I discovered yesterday that the wife of Scotland's Nationalist First Minister Alec Salmond is 17 years older than he is, i.e. 76. They married when he was 26, and she was 43. Such is the Scots Nats' faith in the Scottish people's tolerance of other people's relationships that we never, ever see her at his side.
Although this may seem startling, it's not the first marriage I've heard about like that. Okay, seventeen years is a big difference, but presumably Alec was just THAT into Moira. I assume it was Alec courting Moira, as I cannot quite imagine a woman in her early forties initiating a serious relationship with a boy in his mid-20s. "Don't you want children?" would be my first question, once the shock of the marriage proposal wore off. However, strange as this may sound to many women, many men seem to want the women they fall in love with even more than they want children.
Which goes to show that the story of the aging New York bachelor who suddenly decides he wants kids and starts madly dating women in their late 20s in the hope of begetting kids is not the only one.
I had an email the other day from a 29 year old who looks 24 and worries that this will hurt her chances of attracting men her own age. In a nutshell, my answer was that there is no need to worry. If she were 29 but, because of illness, looked 50, I would say yes, she might want to do something about that, if she could. Tired and ill is not a good look. But again, I know women who look older than they are and STILL attract men, including younger men.
How? Well, as much as I bang on about the importance of being (and appearing) happy and confident, it really has more to do with men themselves. When they want something, they go after what they want. Even a completely laid-back, peace-loving, change-resisting man like B.A. will make a tremendous effort to get something he really wants. When I appeared on the scene, there was this frenzied period of activity, and then he settled back down to his job, his research, his friends and the growing pile of back issues of the London Review of Books. Sort of like a desert spider who sleeps all day and then rushes out to eat some poor unsuspecting creature before returning underground to snooze.
The central problem is what (or whom) men want. If a man is incapable of having a good relationship with a woman--if the only woman he is at all comfortable talking to is his mother, for example--then he is not going to want any woman. Not a real woman, anyway. He might project a fantasy onto some girl his age, whose personality he doesn't know and is not much interested in, and begin annoying her. Or he might figure out a way to watch porn without getting caught. Or he might, like the last two Psycho Singles, wallow in his addictive hate-lust for women. Or he might just shelve the whole interest-in-women part of his personality. Many do.
If you're surrounded by men like that, you're out of luck. But I don't think this is a fair description of the majority of men. I think the majority of men like women who are happy and confident, who listen to their (the men's) stories and appreciate their (the men's) jokes and are genuinely interested in their (the men's) conversation. I have very attractive young male friends, presumably for these reasons, plus Mr and Mrs McAmbrose's love of hospitality.
But the great dividing line, of course, is what their psyches consider pretty. B.A. thinks red-heads (including strawberry blondes) are pretty, and the Great Lady of his imagination is/was (of course) strawberry blonde Dame Emma Kirby. This was a stroke of psychical good luck for me because, in my experience, the sorts of men to whom I am attracted aren't usually drawn to small women with masses of fuzzy red hair. I don't take it personally; it's just the way it is. So you can be happy, confident, a good listener and a sincere fan of men's jokes, but only the men who have your rough outline (buxom blonde, slim brunette, Asian beauty or whatever) tattooed on their unconscious are likely to fall for you. Age matters less.
I'm older than B.A. Hee hee!