I wouldn’t change a thing

DD had a few issues with yesterday’s blog post about Anthony LaPaglia marrying a woman 30 years younger than him.

He felt I was too one sided and didn’t acknowledge that the young women who marry the oldet men are complicit.

“It’s not just the MEN,” he wrote as we waged a bit of text war. “The women are happy to partner with men as old as their fathers.”

Yeah, but that’s not what I had the bee in my bonnet about. Housegoeshome is about the bees in my bonnet.

I mean, I agreed with him: what’s with young women dating men as old as their fathers or grandfathers?

As DD said: “Why marry someone who is going to be in a wheelchair before you hit 40?”

But the young women weren’t my focus – I was more interested in why the blokes were doing it. However, DD’s agitation got me thinking. And the thinking lead me to one of my all-time most popular blog posts – “50-year-old Men Are Really Hot”.

It’s a pity the blog post is so popular because it was written way back in 2012 and it’s not very good.

It starts out by saying: “I’ve got this thing for older men. It’s weird, because I wasn’t previously wired this way. I’ve always drooled over the pretty boys. But I’m finding 50-year-old men increasingly attractive. And the Zac Efrons of this world are leaving me cold.”

I was 44 at the time, so fancying a 50-year-old wasn’t that icky. But the thought of shagging one in my 20s? Ewwwwwwww. No thanks.

At the other end of the spectrum, I noted: “One day you realise you regard 25-year-olds as ‘children’ rather than objects of lust.”

I suppose that’s why I was so non-plussed by DD’s two-sides-to-it angle on huge-age-gap relationships – I simply can’t imagine being involved in one.

My 2012 blog post confessed: “It’s not just celebrities with their Botox, surgical tweaks, pancaked faces and Vaselined lenses that get me going. I see tons of normal half-century blokes and think, “you know, if I wasn’t married and you weren’t married, I’d quite fancy you …”

DD turns 55 in a few weeks and I think he’s the sexiest thing on two legs, grey hair, laughter lines and all. I love the whole package and I wouldn’t change a thing. We are who we’re meant to be as a couple, right now, as we are.

Well, I wouldn’t mind him being on time now and then …

Kerri Sackville wrote an article for Fairfax Media earlier this year called “Is this the real reason older men date younger women?”

She refers to a theory by Stacy London, an American stylist and host of What Not to Wear, that women have internalised the male gaze.

Kerri writes: “For a man, an older partner is a constant reminder of his own age. He cannot pretend he’s still thirty when he’s waking up next to a fifty-year-old woman. A younger partner is life-affirming. She helps to stave off his own fear of aging and mortality. If a man can wake up next to a woman a decade or two younger, he can convince himself that he is still young.

“[Women] don’t see ourselves reflected in our partner, per se; we see ourselves reflected in our partner’s eyes. If our partner sees us as young and hot, we see ourselves as young and hot. If he sees us as aging and undesirable, we internalise that, too. A man is only as young as the woman he feels, but a woman is only as young as a man sees her to be.”

I hear what Kerri is saying, but it bothers me that we are categorising “men” as a species with common – and usually negative – traits, rather than treating them as individuals.

It’s ironic at a time when diversity and inclusion are such buzz words and women are – quite rightly – angry that we’re still talking about closing the gender gap, but not doing enough to shift the dial.

Jeanne Johns, the chief executive of explosives group Incitec Pivot, was part of a roundtable discussion in Sydney last week, timed to coincide with the release of a report by Chief Executive Women and Male Champions of Change called “Backlash and Buy-In: Responding to the challenges of achieving equality”.

Johns said the single biggest problem about being a senior woman in management was that when you walked into a room you were seen as a woman and not an individual. “There’s a privilege with being seen as an individual, that women are not often afforded,” she said.

Yes, but treating men the same way isn’t the answer – it’s important that we see everyone as individuals.

In the realm of romance, for example, for every middle-aged man who’s obsessed with dating 25-year-olds there’s another who adores women with a bit – or a lot – of life experience.

I also think real love is oblivious to age, whatever your gender. The more you focus on getting to know someone, the more attractive they become. You stop seeing the wrinkles, you see them. Their joy, their spark, their smile.

The way someone makes you feel becomes far more important, don’t you think?

Damn, I think I’ve gone and ruined my own May-December relationship argument …

Song of the day: Kylie Minogue “I wouldn’t change a thing”

 

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