Braving "robbing the cradle" jokes, almost one third of women between the ages of 40 and 69 are dating men 10 or more years younger. According to a recent AARP poll, one-sixth of women in their 50s, in fact, prefer men in their 40s.
- I want to thank you for this opportunity to talk to you about your relationship.
- May I ask your age?
"I don't do age."
- OK. Just how young is the man in your life?
"About my son's age."
- That would put him...
"...in his twenties. But they've been in their thirties and forties."
- So you've gone out with younger men before.
"I've tried to go out with men my own age or older since my husband died, but it hasn't worked out."
- They were not in good shape?
"On the contrary. They were very cute."
- It's something else then.
"It's something else."
- Can you give me a hint?
"Older men don't like to do it standing up."
"No, silly. Eating.
"Older men want to do it sitting down. They want their dinner on the table at six o'clock. They want their lunch on the table at noon. They want their breakfast on the table at seven. That's not a relationship. That's slavery."
- Younger men don't like to eat sitting down?
"Not the ones I've known. Too busy. Too much in a hurry. Off to jog, off to work, off to the movies. I haven't cooked in a year."
- And you don't miss it?
"If I want to cook, I can. I've got old friends. I can invite them over for a veal roast, curried chicken, or whatever. I can cook for myself."
- But isn't it romantic to be sitting at an intimate, candlelit table for two together with the man you love?
"That's what restaurants are for."
- I see.
"When I'd complain to an older beau that we never go out for dinner, he'd say, 'What do you mean? We went out just the other month. ' If my young friend has to sit down for a home cooked meal he thinks it's Thanksgiving or Christmas."
- There must be other reasons why you prefer younger men. I suppose they make you feel younger and give you a new lease on life, so to speak.
"They don't require so much mending."
"Sewing. Buttons, split seams, tears in their trousers. They just keep wearing their beat-up clothes until they're sick of them, then toss the things out and buy something new."
- And older men...
"...never throw their old clothes away."
- Is there a down side to going out with a younger man?
"There have been awkward moments. Once we were talking about history and this young friend of mine though the Battle of the Bulge was something that happened to people over forty who didn't believe in aerobics. As for me, I didn't know whether a vegan was something you wore, sat on, or drove."
- Do you ever get jealous?
"How do you mean?"
- Well, the men you've known are quite a bit younger than you are.
"I do have a couple of old girl friends who hang around."
- I mean younger women. Have you been jealous of any of them?
"It's the most natural thing in the world for a young man to want a young woman . How can I be jealous of that?"
- So you've lost some younger men?
"And some have lost me."
- What is it that younger men get from older women?
"I can only speak for myself."
- Of course.
"I know how to dance to slow music. I put my lipstick away and I wipe the sink."
- There are three million women in America married to men ten or more years younger. Do you ever think you'll settle down with a younger man?
"Marriage is something else."
- I take it, then, that you do not wish to remarry.
"I didn't say that."
- Excuse me, but is it that you would prefer someone more a contemporary?
"Well, you share William Holden, Audrey Hepburn, Rock Hudson and Doris Day with a man your own age. There's something indefinably comforting coming out of similar experiences and longings. You know where you've been and where you still have to go."
"I just wish those old guys would lighten up a bit."
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