Friday, August 18, 2006

Age differences

Abacus’ comment on my previous post raised a question I’ve been meaning to ask, actually. Is moderation putting you guys off commenting?

(Of course, if it is, I’ll never know, so this may be a moot point)

Because you've all stopped talking to me, and I have to wonder why. I don't want to discount the possibility that it's just because I've been terribly dull recently, but just in case it's the moderation, for the record: I will only edit or refuse a comment that reveals personal information about me and my loved ones, or which is clearly spam. In general, I love comments and I don’t want to discourage them. Disagreement and debate are heartily encouraged. I also like emails. And single malt whisky, should you have any of that lying around.

Okay, let’s talk about age gaps in dating. I’m having one of those days in which my reading and my emailing is throwing up the same themes over and over again, and this is one of them.

An old post of Aunt B.’s mentioned this formula:

If you take your age, divide it in half and add seven, that’s the youngest* age you can date without looking sleazy.

This would mean that I could date anyone 21 or over, and men 42 or younger can date me. Obviously the formula allows the age gap to widen as we grow older, which I think is part of its charm. It’s generally accepted that as we get older, age differences matter less. And hell, that seems like a good enough age range for me to work within, should I be looking to date.

When I was seventeen I dated a 24-year-old, which obviously falls outside the formula. I don’t know that he was someone I’d call sleazy, but he would arguably have had trouble impressing women his own age; he was unemployed, lived in a share house and dedicated most of his energies to obtaining and partaking of the best-quality marijuana he could find. Which pretty much sums up my life at seventeen, except that I wasn’t quite as dedicated to the quest for the perfect bud.

And that's the trouble, I think. If there's a significant age gap, shouldn't there also be a discrepancy in lifestyle and world view? And if there isn't, what does that say?

I don’t know that it’s sleazy, exactly, to date outside the formula. It does make me wonder about the personal power of the people involved. Age, especially for men, confers a certain status; youth is characterised by naivety. So if a man dates someone significantly younger than him, is it because that’s the only form of superior status available to him? If a woman chooses a younger man, is that because she seeks a level of unquestioning devotion that is unavailable to her from a man her own age?

Or is it simpler; choosing the nubile beauty of youth over the wisdom and wit of greater years?

I don’t know, and I realise I’m sounding terribly judgmental here. There are exceptions to every rule and nothing about human relationships can be boiled down to a formula. But I like this one for its simplicity. How about you?

*Not oldest. That would make no sense. Thanks for spotting that, Michelle.


Blogger abacus said...

moderation is a problem for those of us used to instant gratification. it may be that simple. though i can't help feeling a little sorry for those of us who seek gratification in this way...

and on a (further) personal note, calling all women out there in the 29 to 74 demographic.... hmmmm, surely that last bit can't be right? let me check my maths and get back to you.

18 August, 2006  
Anonymous michelle said...

If you take your age, divide it in half and add seven, that’s the oldest age you can date without looking sleazy.

OK - I read this a few times... Do you meant youngest?

Assuming that, then did I appear sleazy when I started dating Aden? ;)

I think it matters a lot more on the people involved :)

18 August, 2006  

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