Tuesday, 28 August 2012

In which I contemplate younger men

“There’s a lot of it about,” The Equestrienne said one evening last week as we sat in a bar between our offices, each halfway through a glass of something that behooved a midweek evening. “I’ve got a friend in her early thirties with a boyfriend’s in his twenties, and I got asked out by a 24 year-old the other day.”

Chat had, as it almost inevitably does over gin on a Wednesday, turned to boys, and we were discussing the merits (or otherwise) of younger men.

The same subject had cropped up that morning when I’d exchanged tweets with someone bemoaning the fact that an apparently interested chap she’d met the previous weekend had turned out to be rather younger than she.

There will be no date, she tweeted, having eventually discerned his age.

My suggestion that if he was a tempting prospect she should ignore how old he was and go for it anyway fell on deaf ears.

To be fair, before The Writer cropped up on the scene, I had much the same attitude. The men I dated were around my age, if not a few years older (and then some…), and there was little to no way on God’s green one that I would have thought younger men would provide me with any more luck in matters of the heart than their older, if never wiser, counterparts.

Age differences seem to attract disproportionately more attention when the woman in a relationship is older than the man she’s seeing. A chap can install a woman 20 years his junior into his life without so much as a batted eyelid, but when a woman does the same, all sort of eyebrows are raised. Just ask the Sam Taylor-Woods of the world.

My realisation that I had met my very own younger man came on my second date with TW. We’d left a party – very nearly getting run over along with Ronnie Wood and his much younger squeeze (who, admittedly, had raised eyebrows, but because she was young enough to be his great-granddaughter) – at a set of traffic lights near Regents Park, and were wandering, a little squiffily, towards the centre of town to have a late dinner. Quite how we got to the subject, I don’t know, but at some point it in conversation it emerged that TW’s birthday was a couple of weeks later.

“Ah, so how old are you going to be?” I said, taking the opportunity to ask some of the crucial questions we’d not covered – and now I come to think of it, I’m not sure how we’d not covered them – during our mammoth first date.

“Ah, well – how old do you think I’m going to be?” TW said, a little unfairly I now know, as I’ve since learnt that he knew precisely how old I was before we’d met.

“I don’t know,” I said, taking what I thought was an educated guess, even under the influence of all the red wine.

“Er, no, not quite,” he said.

The conversation continued in a mathmetically-decreasing spiral until TW had confessed his age, resulting in my having a minor panic attack yards from a central London tube station.

But, Thai food and – I think – more red wine, and – definitely – takeaway pudding later and I’d got over the surprise and we giggling our way back to TW’s flat in the small hours in a repeat of my hussyishness on our first date the previous weekend.

The rest, to paraphrase the cliché, is the best relationship I’ve ever found myself in. If this is what dating younger men does for a woman, just call me Mrs. Robinson. 


Helen said...

I'm exactly the same. I'm in the best relationship I've ever had with a man who is 3.5 years younger than me. It's the way forward, I've discovered.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Nearly all my boyfriends have been younger than me. Despite these relationships not really exactly quite working out...I'd still opt for younger again.

Besides, my mate's dating a 32 year old and they go walking in the Cotswolds and stuff at the weekend. Aside from anything else, I'm just not ready for that sort of commitment yet.

Anonymous said...

Mrs Robinson, I beg to differ. As a man in his thirties now (but with a twenty-ish twinkle in his eye), I'd never date women older than myself after a number of, well, lets call them "bunny-boiler experiences"...

Is this just a case of the exuberant maxim: "you're only as old as the man you feel?"

I do however, wish your friend, the very best of luck in her choice of younger men. My advice - avoid the ones who "yoof speak", text without using any vowels. God help us. Looks and intellect if nothing else! ;)

PS - going walking in the Cotswolds is for your 60's, not your thirties.

nuttycow said...

Anonymous - I don't know, I'm in my 30s and I'd rather like to go for a walk in the Cotswolds. *sigh* I presume this is my problem.

I'm torn on younger men. They're pretty and enthusiastic and carefree. But sometimes you want something a little more serious.

Having said that, I met some older men over the weekend, and I immediately wondered what was wrong with them - how could men their age still be single?

I am Sean Fleming said...

I think if one happens to live in the Cotswolds, and has functioning legs, the matter of age is of secondary concern when it comes to the matter of walking in the Cotswolds. Personally, I'd rather crawl anywhere than do anything in the Cotswolds. But I suspect that's just me.

A friend of mine is married to a guy 15 years her junior and seems perfectly happy with the situation.

They don't live in the Cotswolds though.

Blonde said...

Helen: Hurrah for younger men.

PDEWYMO: Perhaps bizarrely, TW's far more grown-up than some of the older chaps I've dated. I think it's a state of mind, rather than state of age thing.

Anon: Txt spk prohibits a chap from getting a date at all, regardless of age.

NC: Hah - you're clearly feeling particularly hard to please today!

Sean: How can you not like the Cotswolds?! Gorgeous part of the world.

I am Sean Fleming said...

B: I've always found it a bit on the twee side, if I'm honest. :)

Foodycat said...

I've had a crush on a younger man this year. A lot younger. It was disgraceful. Fortunately my (older) husband prevented me from making a total fool of myself.

Ella Ivey said...

I can completely see where you're coming from. I have many friends who tend to go for the younger man. However, none of those relationships have ever lasted beyond a year.

LELUU said...

there are younger men everywhere. they look much better : ) said...

I went walking in the Cotswolds when I was 24. Just do what you like, whatever age you are, and all is good. *turns nobly towards the horizon in pursuit of sloes to turn into gin.

My boyfriend is a whopping four months younger than me and is very smug about the fact he gets to cling on to 29 for longer than I.

Anonymous said...

Blonde: Its all about being grown-up.
A man can be beyond his age or indeed act like a child. Some act like toddlers (Poor tortured souls). Still there are a few of us left who are grown-ups, yet possess the ability to have a lot of fun when and where appropriate.

Foodycat: Hilarious and good to hear you were kept on the straight and narrow.

Perhaps these year-long relationships never last and primarily because your subconscious labels them as nothing but utility! :)

thechickenshop said...

I find myself marrying a 25 year old. I am 28. I didn't think 25 year old 'boys' were interested in that kind of thing but my one very much is....just all depends on the person.

(I'm not saying I didn't have a freak out when I found out. I apparently put my head on his chest and squealed 'Why does this keep happening to me, you're SO YOUNG'. Something which I don't remember because we were both acting our ages - I was out of my face drunk and he was very sober)

ajdoesbest said...

Dating my first ever younger man after a five year relationship with a now 30 year old man-child, and loving every minute. I was terrified at first but he is in fact more mature (than even me at times), more attentive and a perfect fit. I broke my one major rule with him and don't regret it for a second. My only issue is being labelled a cougarette for which I can only thank Heat magazine.

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