Okay, so the following two comments were left on my site from my last two posts, and rather than try to address them in the comment section (where I don’t think I have enough space), I’ve chosen to reproduce them here and address them more directly:

Please don't fall into a standard feminism trap of only accusing older men for dating younger women. Yes, it may be the more dominant stereotype in Hollywood, but older women have been cougar'ing younger men for quite some time. Demi Moore & Ashton Kuchar being the latest prime time example thereof.

Irrespective of gender, I don't see the issue. by age 20-24 you should have a head on your shoulders well-enough to be able to deal with anyone on an adequate level. At that point, age is a state of mind, why should it matter? I do discern a difference when it comes to teenagers and believe the Canadian gov't isn't being strict enough on it's policy there.

And for the record of conversation, I've dated a woman 11 years older than me before :)

The Other Jamie

First, I’m not in any trap of assuming that only dirty old men exist. I know quite well that women date younger men; hell, my last two serious boyfriends were both four years younger than me. I heard plenty of robbing the cradle comments. Granted, I don’t see myself ever cougaring someone *much* younger than me, but never say never and all that.

As to the second... well, I’ve been relating to people older than me for ages. Hell, at 12 I was “involved” with someone 13 years my senior, not a moment of my life I’m proud of, that’s for sure. And before you all get tied up in knots, well, it certainly wasn’t as awful as many of you are assuming – there was no sex or anything even approaching it.

I’m not convinced that age is a state of mind at 20 or thereabouts; I’ve seen for myself that that isn’t the case with someone of the people I’ve worked with in various jobs. These are the 20-year olds that are still existing on Mommy and Daddy’s money, or who are in their first “real” jobs and haven’t the faintest idea how to be professional, who backstab to get themselves ahead in their $8.00/hour jobs... it’s awful. Even for people who’ve had to support themselves, they still don’t know what the hell they’re all about, and they hate to admit it. I know at 20 I thought I knew the world, but looking back, I knew fuck all. I still know fuck all, but I pretend I don’t.

Now, relating to your woman 11 years older than you, we’ve discussed that in person, so I’m familiar with the story, and I offer up in return – were you planning on making a life with that woman? Since I know the circumstances that surrounded it, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume the answer is no. So in that event, your example falls short for my circumstance, as I’m looking to have a relationship of sorts with someone, not just a temporary or stop-gap relationship, an affair of which I’ve had too many in the last while.

I, personally, do not find myself attracted to men who are greatly older than me, with a few notable exceptions (whom I’ve listed before, but I’ll reiterate for those of you whose short-term memory has been removed by aliens wielding strange devices), to whit, James Marsters, Hugh Jackman, David Boreanaz, and a few other possibilities. However, that’s the exception to the rule. While yes, I relate perfectly well to men (and women) of most ages, I do not look at a 35-year old or 40-something year old and think to myself “potential dating partner.” Yes, age is a state of mind, and my mind throws up huge red flags in those situations.

Let’s face it: at 20-something (let’s go with my 23, for convenience’s sake), the average person has completed or is completing university or college. Chances are that you are or have been working a shit job to pay your expenses, and are either living at home or living on your own, either case with some degree of debt. You may not be accustomed to supporting yourself, especially if Mom and Dad have paid your tuition, living expenses, or some combination of the above. The world is scary and new, and your focus is probably on finding yourself some form of beyond just subsistence-level employment.

Now, let’s contrast this with your average 30-year old, shall we? Here we have someone who has been in the working world for say, 5-7 or 8 years. Chances are they’re living on their own and have been for anywhere from 5-10 years. They’re comfortable in their job, which isn’t so much a job as possibly even a career. Their debts are probably paid, they may even own their own home, they have a car, they have a routine, they have an established credit history and they can afford to indulge themselves if they see fit on a nice vacation or something else. Their focus is no longer their employment and maybe on trying to find someone to share all this wonderment with.

Granted, the last 30-something year old I dated fit *none* of that profile, but he was a “special” case. Special here being too many negative qualities for me to list. If you ever feel bad about the people you’ve dated, please, by all means, contact me. I can rant for a few hours on some of my losers.

So... in my little world of experiences, I’m not going to be at the same point in my life as someone in their 30s – if we are, I’d be hoping for a really good explanation (I just moved out on my own a year ago... if someone who’s 35 or 40-something can say the same, you’d better believe I want to know why). I see someone in their 30s as someone looking to settle down with another person, and quite possibly faster than I would be.

Yes, I’m generalizing greatly here, but first of all, I have yet to have an experience that really disproves this. My dating experience with the coworker was never permanent in my mind, and while he bitched me out for having that view/not loving him, he also had to admit that he didn’t see “us” as permanent, either.

