Friday, January 13, 2006

Older Men Overlooked?

I just got an email from a reader of mine, reproduced here for your comments and feedback:
You and other thirtysomething women are overlooking a large pool of great Jewish guys--often quite handsome and very wealthy--in addition to other good qualities. Guys who were handsome enough that women were falling all over them and, so, they were not interested in marriage until recently. But they're not afraid of commitment now. And they want wives and kids. I'm talking about men fifteen, twenty, years older than you. Too old? Even taking into account the fitness and life expectancies of these athletic guys? Your choice. But they're out there. I used to be a single guy in my fifties. I looked like I was in my forties and women in their thirties were eager to date me. But once they discovered my age I was history. On jdate, my listed age made me "toast" from the get-go. More than once I was told, "women in their thirties don't want to date guys over fifty." Well, one woman in her thirties did. That's my wife. Also now a mom of two. With a guy who was single too long and really appreciates family life in a way that many younger guys do not. Those women in their thirties who don't consider guys over fifty? I know many of them are still looking. "A word to the wise is sufficient."
Speaking as one single woman, I never pictured myself with someone that much older. I always remember that scene in When Harry Met Sally when Harry talks about his relationship with the much younger Emily: "I asked her where she was when Kennedy was shot, and she said 'Ted Kennedy was shot?'" The point is that there's sometimes a cultural gap between people of different ages; and in the case of a 15-20 year age difference, it's different generations, different experiences, which don't always mean incompatibility, but which can pose a significant challenge for communication and interpersonal relating. So, when women in their thirties decide that they arbitrarily cut off the dating range at a certain age, are we being age-ist or closed-minded?


Jennifer said...

I'm with you, Esther. What on earth would I have in common with someone 20 years older than me? Probably not much. Different generations, different ways of thinking. And he'd definitely have different expectations of What A Wife Does than I would want to fulfill, to boot. I don't think that's ageist.

And okay, so I'm not quite in my thirties yet, but the guys 20 years older than me that wanted to date me so far? Frightening skeezebuckets. (Not saying your e-mailer is one, mind you.) I definitely felt like they were dating me for the hot young flesh more than my personality.

Anonymous said...

If you have compatible personalities, age doesn't matter. But what does matter is that a guy is actively looking for a woman 20 years younger. This kind of guy is hardly interested in personality, as Jennifer correctly noted.

I had a guy write to me "my comfort zone is with a woman 15 to 20 years younger that I am." I suppose that is like me writing "my comfort zone is with a man 15 to 20 times richer than I am."

Also, a man in his 50s who is still single is hardly screaming "marriage material." Maybe your letter-writer is the exception. Or maybe he is as conflicted as the rest of his ilk. It's nice that he found someone. But it's weird that he is saying how great it is she is so much younger, instead of saying how he wishes they were closer in age. They are in different life stages, she will be a young widow, etc. Two words here: Anna Nicole.

Being a couple despite a huge age difference is way better than being a couple because of one.

VJ said...

This question has also perplexed for for awhile. I know lots of these guys. If you wait around long enough, so will you. Some of them are just simply fantastic catches who were all too busy with their careers to have a family, or screwed up the first one with work demands. I call them the '2nd chance daddies' or '2nd career husbands'. Truth be told, despite everything these guys have plenty going for them.

1.) They are often financially secure in ways that a 20 or 30 year old can only dream about.

2.) They are often eons more emotionally mature than even the most 'highly developed' man you'll find in his late 20's early 30's.

3.) They've been running successful business for the last decade or so, so they have plenty of real contacts that could prove useful to you and your business ventures.

4.) They're very ready to have families now. They know what they want, and are willing to compromise to see that everyone 'wins' in the relationship.

5.) Kindness, consideration and remembering special dates are not all that foreign to them.

6.) They just know more. More about local government and how to start that business you always thought of opening. They know more about the world and the way it really works, not the way we wished it worked. They can keep the family out of 'legal entanglements'. Little Josh's pot bust need not get him kicked out of his Ivy League college, nor sis's ugly divorce take her kids away from her. Good lawyering and access to same often comes with age. And needless to say, this can and often does save plenty of family dramas and pain.

