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I was married once before, to a man five years my senior.After 12 increasingly dreary years capped by a wrenching divorce, I couldn't imagine why women in my situation (childless divorcées) complained about the prospect of reentering single life. Wasn't finally having some laughs, romance, and excitement the way to take the "crisis" out of "midlife"?
As much as we're loath to admit it, we base most of our expectations about a relationship on the one we observed, for better or worse, growing up at home.This rush to the altar in the under-30 set has been denigrated (mostly by the over-30 set) as a spate of "starter marriages." Ultimately, I think the divorce rate will probably be the same as the break-up rate of the "just living together" generation, but I must say that it's infinitely more pleasant to listen to men who don't consider commitment to be a dirty word.As creepy as the done-it-all, Warren Beatty type of older man is the one who hasn't done anything.A man who came of age in the 1960s, before the women's movement exploded, when his (more likely than not) stay-at-home mom did the cooking and cleaning, might have to work hard at accepting the fact that his life won't be just like his dad's.A man who came of age in the 1970s or '80s doesn't think twice about being married to a woman with her own career, or splitting the household chores with her.Maybe women feel that because girls have a head start on maturity back in the seventh grade, our emotional and spiritual equals must forever be at least five years older than we are.
Whatever part of the conventional wisdom they buy into, American women find it easy to summarily reject younger men. They could be denying themselves the most wonderful relationship of their lives."This is nothing compared to the long lines during the oil crisis," I say to my husband, Bronson, as he pulls into a particularly crowded Mobil station near the Holland Tunnel. Or could it be caused by something as shallow and immediate as a woman's not wanting anyone to think her date is her younger brother or, God help us, her son? People were siphoning fuel from their neighbors' cars in the dead of night! She's older than he is, you know." Does our culture's collective discomfort with a reversal of the usual younger woman–older man dynamic come, as scientists suggest, from a deep-rooted evolutionary instinct that drives women to choose the wiser, older, more powerful alpha male over the untested young buck?Staying over at a younger man's place may mean a breakfast of cold pizza and Mountain Dew, but at least you won't be offered Mylanta and Metamucil with your OJ.The reason for this is that he's Scarily Healthy.This is the guy who's missed so much in his years on the planet that being with him makes you feel embalmed.