Age-ism is the trendy new, socially approved, version of Racism, apparently. I keep reading essays, posts and Tweets in which men who are 6-8 years older than their female partners… even when both parties are older than 25!… are treated with contempt, disgust and righteous indignation. Speaking as the husband of a woman 17 years younger than I am, I’d very much like one of these Paragons of Discrimination to get in my face and explain our (ooops: MY) crime in some way that doesn’t harken back to the “perfectly reasonable” objections, to race-mixing, of the mid-’50s. At least the “perfectly reasonable” citizens who felt race-mixing would threaten the established order were correct: it was much harder to think of a Black as subhuman if he/she were seen mating with a non-Black. But where, exactly, is the fucking harm if an older adult fucks and/or marries a younger adult? I would argue quite the opposite: the collaboration of Experience and Exuberance makes for a mighty team. Maybe someone needs to ask our eight-year-old Daughter if she’d prefer a brand new, 40-year-old Dad? He wouldn’t have to be sweeter, funnier, smarter, better at making scrambled eggs or more patient, of course… he’d just have to be YOUNGER*. That would fix everything, eh?
Hilarious to consider, the implicit argument that younger men aren’t less stable or more violent, as a rule, yes? I’m not arguing that all Young Men are dangerous, obviously (I was such a gentle Young Guy I was sometimes mistaken for Gay, especially considering the fact that Duh Masses expect Young Black Men to present as Rapists), but all Young Men grow into Older Men (if they’re lucky) and the later phase tends to be a bit more knowing/mellow than the earlier ones. My Beloved Wife was married, before me, to the pseudo-Bohemian son of a wealthy Austrian architect and he was her age, this trust-funded idjit, and marriage to him was a nightmare of weathering his youthful attempts to appear to be A Writer (with a quill and a Wildean smoking jacket) by fucking high-priced hookers and dabbling in drugs and sleeping until about five in the afternoon nearly every day of the week. Despite the failed-experiment-known-as-first-husband’s family wealth and relative youth, it turns out that her second marriage, to me, is somewhat of an improvement… despite (or, partially, owing to) that racy 17-year-gap in our ages.
The notable thing here is that ANY attitude/ posture/ belief system will seem to be KORREKT (I’m using the German version here on purpose) if a big enough chunk of Duh Masses appears to endorse it. Utterly Egregious Norms are forever being established by Unthinking Consensus. Just as Homophobia would appear to be “out” (in the Media if not in the Heartland), Gerontophobia (I think the prefix is a bit too strong but I can’t think of another term right now) comes galloping in to fill the Hate void.
A couple of obvious factors are probably at play behind this brave new Actuarial Apartheid:
1) Advertizing prioritizes the young; the young are pandered to and seduced by a relentless media blitz that normalizes Youth itself as the pinnacle of humanity. Just as a steady diet of white-supremacist propaganda could make the image of a racially-mixed couple seem inferior/ ridiculous/jarring at a glance, so, too, the Youth-Supremacist training we all get makes older men and women kissing younger men and women look… weird.
2) As life-spans increase and the overall health/vitality of the Ageing (and well-informed) increases in parallel, the Older are not disappearing off the Media radar-screen as politely as they did just a few decades ago. Ironically (or not), to culturally time-travel a little further in the past… say, to the 1940s… before Advertizing’s Post-War “Youthquake” Golden Age… you’d find the Media Norms to be very different. Tracy/Hepburn and Bacall/Bogart were not considered repellent matches. Sexism kept the Autumn/Spring couplings largely M>F back then (no one took Barbara Hutton‘s swains seriously)… and Sexism mandates that we, now, refer to any woman with a younger man as a “Cougar“. I’ve seen the term invoked in relationships where the age-gap was a mere 5 years.
The other factor I perceive may be difficult to prove; it may be a matter of psychoanalyzing (or mind-reading) the aggregate psyche of the Men in charge of the Media supporting an Ageist bias (the Men who are, ironically or not, rather Old themselves). In short: if I wanted to make sure Duh Masses remained cluelessly compliant as ground-level conditions for the average citizen approached Serfdom, I’d separate the Energy of the Young from the Experience of the Old. How many Five-Star Generals, after all, are 23? If Duh Masses should start admiring/ valuing/ listening to their Elders, all (revolutionary) Hell might break loose. So make sure you demonize those white-haired (or hairless) Fuckas and Fuckatrices (and the traitors-to-their-Youth who sometimes sleep with them)! Just a theory.
In any case: fuck those Discriminatory Fuckers. Figuratively speaking. For Literal Fucking (the good kind) I turn to my Beloved Wife and it is so exquisite that I often go back for seconds, even at my Advanced (and precociously priapic) Age. Doesn’t look as though I’ll be needing pharmaceutical help in the hard-on department for another fifteen years or so. When the time comes will I even give a shit? Not sure. But I’ll definitely be an eager guest at the Fancy French Restaurant between Beloved Wife’s incredible legs until Zeus cuts my clever tongue off…
Read this bragplaining mea culpa from disgraced “Male Feminist” Hackademic Hugo Schwyzer:
““I fucked porn stars I met through my classes,” he tweeted. “I cheated on my wife and pretended to be reformed. I wrote an article in the Atlantic condemning age-disparate relationships the same week…that I was sleeping with a 23-year-old. And sexting a 27-year-old. Not my students at least.”
OMG, sexting a 27-year-old! Imagine how horrified the young lady’s parents were! Being “sexted” by another 27-year-old would have been a morally superior (even edifying) experience, obviously! Even better/worse: we see that Hugo wrote an article “condemning age-disparate relationships” for the Atlantic! Wow. How different would Hugo’s Atlantic article have been from an article appearing, in 1933, say, in Der Stürmer, abhorring Aryan-to-Jew relationships in Germany? I’m sure Hugo’s language was more “helpful”. But both the Atlantic and Der Stürmer were serving to support Discriminatory Norms of their respective cultures…
…which always seem perfectly reasonable at the time.
The Global Takeaway: Everyone Should Mind Their Own Fucking Business and Stop Butting-In and Pooh-Poohing Matters (between not-only-consenting-but-avid Adults) which Do Not Concern Them. If Duh Masses can be trained to not worry about one grown man sucking another grown man’s cock, then… uh… you know what I mean.
*My first Wife was eight years younger than I am but she was often mistaken for being older; I’ll never forget the (secretly delightful, to me) row that was sparked when an acquaintance of hers referred to me, disparagingly, as a “toy boy”