by Sarah Fowler
Age is nothing but a number. Excuse me, but I call bullsh*!. When a man reaches a certain age he looks like Sean Connery. When I reach a certain age…well…I’ll look like Sean Connery. Not exactly a fair trade, is it? Even now as I sit writing this, I have a cleansing mask on my face, whitening strips on my teeth and lotion up to my elbows to prevent aging. And that’s just daily maintenance! I’ve already got a plastic surgeon on speed dial for when, Heaven forbid, I actually get a deep-set wrinkle. Botox me up, baby. Yet while women are suffering through relentless time consuming and budget busting remedies to keep themselves looking younger, men of the same age are scratching their balding heads (and Lord knows what else) trying to figure out why we seemingly and willingly torture ourselves. Heck, gentleman, we’re just trying to keep up with the teenager that you will eventually leave us for. Because while we may have birthed your children, cooked your meals and done everything for you but burped and bathed you, one day you will notice our graying hair, sagging…everything and forget that under all those wrinkles is the woman you fell in love with. And that will inevitably remind you that you’re getting old too. And coincidentally around that time, some fresh faced 20 year old will turn your head and fool you into thinking that she is your very own fountain of youth. As a woman of a certain age who remembers what is was like to be that 20 year old, how do you compete with that? You don’t. I was 18 when I had my first real boyfriend. Having just turned 30, he was twelve years older than I was and I had him on a pedestal. He was older, wiser and had a worldly way about him that only comes from years of experience. I was crazy about him. And then I found the box of Rogaine under his bathroom sink. Hmm. Well, isn’t that an interesting turn of events. In that moment I realized that he was way too old for me. (The 9:30 bedtime with a side of tapioca pudding should have given it away.) But thinking about it now, while it definitely has that ick factor, he was onto something. He didn’t have to go the gym, have painful plastic surgeries or even (as he eventually did) shave his balding head and try to fool the world into thinking that no, he wasn’t losing his hair, shaving his entire head was merely a matter of personal choice. No, nothing that dramatic. In fact, it’s really quite simple: he just put a younger woman on his arm. TA DA! Men can instantly look years younger just by keeping the company of younger women. Goodness, that’s simply brilliant. Masochistic, sexist and incredibly tacky, but brilliant just the same. Right about now that old phrase “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” sounds incredibly enticing. Since the beginning of time, older men have been drawn to younger women. However, that tide is changing as now it is incredibly in vogue for older women to date younger men. From the TV show Cougar Town to Demi Moore who actually seems to be aging in reverse, older women are being celebrated instead of sent quietly away on a “spa retreat” to get their 3rd tummy tuck for their 4th husband. As I tend to date older men (yes, I’m part of the problem, not the solution) I thought I would see what all the fuss was about. And I was almost a convert. My goodness, he was pretty. He just turned 20, had a deep set tan with nary a crows feet in sight and a head full of flippy brown hair that he flipped so frequently to keep out of his eyes, I swear, I thought he was going to hurt himself. We were having a conversation about literature when he said that he couldn’t remember the last book he read. I jokingly replied with: “What’s the last book you read, then? Where the Red Fern Grows?” He then got teary eyed (seriously) and said he couldn’t believe the dogs died in the end. But then his face lit up as he exclaimed that he “Did a book report on Cal Ripkin, Jr, and made a B+! Does that count?!” No sweetie, it does not. I tried, I really did. There is something to be said for a man who is older and genuinely appreciates you. Maybe it’s generational and they know how to treat a woman like a lady. Or maybe it’s simply that because you’re younger you always you feel beautiful. (And if they cataracts, hey, even better!) Or maybe it’s something else. I had a date this weekend and it was incredibly low key; grilling out at his house, having a glass of wine and sitting on the porch just talking about nothing. Then there was a moment when he came up behind me and put his arms around me. In that instant, I felt…safe. In the briefest of moments, I didn’t worry about my weight, my make up being perfect or if that tiny mole on my cheek has started sprouting hairs yet. Maybe it was the fact that he knows who is he is as a man and makes no apologies for it. Or honestly maybe it was the fact that we were standing in his bought and paid for kitchen instead of at his Mommy’s house. Or maybe it was just that he made me feel so dang special. Regardless of a difference in age, no amount of Botox injections can make you feel as good about yourself as the sheer unabashed adoration of a man who loves you for you, wrinkles and all. But in the meantime, I think I’ll have another chemical peel.