Age Ain’t Nothing But a Slight Generational Gap

It’s a new year, and with this in mind, we should be open to other possibilities. Enter a situation with a free mind, don’t be so quick to judge. If entering something new with negative feedback or by skipping other options that do not supposedly fit our criteria, we may allow a potential good thing to pass us by if we really don’t take the time to understand what we’re dismissing.

So, why should we only date within our age group? Why do we set restrictions on who we can and cannot see? As long as they’re of legal age, there really should be no issue. Because we definitely do not promote any R. Kelly-type relationships.

I’ve always been somewhat open to dating guys within a different “age bracket.” I felt as if an older gentleman could possibly teach me new things. And being as mature as I am, I thought that this would probably be the closest mental match for me. On the other hand, younger guys didn’t typically appeal to me. If guys my age were already immature, why go even younger? Possibly to someone who has less of his shit together and is still enduring his “hoe phase” or still belches loudly and proudly? Someone who still doesn’t appreciate homecooked meals that do NOT include Hamburger Helper? Yeah, I’m not the one.

In my age group, there are women who are ready to settle down: get married, have children, or maybe just be involved with someone who is not a complete waste of time. But it seems as if they never look to older men who could satisfy these next-step needs. As a plus, these guys have already sewed their wild oats — many at least. Some still like to wander off and explore their options; believe me, I’ve seen them. But quite a few men may be ready to settle down as well, ready to start a family at this point. So, why not look into dating men a little older? They offer a number of things to the relationship: wisdom, professional insight, a protector, someone who has made a name for himself and is secure enough with who he is to take care of a woman (hopefully). And finally, as a woman, we have met someone on our same mental plane. On the flipside, a younger woman can teach him current trends, keep him dressed well (yep! Or maybe this is just important to me), and be the inspiration that will keep his mind youthful. Seems like it could be a win-win situation, right? Then, why don’t more couples try it?

There are the negative stereotypes of “mixed generational dating.” Social expectations can harm these relationships more than the people actually involved, so it seems. The older man is always coming from a divorce and seeks a younger woman to revive him. Or he wants more kids and looks to a fertile 20-something to pop out more babies. Maybe the younger woman is the age of his kids or maybe he just has to keep trading the woman in for a younger model over and over and over again. Then, his friends all praise him for having some young-something always on his arm.

Next, the younger woman clearly must be a golddigger. She prays upon a vulnerable middle-aged man, yearning for affection and she grasps him in the clutches of her manicured, stiletto nails at the right moment — after he’s had kids, when he’s built an empire for himself, stacked up enough money (which he will then secure her in his will), then he will die and she will still be gorgeous enough to find another man and at the older man’s expense.  Well, that’s at least how TV seems to portray the scenario. And that’s how we probably perceive it on a day-to-day basis. That, or maybe the girl has “daddy issues” or some other myth as to why she can’t get a man her own age. (Maybe because they’re all still finding themselves at dive bars?)

On the other side, there’s also the cougar who likes to dabble with younger guys. She comes across as carefree (maybe this is the original golddigger who’s aged), and she has plenty of money to spend. Typically. Anyways, she enjoys the company of younger men as she seems to have no grip on the reality of her true age.

Funny enough, it’s interesting how women come across as the antagonist in both scenarios. 

Nonetheless, age really shouldn’t be a complete determining factor. Unless you’re talking about Britney Spears as your first concert and your significant other mentions radio shows from his youth. That may not work. Honestly, I’d have no idea what your conversations would consist. Or maybe it wouldn’t work if you’re helping your kids prepare to put your grandchild in school and then the guy you’re dating is pumped about the end of final exams in college. I will admit, it is a little bit of a conflict of — not interests — but realities.

How many times do we miss a possibility because of age as a factor? In history, younger women married older men because they were more established and had something to offer, unlike the fucktwads running around now who still don’t know how to not pee on the toilet seat. These older men were better competitors.

Even women being cougars isn’t a new thing. In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie falls in love with Tea Cake, who is much younger than her. Though the people of her small Florida town tried to tell her otherwise because they were afraid he’d try to take advantage, Janie found the first true happiness of her life with this man. Yeah, he got bit by a dog and died of rabies, but before he became nearly a flesh-eating, foaming-at-the-mouth zombie, they were really truly happy together.

Love has no boundaries, even if that boundary is defined by age. Having dated both men older than me and then those a few years younger, there’s definitely been more comfort in the man who can show me the ropes and be able to lead. The younger guys still want to backpack across Europe while pursuing a career in professional fencing but stay home to play the latest Madden because, duh, their friends are all online playing too.

Besides, what’s the point of you coming to the table with nothing? We both can’t bring air to dinner. Otherwise, we’ll both starve, and it’s not my responsibility to feed some guy around my age when he’s perfectly capable. I’d rather settle with the golddigger preconceived notion.

***Sidenote, I totally miss class Kanye.

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