Um, I thought, petting my two-years-younger boyfriend. I almost forgot about the Princeton Mom until last month, when international headlines went nuts over the new French president elect and his wife. Brigitte Trogneux met Emmanuel Macron when he was 15 and she was his year-old drama teacher, already married with three kids.
It appears this age gap is largely driven by dudes. The older men get, the younger the women they message relative to their own age. Women, on the other hand, message and respond most often to men about their own age.
Once they reach 35, women actually respond more often to younger guys. But because men are usually the conversation starters, the older-man-younger-woman paradigm prevails. Alright, so maybe OkCupid en masse follows dating age conventions, but what about those women who want to flip the norm on its head?
How difficult is it for them to date a younger man? What I found was kind of surprising. When men message women, women tend to respond most often to men around their own ages.
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A year-old woman will have better luck messaging a year-old man than a year-old one, according to the data. And a year-old man is more likely to respond to a message from a year-old woman than a message from any other age group. When women make the first move, the age gap dating norm is reversed.
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I asked my friend Trevor, a year-old mathematician, what he made of it. They have more interesting jobs and hobbies, and their profiles are just better … no stupid selfie-only profiles. Did that explain it?
The pattern is always the same: As I discovered recently at a gathering of thirty to fifty-something women who were all single and dating, a younger woman pays an especially heavy price to be with a much older man. And instead of a washboard stomach, they have washboard bottoms.
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And, as one of my young friends revealed over dinner after her affair with a year-old, the sex can be a nightmare. One woman at the dinner, a glamorous fifty-something, told of her latest dating experience. She met an adorable man 12 years older than her who was very keen, but who suddenly stopped calling or returning her texts. After three weeks without a word, he reappeared. Was there another woman? Was he back with the ex-wife? Yes, teeth problems loom large with the older man, as does health in general. They fret about their receding hairline and their ever-expanding waistlines.
Forget the myth about the older man who can support you emotionally and financially: Constantly seeking reassurance, they need their lovers to lavish praise on them. As Wood said of his new girlfriend: The most brilliant portrayal of the truth of the much older man and the younger woman comes, ironically, from Woody Allen - who left his partner and mother of his children, Mia Farrow, who was a modest ten years his junior, for their stepdaughter Soon-Yi Previn, who was 35 years younger than him.
Alfie subjects himself to fake tans and endless gym sessions, wears teenage clothes and watches his bank account dwindle due to her excesses. It is a poignant, rather pathetic portrayal of the Ronnie Woods of this world and reveals the truth about love with an old rogue. As exhausted Alfie discovers when he leaves his young wife and tries to reconcile with Helena, there is something marvellous about a long marriage.
Even in your 80s, as I know from my own parents, you remember the young person you fell in love with, and they remember you as you were - the soft skin, the bright eyes, the youthful body, the passion and the enthusiasm.
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But while a lengthy marriage might provide a woman with a bank of memories to draw on when her husband turns grey and doddery, for a young woman going out with a much older man, what you see is what you get. The truth is, women are much more likely to find happiness with a man nearer their own age. This question was answered rather succinctly in a scene from American TV show Mad Men, when the silver-haired advertising executive Roger Sterling is sitting in a bar with his stylish and attractive ex-wife, Mona.
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