I could go on, but suffice it to say I think these guys (and gals) are some of the most unheralded brilliant natural & human resources we've got left. Of course many of these guys also just outsource for the position too, after years of painful searching. Look around you. See all those balding guys with those slightly exotic looking much younger women? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. No, not necessarily the whole 'mail order/net bride' deal & BS. I can't tell you the number of guys I know who met their future wives in college classes they may have taught, or from adult ed classes that they took out of sheer boredom. They sometimes meet up with interesting foreign gals who don't mind someone older showing them some attention.

Yeah, the 'skeezebuckets' are there too, but plenty of them also get married to these slightly worn gents. They have families and remain married & happy. It's some consolation for years of rejection from the usual crowd of <35's and 50>'s. If you want to start a family, most men naturally look to women who might want this also.

Truth be told there often is a big cultural gap between this generation and the next. That's why it's often just easier for some of these guys to relate to someone who did not grow up immersed in American popular culture. You don't have to know what the most popular song was when they were 17, or who was hot on TV during that 6mo. period when they were first dating their first love. For most of these marriages there's simply more important things to consider than just pop cultural references in common. If they want to know about the Kennedy's, they can look it up in about a minute, right? And yeah, BTW: JFK was killed over 40 years ago. The median age in the US is under 38. Most people have no direct memory of this. It would be like asking someone born in the early 1960's, 'Do you remember WW1?'

So I'll make a pitch for these guys & gals. Many of them are undiscovered treasures. Most of them will not be in the shape that the correspondent claims he's in, but many of them are not any longer subject to the idiocies and misfortunes of youth either. And friends, they're going fast too! Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ', ga.

Sarah said...

Far be it from me to suggest that someone cannot be a great catch just because he is in his 50's. However, there are a few more points to be made here:

a) what of the men in their 50's who will not go out with women in their 40's? What happened to "age makes no difference" there? Isn't it much more realistic as well?

b)what of all the men in their 20's and 30's and 40's and 50's who will not even consider a woman who is even just a few years older than he is -- that is, still in the same generation, with the same cultural knowledge?

c) to all the men who say that a 15 or 20 year age difference makes no difference, I wonder: would you date a woman who is 15 to 20 years older than you are?

For me the big frustration is men just 2 or 3 years younger than I am who would never consider it, because they are too busy looking for women in their 20's . . . and unfortunately, when we're all in our 50's, those are the same guys who will then be looking for a woman in her 30's . . . not that I'm bitter or anything.

elf said...

You all make valid points. However, I think this man's comments also reflect one of the problems with online dating. (Not that I would discourage online dating -- it has many merits as well.) When you're sifting through profiles rather than meeting people in a more natural, real-life setting, you inevitably end up making choices based on criteria such as age. This is perfectly reasonable, since age differences often do lead to incompatablity, and you can't very well consider everyone on JDate. But then, you never know when there will be an exception whom you've eliminated from consideration based on something superficial like age or weight.

Samuel J. Scott said...

Any guy who has never been married and is in his 40s or later is most likely a horrible catch.

Frankly, he's either too picky; he's always looking for some sweet, young thing; he's too socially maladjusted to have ever attracted a woman; or he cares too much about his work. Regarding the last reason: Any guy who truly wants to make family a priority would have made time to do so when he was in his 20s or 30s.

Run away from these men. (And I speak as a twentysometing single guy.) Their only attractive quality is that, yes, they have more money. But a woman would only be seen as the stereotypical, gold-digging, JAP if she dated or married such a man. Do you want that reputation?

Lyss said...

Older men (people?)...a touchy topic...

Sometimes a man has been busy with his career. But what about the older men who are divorced and seem to be seeking 'trophy' wives... Are they any better or worse people because they are clear that their own vanity is a large priority?

I do think that Anon. is onto something saying that her comfort zone is 'a man 15 to 20 times richer than I am'..why isn't it OK to say that?
I have friends (male and female) who are up to 20 years older, some of them very hip (or is it just that i work in TV and we're mostly immature?... I digress...

