In love, as with fine wine and cheese, age should enhance, not overwhelm…

For me, dating a younger man is a lot like farting in public; there’s nothing unnatural about it, but I still think people are looking at me with that stank look of judgement.

Since beginning my 20-something holding pattern, I have noticed that the men I am attracted to and who seem to be attracted to me are younger… much younger. And though I have never been completely comfortable with my body, being with a man in his early 20s, with his speedy metabolism and inexhaustible libido, makes me all the more aware that I am not in my early 20s. There is nothing quite like having a man dig your tits out of your armpits to drive that point home!

The thing is, I don’t look my age. Most people think I am about 5-10 years younger, and are shocked to find out how old I actually am. One friend of a man-child I dated actually said to me, “I don’t know what you’re doing with him; at your age you should be married with children. Whatever’s wrong with you, he’s not going to fix it.” Oh, honey, yes he is! And he did. And it was fantastic! Any more questions?

My potential child-grooms may seem to hold the promise of weeks of amazing and incessant XBox tournaments, romantic nights of pizza and boxed wine and, yes, staying up until the wee hours of the morning listening to music that contains nothing but bass. But there is a downside to dating younger men that Stella didn’t tell because she was too busy getting her groove back: Even though we may care for each other, it is best not to try to make a relationship out of this affair. A relationship requires the sharing of each other’s personal interests, anecdotes and experiences. How does one do that when he’s never accidentally melted a record? When he’s never had to go to the library to research a term paper? Never had to wait 45 minutes for his Kraft dinner? When he refers to Depeche Mode as “oldies” music? IT’S 80s MUSIC – IT’S RETRO AT ITS BEST!!! You pretty, pretty thing – let’s have sex before I never speak to you again.

So I’ve devised a list of criteria for the future to avoid such pitfalls as outing my age, or wishing they would just shut up and look pretty. I shall not date anyone:

1) whose age and my curfew were EVER the same at the same time.
2) who doesn’t know what the USSR was.
3) who never had to walk around with a bag full of cassettes.
4) who doesn’t know who Ferris Bueller is.
5) who was not frightened by the puppets in Genesis’ “Land of Confusion” video.

That’s not to say that May-December romances do not work. On the contrary, many, many May-December romances have worked beautifully: From the classic Bogie & Bacall, married 34 years with a 26 year age difference, to a modern Demi and Ashton (8 years together and Demi is 15 years older), to the controversial Woody and Soon-Yi (19 years, Woody is 35 years older), to the historical Michaelangelo and Tommaso dei Cavellari who, though Michaelangelo was 34 years older, spent 32 years together. On the other hand, Rudolph Valentino was two years younger than Jean Acker, and that marriage only lasted 6 hours. So, apparently, the secret is a one-decade minimum age difference.

I suppose the true secret is to find someone, regardless of their age, with whom you share common interests, someone you can laugh with, and who thinks you are awesome. And when you find that person, don’t tell them how old you are.

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