One thing I know for sure is that I am not going to join the ranks of women that date younger men. The term that has been banded around for some time is ‘cougar’. It’s one of those words coined in the same vein as ‘Metrosexual’ and ‘Brangelina’. It implies there is something predatory about a woman who dates a younger man, which ignores the fact women are capable of hunting for older men, our prey is supposed to be passive and helpless, not distinguished men of the world. It is incomprehensible to me that Harry Styles should top the list of eligible bachelors, for a start, you can see his boxers under his skinny jeans.
I inadvertently found myself on date with a younger man last week, How can that happen you may wonder? Well firstly, I didn’t know his age, he skirted the question at the time. I had guessed he was younger than me due to the number of clichéd phrases about the interests he wanted to take up. It is admirable to want to learn more, but there are certain interests, like politics and philosophy that soon wane once reality takes hold. Whilst both are immensely useful and of course central to society, they are incredibly dull. I attended a few lectures in philosophy once and I left in the interval to complete professional development paperwork instead.
Those that are the most vocal about learning either one of these has got to be young and a little foolish. I experienced this before when I briefly dated a slightly younger Russian man whilst I lived in Moscow. He was completely cast against my usually type, he was a snowboarder and had long hair. I ended the liaison shortly after he showed me his army training video which was set to Status Quo’s ‘We’re in the Army Now’.
Secondly, I fell into the trap that actually a woman my age should already be aware of. I didn’t think I was invited out on a date, I was at a social event and the idea was to connect and make new friends. It would be easy to argue that I am certainly the more naive of the two parties. Especially since I accepted an invite to a restaurant with the sole agenda of generating new friendships. Finally he told me his age, and confessed he had not mentioned it because he thought I wouldn’t be interested, which again is rather smart because I probably would have dismissed him swiftly. As far as intelligence is concerned, age is really nothing but a number and I have met fools twice his age. However, it was clear there is no substitution for experience. During conversation some issues become obvious, this said more about me than him, after all he could not help but be twenty-four.
I learned that I am actually a very selfish person, I like to be educated and not the educator. I want to gleam as much information as possible from a man I am dating. This statement is very anti-feminist, I want a man to be more experienced and knowledgeable than me. This might be asking too much given my veracious appetite, nevertheless, I want to see a little hard work etched on a man’s face, it inspires confidence. I also want to cute, and dainty and it’s really hard to pull that off when you know more than the other party. At the end of the night, I had recommended several books and films. I am not altogether that smart, but it felt like I had set him some homework. It was rather sweet that he mentioned he had started to read ‘Twelve Night’ which he had failed to finish reading at school………..
Secondly, I could not escape the fact that I felt old, (I was only thirty-two at the time!) because he didn’t know a number of the cultural references I touched on. Simply mentioning that I have had the same (personal) mobile number for fifteen years is just over half of his life span. At some point, clichéd sentences of my own had to come out, “Oh, you’re too young to know about that”! Once he mentioned he was twenty-four, it was unavoidable that I was going to tally his age against that of my brothers. Again, what is the significance of that? Having helped my parents to raise both of my brothers, I fed them, put them to sleep, taught them to count and changed their nappies. In fact, it is still the one line that crushes my youngest brother into immediate embarrassment when I meet his new girlfriends. And last of all, I dislike the fact that I will have to figure out how to tell him that we are not compatible. It’s personal to be rejected at any age, but perhaps it is even more personal if the reason is your age. The line “let’s be friends” is actually all I intended, but the bitter lines of ‘Jenny don’t be Hasty’ are currently echoing around my head.