Here's a point not just about older men and younger women, but about waiting until you're an old man to have kids- it virtually guaruntees you'll be dead by the time they're in h.s. or college. That's not fair to them or the widow you'll leave behind. (My dad died when I was 22. He and my mom did not have any signif age difference, but I miss him a lot and feel terrible for the children of elderly dads who barely get to have tehm around).

Anonymous said...

I second the person who said that when men say age isn't an issue, they are really talking about women who are younger than them.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule. But I think that more men in their 50's should consider other woman in their 50's. I think more of them gravitate towards the younger crowd because it makes *them* feel younger.

As a thirty year old woman, I know that I am vastly different from who I was at 21. So why are 30-year old males listing on jdate that they would date a 21 year old? Oh, men, please, you don't want us at 21. We are going to grow so much in the next decade, and probably surpass you by the time you are 40. Then when WE turn 30, we'll wonder why we made the decision to be with you at all.

Goodness, I sound harsh. But I'm generalizing. I just don't sympathize with a 50 year old man who wishes more 30 year old women would give him a chance. If I would have that much in common with a 50-year old, then that's probably a sign to me that I shouldn't date him.

VJ said...

Not to stir up too much trouble, but there's a similar topic thread over at Moxie 'Wake up call': [] where I've posted some short additional thoughts on the issue: []

I'm also gratified that the conversation & posts here were quite a bit more civil too. I think it must be the traffic, right?
Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ', ga.

Anonymous said...

WWT is completely on target. When you encounter an unmarried man over 40 -- run like the wind. Even if these guys initially seem normal, they are not. A divorced guy of this age is a much better bet -- he was able, as Candace Bushnell wrote -- to "close the deal."

I have met way too many never-married older men, and boy, do they violate social norms! They are not even 'nice guy no chemistry' types. They are altogether clueless.

David said...

From a senior citizen perspective: women live longer then men. If you are planning on marrying a guy who is 15 or 20 years older then statistically you are preparing for a long period of being a widow.

Something to consider.

Andrea said...

I like to think that age isn't an issue but I've never been interested in dating men who were much older. Recently I considered it when a 27 year-old colleague started dating a 40-something colleague who's the divorced father of two. I started to wonder if maybe older men have their shit together more than younger men.

I didn't test that theory but I did change my jdate age range.

TM (Jewlicious) said...

Well, if a Jewish female British rock promoter can marry a dolphin, I suspect it's possible to also marry men 15 or 20 years older. So he might make you listen to Sinatra instead of Bono, is that so bad?

VJ said...

Agreed! And this just in: 'The Year of Yes', a book with hope. Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

Anonymous said...

Wow. Some of these comments!

You see ... I am one of those men. I am 48 (maybe not quite 50 yet), single, never been married. And I'm a great, truly nice guy. Yes ... I'm the one that all my friends (including female friends) tell me what a catch I am. I'm family-minded and loyal ... and not a player. I'm at the gym often, am considered above average looking, am in great shape, and am also told consistently that I look more like I am 40. What am I guilty of? Maybe I was a little too selective for a period in my life ... so what? I made my career and job more of a priority than meeting people for an extended period. And maybe ... just maybe I'm a little shy in approaching people initially but I get animated and outgoing pretty quickly. I'm far from a wimp, just a little shy upon initially meeting people. Certainly not a "skeezebucket" (but what a great term!).

But having read some of these replies, I now feel like a criminal. Now ... I'm not advocating that a woman should feel comfortable dating someone 20 years older. But I have been having trouble getting responses on jdate and match from women who are 38-42 ... and this is only a 10 year age difference at most. I do agree with you, Esther, that with a 15-20 years age difference you can encounter major differences in culture and commonality. But 5-10 years ... maybe even 11 or 12 depending upon the person? Shouldn't be a problem.

I cannot begin to tell you how my heart pains to have my own family, although I don't want to make it sound like I am looking at a woman as a baby-making-machine ... so don't get the wrong impression. I am all about what "VJ" posted. Just the type of guy she describes.

