Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Wonders of an Older Woman

I’ve about had it with the myth that older women are all of the following: Serene. Patient. Wise. Understanding. Mature.

What a lot of hooey.

I came across that Older-Woman-as-Super-Earth-Mother myth again recently on a Web site called “Third Age,” which markets products and advice to middle-aged men and women.

It came up in an advice column in which a 49-year-old woman asked if she should marry a 33-year-old guy. Here’s what the columnist told her about men:

Some men, like Peter Pan, never grow up. In life they look for a woman who will be both mother and wife so they never have to be a responsible adult. Other men know their own mind, appreciate the maturity of an older woman and make great husbands.

I’ll let the younger men with older women speak on that topic. Meanwhile, here’s what he said about older women:

The Wonders of an Older Woman
Some men who are comfortable with older women appreciate how understanding and tolerant they are. Older women often really understand and like men, creating a very pleasant experience for a man. Then too, some men like to be taken care of rather than do some of the difficult work of growing up and caring for others, like children or women their own age. An older woman usually knows how life works, how to keep a house, and is more forgiving of a young man's behavior or lack of ambition or diligence.

Tolerant? Ask Michael how tolerant I am, and he’ll tell you I don’t suffer fools gladly.

Understanding? I can’t claim to understand men any better now than I did 25 years ago when I was making bad choices about men. I chose better 18 years ago, but that was partly because I understood myself better.

Forgiving of a young man’s behavior? Frankly, when I was 43 and Michael was 26, I had a hard time with some of my young man’s behavior. Once, running in to him on the way to work when we were first dating, I was appalled that he was wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt he got at a Grateful Dead concert. I told him so. He has since forgiven me.

Mature? For the first 10 years of our marriage, even though I complained he didn’t do enough in the kitchen, I didn’t really want him in “my” kitchen. He’s been the mature one, waiting me out and showing me just how smart a chef he is.

We are women with younger men. That doesn’t make us saints. Give us a break.

1 comment:

  1. So here's a comment from a younger man:
    Why does this "family therapist" divide younger men in relationships with older women into two categories? Why must be they be Peter Pans or "mature" enough to "know their mind" and thus make for fine husbands.

    And this comes from someone people pay to give advice? To quote an old mentor of mine, "It's worse out there than I thought." Goofiness.

    In truth, we're complicated, too. A man with a woman his own age might be a Peter Pan type, too. An older man might marry a younger woman wanting her to mother him. Age has nothing to do with it.

    Here's my FREE advice to the older woman wondering about a younger man: that he's younger means nothing more and nothing less than whether he's of a different religion than you, whether he is from the Midwest while you hail from California, whether he drinks beer and you prefer wine, whether he likes cats and you are a dog person. Engage and learn. Likely, you'll face issues different from those faced by couples of like age, but if you love each other you'll figure it out.