Since my dating history only began after college, I never believed I had a specific physical type. I met a guy in high school that remained my boyfriend throughout most of college, which means my dating history didn’t start until I will well into my twenties. After a slew of brief flings and a first date that ended in a flat tire and me on my back, jacking up his Toyota Camry on the side of the highway in the pouring rain, I realized that perhaps I needed one — I just never expected my ‘type’ to include older men.
I already knew what I liked: A soft-spoken, chivalrous man who was socially conscious and knew how to fix things. Since most of the men I’ve dated briefly had described me as scary or pedantic, I had assumed that as my generation aged, potential mates would be flocking towards me. After two years of dating in New York City, I met mostly self-absorbed men on a quest for perfection and happiness that was unattainable. I’ve never sought out a man specifically because of our age difference. In fact, I can remember judging older men at punk shows, courting girls just out of high school and thinking that someone should put them behind bars.
The first older man I dated was, I’ll admit, absurdly older than me. Neither of us knew the others exact age before our first date and I’m sure we didn’t intend to stay involved for as long as we did. There was something incredibly attractive about someone who knew what they were doing in life, in bed, and could fix their own tire. Oddly enough, my parents weren’t super concerned that I was enthralled with a man 20 years my senior, they made senior citizen jokes and carried on with their lives. I continued my claim that I did NOT have a thing for older men throughout the time we dated and most people believed me.
It wasn’t until I dated someone shortly after, 15 years my senior, that people started to eye me sideways, suspicious of who I was and what my intentions were. After months of insisting we were just friends I had to admit I had developed a fiery lust for older men. “Our father is a good man!” she shouted, shaking her head vehemently, referencing the stereotype that women who date older men have daddy issue. Of course, it was statements like hers that gave me serious dating shame: I wanted to date men my age, but things kept clicking with older men. I finally had to embrace the fact that I was just not willing to wait around for men my age to notice me … and as the late and great Aaliyah once said, “Age ain’t nothing, but a number.”
Being twice my age is not a prerequisite to date me, but if you’re like me and you’ve ever dated someone significantly older than you, then you certainly get that these comments below are just plain tired.
1. “So, there’s how much of an age difference?”
They take one look at the person your with and one look at you, suddenly the wheels are turning fast in their mind and they need to make a quick calculation of the age difference. But unless you are serving me alcohol, I’m not sure what planet you live on where actually asking someone’s age is appropriate.
2. “Can he still get it up?”
Here’s how I answer this incredibly personal question: “He’s not 70 years old, he is perfectly healthy and capable of keeping an erection unlike many twentysomething men who can’t handle their liquor and refuse to give up when they are, sadly, done for the night.”
3. “How’s your relationship with your father?”
Sadly, most people who’ve asked me this question don’t believe me when I tell them that my dad was and is very present in my life in a very positive way. They want dirt that I just can’t give them.
4. “Does he make a lot of money?”
I have never dated a man that even owned his own house, let alone had millions of dollars stacked away in a Swiss bank account. Dating older isn’t (always) about dating richer.
5. “Aren’t things kind of … saggy at his age?”
If his body was saggy then that’s our business not yours. Not only has that not been the case in my experience, but I also find beauty is merely skin deep. Someday far, far away, I will begin to sag and I hope that people don’t ask me where my problem areas are.
6. “Why doesn’t he ever hang out with us?”
Of the older men I’ve dated, not one has ever willingly mingled with my twenty-something friends and even at 30, my friends and I haven’t classed up our parties. We are still drinking cheap liquor, making up interpretive dances, and talking all types of drunk nonsense. In any event, what some of my friends don’t realize is that it’s not just about age, it’s the fact that we live separate lives and that’s how I like it.