You see ... I believe that this issue highlights everything that is wrong with internet dating (as per "Elf's" post). Jumping to conclusions and pre-judging people that you don't even know. When I first joined jdate, I was so excited at the prospect of the volumes of potential women that it would open up ... that I wouldn't normally have the chance to meet. But I have found exactly the opposite: people (and I'm sure there is a fair share of men doing this also) really use internet dating to reduce their potential pool instead of increasing it by doing all this pre-judging. Remember, finding Mr. Right is a numbers game and you can't know whether someone is right or wrong by reading an ad and not even being willing to talk on the phone or meet.

Aren't there late 30s women out there who made career a priority and want to get married later in life? Should I rush to judgement about them (the way WWT has about older men?)? Should I rush to judgement and bypass an ad for a single woman never married at 40, 41, 42, 43 ... just because she's never been married and assume that she's some kind of kook? Should I just assume that any divorced woman was a failure at her first marriage so that means there's something wrong with her and she won't be able to maintain a 2nd?

Of course not! Everyone deserves a chance! Even a single never married man who is 48. So why do so many MAKE THE ASSUMPTION that there is something wrong before they even have the chance to talk to someone who just doesn't fit their perfect ideal profile? Women have wonderful amazing intuition. But you can't use it unless you have the chance to meet someone and get a sense for what they are really like! How many times have you met someone that you initially thought you didn't like ... but once you gave him a chance, you really liked him? How many times have you heard of people who ended up marrying someone completely different than they thought they'd end up with?

And as for those who would assume that an older man will die before his children are out of college, my Dad (God bless him) has had two heart attacks, a bypass, two angioplasties, and bladder cancer ... and is still kicking at 84. Who is to say? You never know. I might end up marrying a girl who's 37 ... and she could walk in front of a truck and die a year later. You just never know. Things aren't what they used to be in terms of male longevity and lifespan.

So ... use that intuition ladies! Don't prejudge. You never know who's on the other side of that ad.

Blogger S.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't date 48 year old Blogger S., but not because of his age. Anyone who calls a 37 year old a "girl" should be taken out back and shot. Just my $0.02.

Anonymous said...

Another superficial comment to show how pretentious you can be, eh anonymous? Don't you think you're being a little harsh? OK ... I used the term "girl" ... how many other places in my post did I use the term "woman" or "women"? Gimme a break. You don't even know me. You're just helping to prove my point. Pre-judge and label a person based on a word that they used on an internet post? It would be really funny if you and I actually happened to know one another ... and you actually liked me or were interested in me.

Blogger S.

Anonymous said...

Just amazing. Dating should be all about making contact, creating a friendship, treating each other with respect, and seeing if there is mutual chemistry. People like "anonymous" make it like standing in a lineup or in front of a firing squad. I feel sorry for her. She's going to be a very lonely woman. Or actually ... with the lack of maturity she's demonstrated, a very lonely "girl".

Esther Kustanowitz said...

You people are making me comment on my cruise? Shame on you! Please, no one here deserves to be "taken out and shot" for anything. The best we can do is issue restraining orders.

I'm kidding, of course. But please be nice so I can enjoy my cruise knowing that all of you are being respectful of each other...

ptwelve said...

I wouldn't date blogger S either. Sure, he sounds like a nice, thoughtful, intelligent guy, not a skeezebucket. (Which IS a great term.)

But that's irrelevant. And being a good guy is not the same as being a good boyfriend/husband. I strongly suspect he is lousy marriage material.

He gives many clues. He says he was maybe "too selective for a period in my life" and made his career more of a priority than meeting people. He also says he is family-minded and loyal.

Hmmm. These statements contradict themselves all over the place. Loyal -- yet too selective? So he is loyal only under certain circumstances, like if you meet his extremely high standards? Doesn't compute. He made his career a priority and yet he is family-minded? Again, doesn't compute. (Sure, they are not mutually exclusive. But he has set it up so that they are -- that concentrating on one explains the lack of the other.)

