Monday, February 18, 2008

D'oh... Not!

Judith Warner is angry about older men who want to date younger hotter girls.

The suggestion from me that men like themselves might actually prefer to date contemporaries, women who’d lived, matured, grown wiser and more human with the experience of parenting, and, at the very least, could recall the 1980s, was met with nothing but outraged looks and half-chewed-donut silence.

“Why?” one of them finally said.

“Why,” the second one swallowed to spurt, “would you want all those complications?”

That is where the sputtering on my own part began. And this, perhaps, is the point where the raucous laughter on your part will begin, as you think of me there at the table, nattering on about “inherent value” and “friendship” and “being a human being.” Perhaps you’ve already laughed yourself into red-eyed delirium.

Or maybe you’re in the camp of my husband, Max, who ventured, “I don’t understand what you’re getting all worked up about,” when I took the topic up with him later that same day. He did not actually use the word “hysterical,” though I heard it anyway.

I had heard the phrase “burn your bra” thrown at me from the breakfast table as I made to leave it.

“No bras have ever been burned,” I threw back over my shoulder.

Which was so horribly, terribly, lame a thing to say.

Well yes. This was lame Judith.

Let me start from where I stand, which is at the bottom of the hill that you are standing at the top of. The first part is that most men who are in your age bracket don't have much of a chance with many of the women that they are dreaming about dating. But that chance isn't zero, and some men have really good chances.

One part is the very thing you are talking about: valuing a person, rather than looks or youth. It's a great deal more common for a woman to date older than for a man to date older. Maturity is a good thing in men. There's a big shortage of it in twenty something year old men. The other part is that older men come with more income and more status and more knowledge of the world. These are all attractive.

I'm also going to suggest something about the successful men around you, they are very good at getting the donut. I've seen this at work, there are some men who are very good at making sure they get more of the credit, more of the advancement and more of the rewards from any group activity. You like these kind of men Judith, because they value successful achieving women. That is until they have enough donuts that they don't need one. Somewhere in there they start staring around, and decide that sagging boobs aren't what they want. This isn't all men mind you, but it is the men who are used to deciding what they want, and taking it. If they weren't like this, you wouldn't have liked them.

The last thing is it isn't just that they want to dump their older spouse for a younger one, it is that the older spouse in their lives has already dumped them. At least in the ways that they think are important. All those "complications" are really demands on your time, and they leave you tired and emotionally drained. You come to the man in your life to recharge so you can give to all those other things. He comes to you drained from his high achieving.

While the evolutionary bio guys will go on about how it's all just about him wanting a new fertile vessel for his sperm, I'm going to say it isn't. I think that a lot of ev bio is older professor guy types sitting around trying to think of reasons why they should not feel bad about sleeping with their much younger students.

I'm watching this process in real life, and I see it a great deal in my second life: that is the accomplished donut hogging male and his relationship with his accomplished high achieving wife whose watching him trade her in for a younger next marriage. There are patterns.

One pattern is that those complications, as the men called them, aren't complications. Their umm... our lives. Which maybe why you are so hurt. But for the guy, those are things he has to manage, they are a cost on what he wants out of a relationship. So given a choice between two peopled, even if all other things are the same, he's going to choose the one without it. Now in a marriage, for a long time, the relationships that his wife is managing, are important to him, he needs them. but then he needs them less and less. And yet, the cost for those relationships gets to be more and more.

Which is sort of a bind isn't it? Because that's what we do, create relationships.

So look at it form the donut hog's point of view. He has soemthing, worldliness let's call it, that is more and more valuable to some, but not all, younger women. They have something which is more and more valuable to him, that is, not having all the effects of time, phyusical, emotional and otherwise. Surely he thinks, there's got to be a free half donut someplace he can take.

And often he's right. Not all guys are donut hogs, not all women are desirous of being their confection. But you'll find guys who like the extra donut... around women who are putting out donuts for them.

So where am I going with this. I get the boil over. We grade grub, we please, we play nice, we help others, we form relationships, we are supportive.

And we are told that well formed fat underneath smooth skin is more important.

But it is also the choices we make along the way. Over and over again we pick men who are good at gettign the extra donut. And then, when the donuts are gone, we wonder why they wander off.

Or rather they wander off from your table, and they start hanging around mine. This is where my view changes what I think. It isn't a negative for me that there are older men in my world. I've been attracted to people much older than myself. Yes they;'ve traded away some youth for other things, but those other things are nice qualities too. I also more than a little bit think, partially because I am tired of stories like yours of older women feeling the men in their lives slip through their grasp. I'm tired of the boomer women who have woken up, and realized that in a consumer society, they are just another product, and that they don't compete well against the other products.

It comes across as bitchy and jealous. One one hand to like men who are used to getting the products they want, and on the other hand bitching about not being the best product any more.

however, I resent the being treated as a better product. Maybe I am, right this instant. But that's not what I value about myself. I know what I get paid for on Second Life, and being a better product wins hands down over the things that I feel are more important. That's just the way it is in our world. In your world too. The world that you have a good deal more to say about than I do. You can sit there, with oyur nice job and position, and complain about men coming to younger women, but the reality is that that's what we have. Your world doesn't pay me for my writing, and it doesn't pay me much for my art. I think those things are more important. It won't pay me 35 USD an hour to talk about my ideas. But it will pay me that much to talk about a hot hard cock and how if he were only here I'd slip my thong to one side... umm...

I could go on, but won't.

So the view from down here on the bottom of this hill is this... your world doesn't pay for my mind. Instead, I have to work for others to even get a chance at being someone allowed to think for a living. You sit up there furious about how you want a better world, but really, you've fought hard to make sure we've had a worse one.

Because in that worse one you do better. And it really comes across as being as self centered as the men you complain about to say that you want the advantages that come to you for living in that worse world, without also having the disadvantages.

But that's you, and you should admit that. After all, given a choice between doing better in the conversation, and giving up a puff of fat and sugar held together with white starch... you put your claws around the sugar and fat. Whydo you crticize the men for wanting sweet cream on their tongues, white sheen before glistening before their eyes, and well formed round fat in their hands... it is what you valued more than intelligent conversation...


  1. neatly put.
    the defense system is to imitate men, equivocate abilities, and lose what is most ssential about being a woman, but every man wants an intelligent conversation, a brilliant show, and complete loss of being. Truly, there is no reconciliation, even though you have a hardy line, for to be amazing in either sector has little to being what the other wants, and more to be yourself and knowing what is brillianté.
    post note: An older man likes less the knowing of a woman, and more the unknowing....

  2. I was really torn when writing this entry. One on hand, I really agree with Judith Warner that there is a pressure to be... something... and then finding out that it was a sham.

    On the other hand, I resent the wave of boomers blaming those of us who are younger for the problems in their social lives. We didn't make this world, but instead are just trying to make our way in it, under the rules that they have set up.