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January 12, 2005

Comments

Cindy

Hi - interesting post. Stumbled across it as I was looking for answers to - or maybe to justify - my own predicament.

I'm 20 years old and I'm crazy about a 52 year old (family friend). I've known him for as long as I can remember. We've always been kinda close... he took the role of a "favourite uncle" early in life and as I got older, we started spending more time together (we share a common interest that finds us bumping into each other with alarming regularity). Anyway, he's a good friend.

He's been there for me when I've needed someone to talk to and couldn't go to my parents. He's always kept an eye out for me. Always says hi and gives me a kiss on the cheek in greeting.

When I was 18 - totally out of the blue - he sent me an SMS message saying "If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?" Corny pick-up line, I know... but it appealed to my slightly insane sense of humour - one that he shares.

It was the first suggestive remark and I did NOT feel threatened or cheapened in anyway. I was hugely flattered. It started a year-long "game"... who could come up with the most suggestive remark. During that time, I came to see him in a different light... and noticed that I WAS attracted to him, sexually. He's not gorgeous (like a Sean Connery or a Harrison Ford) but there's something about him. He's not rich. Doesn't hold a high-powered job. He's a regular guy with a cheeky grin, sparkle in his eye and a bucket-load of appeal.

Anyway, the messages went from suggestive to raunchy and one say he asked me if I was uncomfortable and wanted him to stop. I - honestly - said no. It was that moment that I started considering him as a potential partner. I'm not someone to jump into something without thinking (according to some, I think too much) and so I started agonising over whether I wanted to take that step. And realised I did. And with him. Obviously I was physically ready - but emotionally? More agonising. And I decided that I was, after much thought. And I know I trust him - 110%. With my life.

So one night, we decided to meet up. I can't begin to describe how I felt when he first kissed me that night. It took all my self-restraint not to tremble. Anyway, we were talking and mucking around (we get along like a house on fire) and clothes started to come off...

And then he stopped. Said he felt like an a**hole and couldn't do it. Said he felt guilty doing this behind my parents' back. Even though I wanted it to happen.

We ended up getting back into our clothes. He didn't stay all night. My first thought after he walked out the door was "My God, I love that man..." And then, I was crushed. After so much preparation (emotional) I felt kinda empty.

Things were a little awkward between us for a little while. It's all good now, though. I guess we're both acting like it never happened... I still get a kiss on the cheek when I see him. We still muck around. And I still love him. Respect him. And deep down, I hope that something might happen one day... even though that little "incident" happened almost two years ago now.

I can't explain why I'm so attracted by this man who's 32 years my senior. I don't see why it matters - it's not like the age difference makes him any less human. He can think, and feel, and love just like anyone else. He has wants and needs. And I REALLY don't understand why people see it as wrong.

I'm starting to wonder if I should ask him if anything will ever happen. As hard as I try, I can't stop thinking about that night and how I felt. I have such a strong attachment to him - maybe coz he was my first kiss? (I'm not sure if he knows that). He DOES know how I feel about him though. He still does show a bit of interest in me... man, I don't know.

Does anyone here have any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

mythago

And I REALLY don't understand why people see it as wrong.

Because he has 32 years of experience, maturity and wisdom that you don't, and is a family friend. A lot of people see that as taking advantage of your inexperience and willingness to trust him.

Liz

Cindy,

I found this web site in the same manor as you, I had been struggling with the decission as to whether I wanted to persue a man 25 years older than me. I am 21, so I am about your age. I understand so deeply the feelings that you have for him as I am there myself. I know it's hard to put into perspective right now, you need to think about if it worked out. When you are in your 40's you will be dealing with a senior in his 70's. And I would love to say that it shouldn't matter, but on some level it does, are you going to be able to deal with that? Can you deal with it if he breaks your heart? If you can deal with those things I say love him! Love him, if that's how you feel. I know that I loved my older man and now my heart is aching, but I don't regret a single day.

Redneck Feminist (drumgurl)

I'm not sure why no one is pointing out the obvious, and that is that old dudes just aren't that hot.

My immature self still needs that visual stimulation, I guess.

Michael

Quoting Drumgirl...
I'm not sure why no one is pointing out the obvious, and that is that old dudes just aren't that hot.

My immature self still needs that visual stimulation, I guess.