I suspect to an objective observer or even to a woman potentially interested in him, that "too selective" is a euphemism for critical, demanding and unforgiving. He says flat out that his career was more important to him than the loving pair-bond thing. There were possibly many wonderful women who could have been interested -- if he pursued them instead of driving them away. And he doesn't even know this.

Or maybe he was too shy to approach them in the first place. Fine. But it sounds like there is a great deal of social ineptitude that, again, he is unable to recognize. His female friends might be telling him he is a great catch. I wonder what they say behind his back.

He mentions problems with internet dating. Yes, yes yes, there are many. But he doesn't seem to understand that the fact a guy is advertising for a woman 10 years younger is a massive red flag. It says his priority is someone who will stay younger and prettier longer, and that his judgment is swayed by youthfulness.

And about the older women who have never been married -- well, women cannot "ask" guys out in the same way. They can let it be known that their answer will be yes, but pursuing a man simply doesn't work. So men have a real advantage that way. I don't know one woman who has turned down a great guy because her career was more important. If any woman says that, she does so out of defensiveness. Women are simply not built that way.

I do not mean to bash blogger S, but merely to explain some of the things he finds so puzzling. They are not puzzing at all. He may be in denial or not thinking clearly. It sounds like he has no clue how women think. As I said, I'm sure he is a good guy but not in a 'man in your life' way.

Anonymous said...

Hi ptwelve. Certainly, you are entitled to your opinion. But I am also in awe as to how you can manage to be so pre-judgemental and jump to such conclusions when you don't even know Blogger S.

First, being "nice, thoughtful, intelligent, not a skeezebucket" all irrelevant? What's wrong with this picture? Do you realize how YOU come across to potential men when you say this? These are probably among the most important qualities that a woman should want in a LONG-TERM PARTNER!

"He says he was maybe "too selective for a period in my life" and made his career more of a priority than meeting people. He also says he is family-minded and loyal.

Hmmm. These statements contradict themselves all over the place. Loyal -- yet too selective?"

Why are they contradictory? Look up "loyalty" in the dictionary. You can't be loyal to someone that you don't even know. I guess family isn't important to you. Only pre-judging people is. And you leave absolutely no room for people making mistakes in their lives? Where do these ideas of yours come from ... do YOU realize how distorted they are? Haven't you made some mistakes in your life? Haven't you ever had any periods in your life when you demonstrated behavior that you regretted? Would you like it if people upon hearing this made an outright conclusion about you and about your future as marriage material?

"He made his career a priority and yet he is family-minded?" Yes. Why not? Why do you make it sound like life is so black and white? This is entirely possible for someone.

"I suspect to an objective observer or even to a woman potentially interested in him, that "too selective" is a euphemism for critical, demanding and unforgiving" ... how in God's name would you possibly draw that conclusion about someone without even meeting them? My goodness!

"Or maybe he was too shy to approach them in the first place. But it sounds like there is a great deal of social ineptitude that, again, he is unable to recognize"

Wow! Since when does shyness upon meeting people initially equate to social ineptitude? My head is spinning! And why do you say he is unable to realize it ... it sounds like he openly admits to it! I know of so many people where one or both of the couple were even more painfully shy than he sounds ... and they managed to meet and then move on to get married! He clearly says it's only upon intially meeting people.

Have you no compassion, no sensitivity ... do you make no room for people having issues in life and working hard on them to correct them ... but that sometimes it takes time?

"But he doesn't seem to understand that the fact a guy is advertising for a woman 10 years younger is a massive red flag." What would make you conclude that he's doing this? He said nothing to indicate that his ad only advertises for someone 10 years younger. Only that he likes to date women 5-10 years younger because he still wishes to have children.

"And about the older women who have never been married -- well, women cannot "ask" guys out..."

Not true ... happens all the time. You are in denial that there is a double-standard.

"I don't know one woman who has turned down a great guy because her career was more important."

First, it happens. Secondly, you don't seem to understand human behavior very well. Sometimes people place emphasis on their career and "think" that they are turning down an opportunity because of it when in reality ... they are just not ready to settle down ... which could be for other reasons. Same thing happens to men. People rationalize.

