By Tom Blake
In my previous column, my buddy Jim and I provided our opinions on five items that we felt could derail a man and woman from having a first date. These topics were distance, availability, age difference, chemistry (physical attraction) and who pays for the date.
Reader responses to four of the topics were mellow. However, one topic was hotter than the Fourth of July: The age difference between men and women. Here is what nine readers emailed:
Nikol: “To me, the best situation is when the man and woman are close in age. Why should only men want to have younger partners? These days, women want younger men, as well. I know a few couples with an age difference of 10 years and more where the women are older, and they have perfect marriages.”
Catherine: “I agreed with you and Jim on four points but not on your age-difference comments. You guys said you’d consider dating women 15 years younger.
“Are you serious? I think even 10 years is too much at your respective ages. I was STUNNED that you think you are entitled to attract women 15 years younger! Society is sick to have the sentiment that it’s fine for a much older man to have a much younger woman. If the situation is reversed, the woman is called horrible names like a ‘cougar’ or worse.”
Tom’s response: Women who date younger men may be referred to as cougars in some circles. I’ve never referred to women as cougars in my newspaper articles. And I never will.
Two months ago, I met a woman in her late 60s who called older men who sought younger women “Horn Dogs.” And when she was really riled, she called them “Man Whores.” I’m not sure in which category she placed me.
Gloria said, “I don’t want someone 10 years older or younger. Someone around my age with a five or six-year difference is OK.”
Barb: “Age is only a number. It’s not a good idea to eliminate anyone because of age.”
Francine: “I am a very active 76. I never think of my age, because I date men as much as 16 years younger. I have a difficult time dating a man my age or older. I have no difficulty attracting men of all ages.”
Cheryl: “In my work as a physical therapist assistant, I’ve encountered people who were ‘old’ physically and mentally in their 50s and people who were ‘young’ in their 70s and 80s.
“I think it’s important to have some concept of an age range that would be desirable.”
John: “Men of all ages are attracted to younger women and women to older men. It’s hard-wired in our brains.”
Noelle said, “Tip from a wise old soul. I have always dated younger men, because they are the ones who attracted me. My last relationship had an age gap with him being 10 years younger.
“I’m in a long-term relationship with a man who pursued me who is 74. I am 87. We have a very special and loving relationship that we both cherish and plan for it to last the rest of our lives. (Chronological) age is meaningless.”
Dee said, “Why do you think you need to look for someone between ages 70 and 79? How would you feel if a woman the same age as you said the same thing to you?
“Please remember how sensitive it is for women who have been left by their longtime mates for somebody younger.”
Dee didn’t tell me her age.
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: email@example.com.