I guess what I’m eventually trying to say is simply that I see myself as being able to relate much more closely to someone who has grown up around the same time as I. I would much rather be dating someone who is around the same level as I am – either still paying off school debts, or maybe has only been out and working for a few years – than someone who has perhaps been to his 10th year high school reunion, or who has seen most of his friends get married already, or who simply seems to be light years ahead of me in terms of how “grown-up” he is. It’s one thing to date someone like that briefly, but situations like that make me awkward and uncomfortable, because I don’t feel I’m at that point in my life.

So yes, part of it is an insecurity and so on, but a big part of it is that I simply don’t look at a significantly older man and go, “Wow, I want to fuck me that guy!” Let’s face it, a big part of dating someone has to be some form of attraction. I can’t date someone for very long if I don’t find myself attracted to him, and I just don’t often find myself attracted to guys who are much older than me. Someone my age is more likely to share my interests, whatever they might be at any given moment. Someone my age is also more likely to want to spend time with my friends, unlike the coworker, who specifically said to me that he would never want to hang out with any of my friends. Contrast this with J, for example, who wanted to meet my friends – and was my first boyfriend to really want to. Unless we count UBFM, who simply wanted to meet my friends because it was another aspect of my life he wanted to take over and insinuate himself into. Some of you may feel that that’s an exaggeration, but again, get me started on him sometime and you may change your mind. I hope, otherwise I’m not telling the story right.

Basically, in short, someone close in age to me is much more likely to be able to fit into my life. Someone close to my age is not going to be viewing me as proof of his manhood and virility (“lookit the young, nubile chickie my middle-aged body gets to fuck!”), and someone my age isn’t going to be viewing me as an escape to impending middle-agedness.

Yes, I’m hyperbolizing all over the place and so on, but ... I had a good reason for doing it earlier, when I was originally writing this. Now it’s later and I’m tired and I don’t specifically remember what it was. I know that yes, not all guys fit this model and so on, but quite frankly, my experiences with guys who are significantly older than me has not been good, and I just find myself romantically interested in people closer to my age, rather than those who are old enough to be my father (or who are simply significantly older than I). *shrug* Not much I can do about who gets my engine revving and who doesn’t – if that were the case, my life would’ve been much simpler from the outset.

As a break between my two replies, here’s something I found from Dear Abby. It’s a list of reasons this particular woman came up with to give to nosy people who asked why she wasn’t married, and I thought it was kinda funny:

(1) You haven't asked me yet.
(2) Because I just love hearing people ask me that question.
(3) My fiance is waiting until after the parole is granted.
(4) I'm still hoping for a shot at Miss/Mr. America.
(5) I already have enough laundry to do, thank you!
(6) I'm afraid my parents would drop dead from sheer happiness.
(7) What? And lose all the money I've invested in personal ads?
(8) I'm married to my career -- although recently we have been considering a trial separation.
(9) If I married, I'd have to forfeit my $10 million trust fund.

And now, my reply to Shawn’s comments:

At the risk of starting a flamewar, my beef happens to be with girls who use 'Boys suck!' or 'Men are pigs!' or 'Guys are dumb!' as though those were explanations instead of obvious cop-outs for an explanation.

It's kind of too bad that in 2004, with very liberal--and liberating--views towards sexuality becoming increasingly prevelent, we'd have at least moved past that sort of misandry.

Yet, everywhere I turn, some post-teenage woman is offering bitterness-fueled cheap-shots - and I'm not talking about the 'cute' stuff you'd find over at David & Goliath, but rather the passive-aggressive remarks that are starting to (as you can no doubt tell) get under my skin.

Okay, well, I can defend us doing this a little bit, at least from my stance... and that’s mainly because I honestly have been treated like shit by a few guys. When I say guys suck or that I hate men, or even that I hate people, it’s with the understanding that yes, individuals are wonderful, but as a group, people suck. Or even that certain individuals guys suck, but the rest are just fine. *shrug* Depends on your perspective, really.

I mean... I don’t assume that ‘cause Guy X did something to me that all guys are going to be the same way. I’m not nearly that stupid. However, sometimes it’s hard to realize that Guy X won’t do something when all the other guys you encounter are doing it – kinda like my realization right now that all guys want is no-strings sex, and the odd guy that wants an actual committed relationship AND who won’t settle for sex in the meantime is the anomaly. And in fact, is an endangered species.

So, I’m not trying to say that I’m particularly right or justified in going around trashing men all the time, but I am at least trying to explain it. Hell, if anyone’s in doubt of my stance on guys, take a look at the make-up of my friends; some 90% of them happen to be male, and any one of them will admit at any given time that guys suck. :)

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