I don't mean to bash you ptwelve, but so much of your thinking is so distorted and irrational. How many years have you been on the dating scene? And by the way, how old are you? Reason I ask is it sounds like you have some growing up to do. What makes you so willing to dismiss someone who if you met him, could be exactly what you are looking for ... but you jump so quickly to make conclusions about someone you don't even know. Even more disturbing is how you leave no room for error, no room for people who's life just didn't work out as well or as fast as they'd wished as far as meeting someone is concerned ... but who could turn out to be perfectly good mates. What does it take to sit down with someone on a date or two and get to know them ... to see what they're really like and make a decision as to whether your suspicions are really well-founded or not? What are you afraid of?

Anonymous said...

Hi ptwelve ... this is Blogger S. As you can tell from my earlier post, I do tend to agree with what the poster above me has stated to some extent.

But let me ask you this: So what should a good guy like me ... who (regardless of the conclusions that you seem to be willing to jump to) is great partner material do? Give up? I have to admit that if the attitude that you demonstrate is truly representative of the attitude that is out there in the general female population, I suppose I might as well just move to a monastery. What would you suggest that I do to demonstrate that I'm not socially inept, not selfish (oh if you only knew me how you would just put your hand on your head in disbelief for how you've misread me), and great partner material? I guess I just have to come to grips with the fact that I'm just officially labeled selfish and socially inept, and things are hopeless eh?

Blogger S.

Esther Kustanowitz said...

As far as social ineptitude is concerned, I have to say that my experience is that you the old phrase is only have one chance to make a first impression. Shyness is understandable, but shrinking violets will likely be pushed out of the light into a dark corner where they will wither and be deemed anti-social.

Many people are shy when they first meet people, and some of those may warm to a person as they get to know him or her a little. But others are shy because they fear engagement with others, or because they don't have the social skills...

I do agree with those of you who said that this is one of the problems with internet dating--you have the wrong (or less important) pieces of information before you get to know the person. You meet someone in a social context, you think he's personable, relatable, funny and has a nice smile. You have a conversation that's not awkward, and even engaging. If at some point I find out that he's 20 years older than I am, or has an associate's degree instead of a full-on bachelor's, if the other stuff is right, I might not care. But if I go into a coffee date armed with all the stats, I've got "Terminator" vision (you boys should know what I mean...the vision that identifies who people are, and sizes them up electronically upon visual contact). I know their "vital" stats, which are part of the person as a whole, but not wholly representative of the person. And when I'm looking online, my search may not suggest that person, because of the ideal or preferred parameters that I'm using to search.

It's a very individual decision, what age range to look for. But I do agree that maybe men should start looking at women their own age instead of trying to trade in for a younger model, which is always a source of agitation for the women peers of those men...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the balanced remarks, Esther.

Blogger S.

Anonymous said...

Actually Esther ... I had two more thoughts that I wanted to add.

First ... thanks for maintaining this open forum ... and thanks for expressing your points of view in a civil way.

While I accept your premise that it is usually better for people to be in the same rough age range, I think the points of the original writer of your reader's letter that started all of this was:

- You never know when you're going to be compatible with someone with whom you wouldn't normally expect.
- You shouldn't necessarily ELIMINATE someone sight unseen simply based on age difference. There are occasional couples out there with "wider" age separation, and it sometimes works. It certainly IS a matter of individual preferences. There are those who view a 5 or 10 year age difference as minor.
- It is possible to live your dream, if you don't give up.

The other point I wanted to make was even if I accept the premise that it is best to stay close to my own age, what about the wider attitude problem demonstrated by some who contributed to this post? What is different about a woman closer to my age that she would react any differently to someone like me, i.e. ... that she wouldn't just jump to the conclusion that someone like me is "socially inept" and "selfish"? Or that I "deserve to be shot" because I used the term "girl" to describe a 37 y/o female? Perhaps this is a topic for a different discussion thread. But don't you find this type of bias and willingness to be so harsh, and use such extreme language about someone before even meeting that person, to be troublesome and disturbing? I guess we're not here to pass judgement ... only to exchange ideas and opinions. But suffice to say that I think this really highlights a major underlying problem that I call the "Sex in the City" mentality.

