Over on Salon, Carol Lloyd is pondering the pairing of women with older men, specifically, a recent study in Sweden which found that when women are 4 to 6 years younger than their male partners, they give birth to more kids. Martin Fieder, an anthropologist at the University of Vienna, speculates that men evolved a preference for younger women because those women have a longer fertility span. Meanwhile, women might give birth to more children when they choose older partners because those guys are more likely to have greater financial resources. But, says Lloyd: "I've always cast a jaundiced eye on our cultural assumptions that men should be older (not to mention taller) than their wives. It seemed just another manifestation of the gender imbalances that coursed through our workplaces, government and educational system. Of course, when in love, all bets are off." (Lloyd married a man 11 years older.)
Biology and social constructs might explain being attracted to older men, but what explains liking younger guys?
Don't call Dateline NBC. I'm no Mary-Kay LeTourneau. But younger guys get me hot and bothered. Often they have better style, more enthusiasm, a joie de vivre and a straight-up cuteness that can't be denied. Which is not to say that older men don't have appeal. But younger guys just seem so fun. This predilection was definitely exacerbated by working at a teen magazine, where the actors, singers and boys in bands I interviewed were creative, funny, heartthrob-types whose ages hovered around the upper teens and early twenties. A few years ago I dated a guy who was five years younger and he thought I was so smart, so well-traveled, so accomplished, so together. It was an ego boost! (Then I realized he was an unemployed homeless couchsurfer and therefore easily impressed. But he was hot!) And I know I'm not alone. Our own Tracie "Slut Machine" Egan says, "I've always liked guys in their early 20s. When I was in high school I liked guys that age, and I still do. But now it's more about the fact that they can reboot quickly and they like to have morning sex." So while some ladies swoon over George Clooney, Tracie and I will be ogling young'uns like Shia, Emile, Michael, Channing, TI and Bow Wow. Is that so wrong?