
April 12, 2009 | 9:56 p.m. PDT


So, I have a (*ahem*) "friend", who is interested in an older man. She's 26 years his junior which makes him one year shy of being twice her age.

Pursuing him with a mutual understanding that, yes, she is interested in him -- and he's possibly interested in her -- she (*ahem*) asked me for some advice.  

In turning to Google with a few search phrases like "younger woman" and "older man" and "May-December romance", (once I bipassed all of the porn) I found stark contrast in the Web consensus regarding relationships with large age gaps, and it goes like this: Older woman/Younger man = Hot; Older man/Younger woman = Perverted

The Older woman/Younger man thing has been glorified in movies from The Graduate to American Pie, and now, it's got its own reality show, The Cougar (hosted by Vivica A. Fox) which premiers on TV Land this Wednesday. With a set-up just like The Bachelor, The Cougar is being billed with this simple tagline: "sexy, older woman, younger men."

I'll bet money that no television station would green light this same concept with an older man vying for the affections of a harem of young women.

Well, let me take that back, actually, there was a show kind of like that: The Girls Next Door, a reality show that followed Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner, who just turned 83 earlier this month, and his three girlfriends, all in their twenties.

The vulgarity is implied in this case. And, sadly, older men with younger women have that kind of stigma to it.

The men are often seen as "perverts," "creeps" and "dirty old men" and accused of going through a mid-life crisis while the women are often seen as "gold diggers" (Anna Nicole anyone?) with daddy issues.  

As the younger woman, umm, I mean since my "friend" is the younger woman in this situation, she's heard it all. By far the snarkiest commentary came from a list of 50 Reasons Why Young Women Should Date Older Men:  

Reason #12 -  If he gets too chatty, you can hide his teeth.

Reason #20. No random late-night booty calls, because he goes to bed at 9 p.m. every night.

Reason #46 - He has a nice car. Park your Hyundai and start driving his Infiniti, Porsche, Lexus, Mercedes or BMW.

Reason #26 - He has a future, even though it might be a limited one.

It's got to be about ulterior motives, right? A lot of things are easy to assume about a younger woman who's interested in an older man, especially if they're both black.

She has bad credit, taste for expensive things and a deadbeat baby daddy who won't support her and her kids, or, she's turning her back on guys her own age because a majority of them are either dead, in jail, caught up in illegal activities, uneducated or somebody else's baby daddy.

But how about this; the younger woman could be geniunely interested in this older man because she sees him as a wonderful man and he just so happens to see her as a wonderful woman despite of, or regardless of, either of their ages.

Despite not being "socially acceptable" and despite the naysayers and name callers, mutual respect, attraction, and common bonds can bridge the age gap in any relationship. 



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