A man growing old becomes a child again. Sophocles
Or dates one. Wisconsin Wit
I won’t say how old I am, but I am old enough to know better. And one of the things I know better is than to date someone more than a decade younger – less depending on the dater’s age. If, for example, the “dater” is twenty, than the “datee” shouldn’t be younger than age 18. (Unless the “dater” wishes to risk “death by Dad” or a jail term.) The window expands as the age increases until the gap reaches a maximum ten year age difference.
This is reasonable and greatly reduces the chance of embarrassing mishaps like a waiter asking if your great-granddaughter would like a lollipop. This happens. Really. Ask Hugh Hefner.*
It also means you might actually have something in common with the other person on the date, some familiar points of reference in the cultural universe instead of trying to bridge a generation gap answering awkward questions like “Al Gore? Who’s he” or “Jane Fonda? Isn’t she that lady in the adult diaper commercials?” And that’s before you even start to talk about music and learn the “datee” thinks any music from before 2010 is an “Oldies” tune. And then there’s the problem of finding an age appropriate activity that both parties can enjoy without going to an emergency room. Or of both being able to stay awake through dinner.
Look at almost any rich and famous male and then check out his companion. (And please note that when it’s an older woman-younger man people never say, “She’s a stud!” – it’s always something like, “She’s pathetic” or, more commonly, “Eeeewwww!!!!!”)
Which brings me to George Clooney.
I entered a contest in which the prize was two tickets to an exclusive private party at George’s home along with a gazillion other lucky winners. I could enter on-line, once a day, every day, during the time period the contest was open. I entered every day. (It turns out the President Obama would be there too but who cared? Sorry, Barry.)
I knew I would win. I didn’t. But if I had won, I knew exactly what I would have said to him when we were introduced. “George, it’s lovely to meet you. I’m a big fan. Why do you date children?”
George is 51 years old. Granted he looks good for his age. He looks much better than he did at 20, or 30, or 40. That’s another one of those double standard things that kicks women in the butt. Men can get better with age. Women just age. But that’s another post.
The point is that he’s gray and grizzled. And under the ten year rule he should be dating women between the age of 41 and 61.
Instead, he dates a series of children. Presently it’s a 32 year old. Before that it was a 30 year old. Before that it was another 30 year old.
Yes, they’re all slender and photogenic. Yes, none of them have cellulite or stretch marks. But seriously, doesn’t he ever wonder why none of his relationships last? Like maybe dating people who weren’t born until after he got out of high school might have something to do with it?
And then there’s that whole oedipal thing, which is another good reason for the ten year cutoff. I would never want to date anyone young enough to be my child. Not only does it completely creep me out, I would be spending my time correcting their manners and telling them to sit up straight. And would seriously wonder about the mental health of anyone willing to date someone that much older. Like thinking maybe they had some issues.
George – really – what did you think when your ex said, “he has been special for me, and very important, just as a father would be … between us there was more of a father-daughter relationship.”
George, all I am saying is give age a chance.
The fact that I’m in your optimum range has nothing to do with it.
*Yes, I know there are rare exceptions to the rule – there are ALWAYS exceptions unless we’re talking about gravity – but they still get weird comments from waiters.