People who are married couples with kids laugh their heads off when they read or hear of this kind of thing. Why? Because they've progressed to a higher point in life. A point where they know and understand what's truly important in life. Someone who is married 5 or 10 years, raising 2 or 3 kids and working full-time, is thankful to have a husband who is responsible, willing to share the burdens, easy to live and deal with, and a good father. Some ... who are not lucky enough to have this type of situation had to get divorced because they weren't lucky enough to find someone like that ... or maybe they could have found someone like that if they had kept a more open mind and not had this same "Sex in the City" attitude when dating. Sometimes you don't find this out until it's too late. The point is ... people at this point in life hear about people passing pre-judgement about someone because they are a certain age or height or whatever ... and they laugh. Because THEY know how unimportant these things really are in keeping an effective marriage and family together for many years. And THAT should be what most people have as their top priority ... if they plan to move on and get married and/or have a family.

Sorry for being a bit long-winded here, but I had some things I wanted to say.

Blogger S.

VJ said...

I have to say that some of this is just fascinating the way a simple short description from S. and others can be so badly misread according to various personal agendas or psyhological filters.

Yes, someone who's in their late 30's or early 40's and remains unmarried used to have a slew of assumptions being made about them socially. Many of us have progressed from this blanket social condemnation or approbation and have moved on to a better understanding of the person & their particular circumstances.

Let's take the unmarried daughter who marries for the 1st time at the 'ripe old age' of 44. She was taking care of her sick & dying mother for the last decade. Her sacrifice, her choice. She saw it as her duty, and was honor bound to provide for her family in ways only a dutiful daughter could. Is she a bad marriage bet for this? She's probably a bit shy too from not seeing anyone much since Clinton's first term. Still she'd probably make a great mom, right? But if you just looked at the 'stats', you'd pass her by.

Turn it around. How about that 40 year old 'mommas boy' who might have done something similar. Perhaps run the family business when dad died suddenly. It took him a decade to work off all the debts, work out the account books and see that it was running well. By the time he came up for air, his 30's had flashed by. He barely had time to breathe for many years, possibly providing extra income for many brothers or sisters, putting a few through college too. They are no doubt thankful for his hard work and sacrifice, but he too might be judged soically 'inept' since he's been doing just business for the last decade just to survive & provide. Would he make for a bad bet? Sure, he's not as exciting as the typical 'larger louts' you'll meet at the downtown bar, but he's already a steady family man, and now's he's looking to settle down.

This is why you really can't tell anyone's story without meeting them and hearing from them first. Will the dutiful daughter tell you about her desperate vigil with mom that lasted for years Online in a profile? Probably not. Ditto for the 'stay at home' son/dad.

And yes, again let me remind folks that when people want to get married, they can get married. This can happen very quickly. For the guys, it can be the 'outsourcing' option I spoke of above in my comments. We have the highest immigrant population ever experienced living in America today. I've got friends happily married to new immigrants 10 & 20 years younger than them. Some are first marriages for both. When you can't find something you're looking for in the local market, you expand your options. (And again I'm NOT talking about 'mail order brides'.) Almost to a person these immigrants were positively ecstatic about being married to a kind & successful American (of either gender).

So if you don't get with it, someone else will. Happiness is not a 'zero sum game', people can and do find it with each other all over the place, not just necessarily with you!

Cheers & Good Hunting! 'VJ'

Lyss said...

That's b.s. that a woman cannot pursue a man she likes. Please step into the new millenium and have confidence in yourself as a fabulous and confident woman.

I've got to agree that the term 'too selective' can often translate to 'too critical'. I have a number of male and female frinds who would describe themselves as 'selective' and have odd deal=breakers. I have no problem telling them that they are being too critical.

Lyss said...

Sometimes an 'early dismissal' of a person over something seemingly inconsequential reminds me of Seinfeld (ex= date dismissed b/c she had Man Hands)

Anonymous said...

