Age Differences

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Fri Jul 7 08:22:34 EDT 2000

Following my posts last night I have received nothing from the list, so I have
been reading all your wonderful stories from the archive.  (Could someone check
to see why this is happening, please - it happened at the weekend, and I got
nothing between Saturday and Wednesday; it then started again without warning,
but I had to read the intervening messages on the archive)

Anyway, Mary Ann wrote:

> I am married to a most delightful young man ten years my junior, by the way.
> (Philip or Whoever, let me know if you want to hear about How.) I am also
> acquainted with a married couple of whom the woman is about my age (40) and
> her husband 14 years younger, and another couple in which the woman is eight
> years the man's senior. All three partnerships are exceedingly successful,
> to the best of my knowledge.

Yes please.

It seems to be more common than I thought.  But why do so few examples occur in
romantic fiction?  (Not that I read a lot of it, but...)  One would think that
this would provide plenty of opportunities for interesting twists...

Tanaqui wrote:

> Me too. After all, it is an often-cited factoid that men tend to experience
> their sexual prime in late teens, while women experience theirs around thirty.

> Women reach cognitive milestones earlier, so I can see that in school girls
> might want to date older, more sophisticated guys, but the chaps do catch
> up. I suppose one ought to draw up a chart of optimal dating ages, with big
> red zones for men in their thirties - DANGER ZONE - here you might feel a
> desire for a sportier car, a trophy chick, and some physical fix-ups. After
> a certain point, the reproductive fitness of women declines (more chromosomal
> abnormalities in the eggs &c), although that point is moving toward the
> Men seem to be able to produce perfectly utile sperm in their nineties and I
> can't believe that the most hormone-treated fertility-drug-laden woman who
> froze embryos for later use in her twenties could reproduce then. (The Undying
> are not under consideration in this matter)

I must admit that I had always assumed that it was a cultural throwback to a
time when marriages were meant to produce lots of offspring in the hope that a
few would survive to maturity.  Another factoid (I like that word) often cited
is that men are attracted to women who look young because this makes the man
want to take care of the woman.  I don't know whether this is particularly true.
Tepper (to draw in another thread) would probably disagree, since she seems to
think that all men who bother to enter long-term relationships are actually
looking for substitute mothers (I think that was in Plague of Angels, FWIW.
Excellent book, but a bit pessimistic for me)

Georgette Heyer seems to subscribe to a stereotype of boys in their teens and
early twenties falling for much older women, but eventually forming a stable
relationship with a much younger one.  I seem to be different - in my teens and
twenties I was almost invariably attracted to girls several years my junior, and
it is only now that I am finding myself drawn to an older woman.

BTW, I am 33 - is this right in the middle of the danger zone?  Would you
recommend a woman to refuse to have anything to do with me?


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