According to a story in today's Washington Post, women 50 and older almost always tell sites like eHarmony and Match.com that they're looking for a guy 2, 10 or 15 years younger. The ladies are online, and they're looking for love! Galen Buckwalter, chief scientist at eHarmony.com says, "Age, in and of itself, is not a factor in compatibility." And yet! It's perfectly normal and non-newsworthy that men date younger women all the damn time. But women looking for younger men online? Stop the presses! The fact is, older women should date younger men. Here's why:
1. They want to. "What do older women want? Younger men," begins the article. If a woman wants a man with more energy and less experience, why the hell shouldn't she try one?
2. "Older" doesn't mean what it used to. The article touches on the "new biology of aging," noting that when you calculate mortality risk, a 65-year-old woman is the biological equivalent of a 60-year-old man. Ladies with grown children are eating healthy and doing yoga, cardio striptease and Pilates (Looking at you, mom!). The character of the bitter widow or sad spinster hasn't been accurate since way before Mona was the one getting the most action on Who's The Boss?
3. Older dudes don't want women their own age anyway. According to the Post, 50 year-old men are looking for women six to 26 years younger. So a 50-year-old woman had better keep her options open... and "younger" is a pretty smart option. Otherwise how would anyone hook up?
4. To prove they can. It might not be politically correct to say so, but frankly, there's often a power in attracting someone younger than yourself. Historically, older women have been devalued and degraded. Women get the attention when they're hot young things, when they're mothers and when they're wise old "crones." The decades between child-bearing and sunset years? Overlooked. But these women are not dead! They should feel free to prove it to themselves and others.
5. Because we need a better word than "cougar." The image of a sleek predatory cat sort of captures a certain aspect of how some women might stalk and shred an unsuspecting gazelle of a man. But doesn't it conjure a certain single-minded desperation with a sexual focus? What about vivacious, smart, experienced, funny and super social ladies who just want to go on dates and see what happens? Are they cougars? Or are they more like butterflies, or owls, or, um, women? Can't we come up with something better? Maybe if legions of them start hitting the town with younger guys, we'll have to.
Older Woman, Younger Man: It's a Match Made in Cyberspace [Washington Post]