Bravo VJ and lyss. But I wouldn't expect any major revolutionary changes in "personal agendas or psychological filters". We can only hope for an "evolution". Perhaps once the divorce rate hits 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 4.

scarlett0hara said...

Anonymous S, Ok, let's test this: I'm a woman a couple of years younger at 46, single, never been married, considered a good catch by my friends and family, none of them can understand why I'm single, lucrative interesting job, intelligent, take care of myself, never had trouble attracting men, sincerely look 10 yrs. younger, can tell you how I felt when Kennedy was shot, have been told I'm way too selective and never spent enough time trying to find "the one". If I sent you my pic, would you even be interested?

scarlett0hara said...

Sorry, I meant that for Blogger S

Anonymous said...

As a 44 year old never-married guy who has long wanted marriage and children, let me say... IT AIN'T JUST GUYS who have commitment phobia. Twice in my life, I was the one pursued by women who claimed to want marriage and children.

Both times, I was charmed and eventually fell in love and had serious relationships. Yet when the time came to make real plans for engagement and weddings, neither woman could commit. One just suddenly ran for the hills when it was time to make plans, with no explanation. The other, after her sudden dumping of me, I found out she was schtupping her co-worker while talking marriage with me.

So, ladies, don't assume a man over 40 and never married is not a good catch. Some of us are just like you... wary of being hurt again, but willing to take a risk. Few of us planned to be over 40 and single.

Just cast off your cynicism, stop projecting your own issues onto others, and try to truly get to know a man beyond his demographic characteristics.

Anonymous said...

What is NOT being mentioned and needs to be mentioned quickly, is that men over the age of 40 lose sperm viability. Guys, like it or not, in the reproductive game by the time you are in your 50's, Evolution has deemed you physically unfit to father kids.

It is the height of selfishness to have a sudden identity crisis after decades of previous selfish abandon, to state you are now 'ready to have a family'. So you're basically saying,"I have enough love in my old heart to 1) seek a younger woman to widow way before her time and 2) produce kids who will not have a father in the age range of their peers."

Lovely, just lovely. You are so 'mature' now, you're willing to doom innocent kids to possibly being born physically handicapped or mentally retarded ( hey, you'll take that risk, right? ) and if they are lucky enough to be born normal, they'll have a father way too old to witness their major life successes and challenges, they'll have a father the same age as their freinds grandparents...but hey, YOU'RE willing to go there so your possible-kids, total innocents with no choice in the matter, should be too? Puh-leeze. Rationalize all of the above as much you like, point to some geriatric celebrity that has kids all you like, but the medical SCIENCE is clear: you missed your reproductive years and any chance you take in your 50's to reproduce is done solely with your own interests at heart. Good father material? Good husband material? I think not. Not with such narcissistic justifications and excuses so easily within your reach.

The majority of men still single past the age of 40, never been marrieds, do NOT suddenly have maturity spurts in their 50's. They have mortality crisis', yes, but it's nothing more than that. Faced with the reality that they are now paying the lonely price of total self-interested thinking, the breath of Death on their necks suddenly being felt, they grabble at any opportunity to try to hang on. They've learned NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING because it's just a repeat process of the same thinking they had in their 20's and 30's. Well guys, now you're paying the price of your 'investment' in yourself and all you considered holy so stop whining about it. If you've REALLY 'grown up', date in your own peer group with age appropriate women and if you're very lucky, they will have children from a previous marriage who might accept you as some semi-parental person. Other than that: how dare you play with the lives not yet born and the lives of women who would, if you had grown up by the time you were 25, be the age of the daughters you'd have now. It's not children you need to produce, it's TRUE personal growth as a human being and maybe a few years in therapy will get you up to speed with the guys in your peer group who didn't strut around pretending they had all the time in the world. Man up and deal with the fate you experience now that has your own fingerprints all over it.
Of course you feel lonely, of course you feel you missed out. You're right on both counts. But you cannot go back in time. Deal with where you're at and TRULY grow up, once and for all. That means accepting the repurcussions of your choices instead of pretending your life is some eternal blackboard you can continually erase on. It's not.