Dealing with age difference

Shawn Conner, Click by Lavalife
So what is the attraction to dating someone older? Well, it could be cash and stability, for starters.  (Comstock)

So what is the attraction to dating someone older? Well, it could be cash and stability, for starters. (Comstock)

Here's a tip for you older guys wanting to date younger women: don't drop references to the Captain and Tennille.

Recalling it weeks later, I still wince at a date I went on with a girl 13 years my junior. Everything was going smoothly -- we, well she, had breached the age question, and she didn't seem shocked at my decrepitude. As we parted, we discussed the possibility of another date. Trying to play it cool, I attempted a joke. Why or how I mentioned the soft-rock '70s couple who had a hit with the song Muskrat Love isn't important; what is, is that the comment went over like a Texas Rangers membership drive at an FLDS community. 

Outdated pop culture references aside, there are a lot of advantages to dating outside your demographic. Sure, there are those who give the idea of dating younger women a bad name. Last we heard, Hugh Hefner was dating 19-year-old twins, or triplets, or some sort of blonde genetic mutation. Nor is Marilyn Manson (38) doing the male gender any favours by making soft core videos with his current girlfriend Evan Rachel Wood (19). But a lot of guys -- and girls, too -- like the idea of an age gap. The New York Times Magazine recently quoted Tyra Banks, who is apparently dating a guy in his 50s, as saying, "Go older!"

Says Nicole Holnes, an MTV Canada VJ: "The majority of girls who date twice their age, the guy usually has quite a bit of money. I don't know if that has anything to do with it."


And older guys are more mature -- or can at least seem that way. "Women do not want to date a man who would rather play computer games than spend time with her," writes an anonymous author at

"You want someone that's motivated," adds Holnes, who hasn't set a limit on the age of the guys she dates. "Younger guys need to have something special. It's about maturity. A guy can be 50 and immature, or a 19-year-old can have wisdom beyond his age."


Rebecca Tam, 24, thinks guys are generally less mature. "He's older," says the lifestyle writer of her 34-year-old boyfriend. "But his maturity level is about the same [as mine]. Although, he says he's not sure if he wants to get married or have kids."


Let's not leave out the sex factor. If you're going to date older, man or woman, there's the hope that, at the very least, he or she would have flipped through the Kama Sutra once or twice.  


Meanwhile, younger women aren't as jaded. Paul Duchart, a 38-year-old photographer, was able to show a 29-year-old the time of her life. "She hadn't been out of the suburb she was raised in, basically," he says. So he took her to a society event, dinner, and later a celebrity-filled party. "It was the best first date," he says. "She had a great time." One thing he's found is to keep it "light and fun" with younger women. "A lot of the time they're not ready to get serious," he says, "unless it's their idea."

There are the purely evolutionary and biological factors -- older guys are seen as having survival and productive value, not to mention better cologne. And it could just be that guys have the guts to approach. "I wonder," writes Zandria on, "why is it that younger guys aren't as comfortable approaching my roommate and I than the older guys? Are the older men not as worried about looking 'cool'? Does the possibility of being rejected not bother them as much?"

For men, there are advantages to dating older women. If that loud ticking sound you're hearing is your date's biological clock, then you're probably not dating someone who has already had a kid. An older woman might have already done the marriage thing, and is ready to just have fun. And older women are sexy -- look at Samantha from Sex and the City. In a reversal of what we see in the media all the time, her lover in the last season of the show, and in the movie, is a guy in his 20s. No wonder women love the character --we're asked to accept the idea of older men playing romantic leads opposite much younger women all the time.


One way Internet dating has changed the way we hook up is the ability to hone in on a preferred age range. Although people have been known to  -- ahem -- stretch the truth. Someone I spoke to for this story admitted that, in his profile, he shaves off a couple of years. However, this tactic backfired recently during dinner, when he casually mentioned his real age and his date called him on it.  


But limits were made to be broken, and that all-important chemistry is often age-blind. When asked, Crystal Huba, a 25-year-old aspiring comedian, says she'd date 10 years older, tops. At least, that's what she tells her flirtatious 42-year-old co-worker. But what if it was George Clooney? "Exceptions can be made," she says.