On a recent night in I watched the DVD ‘How Stella Got Her Groove Back.’ When I originally watched this movie back in 1998, I don’t think I was at a place to fully appreciate what the storyline was about. It was another black film with eye-candy (though Taye Diggs doesn’t do it for me as much as Tyrese or Morris would have). But watching it this time round made me actually think more about older women/younger men relationships. More so, because I recently met a guy who is as hot as they come – we’ll call him The Body – but when I realized he is younger than me, I felt a little uncomfortable.
I have always had problems with guys being younger than me. I think it’s because I have two younger brothers, and the thought that my ‘man’ could be my brother’s mate is very off-putting. But there are plenty of women out there who don’t share my discomfort. Demi Moore married Ashton Kutcher, where there is a 15-year age gap. Guy Ritchie was 10 years younger than Madonna, and at the age of 50 she is currently dating a 22-year old. Nicole Scherzinger was ‘29’ when she started dating 22-year old Lewis Hamilton in 2007. Vivica Fox famously dated and temporarily lost her mind over 50 Cent, and even Angela Bassett’s real life husband is younger than her, though it’s not as bad as her character Stella, whose new love was 20 years old – exactly half her age.
Admittedly at six years younger than me, the gap between The Body and I is not as wide as those previously mentioned, but unfortunately that doesn’t ease my discomfort.
Kay is 30 and happily dates below her age. “I actually prefer younger men, in all honesty. I have no problems at all being in a relationship with a younger man. As long as they are mature thinkers, then what the hell?! Life is too short to be deliberating when you can be having fun. Plus, the older you get, the more you should experiment and increase the options available to you. It’s a sad fact, but men die before women, so if you have a younger man you’ll get to have him around for much longer!”
Thirty –year old Angel disagrees. “It depends on the age gap, but I personally don’t think there’s anything sexy about dating a younger man. It’s hard work moulding the ones of age, let alone trying to explain things to younger guys. Aren’t women mentally a few years ahead of men anyway? That just sounds like too much hard work!”
This leads me to my next point – if we women are more mature than men our age, why not rather go and find someone older so that he is, at the very least, on the same level?
“Age has got nothing to do with whether a man is clued up or not,” say Eka, 32. “It is rather his life experiences. If a man isn’t where he needs to be spiritually, financially, emotionally or mentally then it doesn’t matter. I’ve met guys older than me who were hopeless, and likewise with the younger. If you’re looking, just find a man who’s decent, regardless of his age.”
In the case of The Body, communication has been made clear as to what I am looking for, but it seems he may not be quite there yet, which adds more fuel to my fire. He just wants to have ‘fun’. Don’t get me wrong, I want the same, but I am at a point where I want to have a different type of fun. Does that make me boring?
Darryl, 26, has had predominantly older women relationships – some as much as eight to ten years his senior. “The thing is to find a balance. When dating someone younger you run the risk of them behaving like a juvenile and having no sense of priority. But if you date someone too old, they may be at a stage where they want things that you’re not ready for, for example kids if you have none. You know – ‘biological clock’ and all that. Older women can teach you a lot though.”
According to the majority of men spoken to, one appeal of an older woman is the status it will bring among his peers – the bragging rites. A younger man will appear bigger if he is known to be sleeping with an older woman, and will also become a focus of desire among her circle friends. Another attraction is the stability it brings. Older women have their lives sorted, know what they want and know how to get it. There is also an element of nurture, one not too distant from that given by a mother.
My biological clock ticks, but the sound is not yet at a deafening level. It doesn’t hurt to try new things in a relationship, whatever type of relationship it may be, so I might just go there, do that, and wear the t-shirt. I’ll let you know if it fits.
First published in Candy Mag UK, 2009