Funny.. I was thinking the same thing about the reasons "old dudes" try to go out with young(er) women. Maybe men and women are more alike than we like to admit..

Redneck Feminist (drumgurl)

Michael, I think you're right. And on a more serious note, perhaps that's what scares people about female teachers having sex with students. Could it be that some WOMEN are capable of being sexual predators, just like some men?

We, as a society, try to shove this under the rug and pretend that women could never behave like that. But obviously, they do.

And you know, some of those 16-year-olds are hot. (Am I a beast for admitting that?) But like Hugo has said, the older person must act responsibly. I would never dream of taking advantage of a 16-year-old boy, even if he thinks he wants me to!

And I'm not completely shallow. My fiance, at 23, is developing a bit of a spare tire since graduating from college. But I still see his 20-year-old hot bod when I look at him. Obviously, I'm in love with the guy, so that has probably something to do with it. :)

mythago

and that is that old dudes just aren't that hot

"Hot" is relative. Are old dudes as likely to be as cute and hardbodied as younger men? No. But there's more to attraction than how taut the guy's butt is.

Redneck Feminist (drumgurl)

"But there's more to attraction than how taut the guy's butt is."

True. The pecs are very important as well.

La Lubu

(hey drumgurl.....what about the thighs?! I'm a sucker for a man with well-developed quads and hamstrings!)

ahem.

Sigh. mythago's right; there's a lot more to attractiveness than the body itself. And some older men find inexperience the main attraction in younger women; they will reject a woman their own age who looks much younger because of her age and experience.

Beste

I know plenty of young women(40 and under) who think Sean Connery is the man.

Michael

And on a more serious note, perhaps that's what scares people about female teachers having sex with students. Could it be that some WOMEN are capable of being sexual predators, just like some men?

There are plenty of female "sexual predators" out there, it't just that most guys don't look at themselves as victims for being "exploited" by older women. And we don't report it to the cops or our parents as often, because, frankly, we don't want to mess up a good thing. If we are lucky, we might just get "exploited" a couple more times... I'm not sure who actually get's scared about this, but it certainly isn't the (average) young guy.

Why do you think Mrs. Robinson hit such a nerve?

bmmg39

"There are plenty of female "sexual predators" out there, it't just that most guys don't look at themselves as victims for being "exploited" by older women. And we don't report it to the cops or our parents as often, because, frankly, we don't want to mess up a good thing. If we are lucky, we might just get "exploited" a couple more times... I'm not sure who actually get's scared about this, but it certainly isn't the (average) young guy."

That's because boys and young men are told that they SHOULDN'T complain if they receive any amount of sexual attention from a female, age difference or not, adult/child relationship or not. "Only men can be predators," they are told, and if they actually complain about a woman at work sexually harassing them, or a female teacher coming on to them, or a woman actually taking their virginity away without their consent, they will be called "wimps" or "gays," the latter of which isn't an insult, but it's intended as such by those who allege it.

Chalk up one more problem with "gender roles."

mythago

I think it goes deeper than that, bmmg. It's just not considered normal for a man to not want sex--the myth is that men always want sex all the time with any woman who is even vaguely decent-looking, and a man who doesn't is probably queer. (And as with many gender-role stupidities, this is something people are harsher on their own gender about.)

Michael, there are plenty of younger people (male and female) who have sex with older men or women and are fine with it. The problem is that there's not a lot of room for them to say that they're not OK with it.

bmmg39

"I think it goes deeper than that, bmmg. It's just not considered normal for a man to not want sex--the myth is that men always want sex all the time with any woman who is even vaguely decent-looking, and a man who doesn't is probably queer."

Absolutely, mythago, and that's all part of the "gender roles," and you should just hear/see the things said/written to me because it isn't true about me. There's nothing like being told you need to see a doctor simply because sex is low on the priority list for you.

Michael

"I think it goes deeper than that, bmmg. It's just not considered normal for a man to not want sex--the myth is that men always want sex all the time with any woman who is even vaguely decent-looking, and a man who doesn't is probably queer."

I agree about gender roles being different and how both sexes are conditioned differently. I just disagree about what that conditioning is. Women are conditioned from birth that sex is bad. Guys aren't. Guys as a result are less uncomfortable about sex and don't feel stigmatized about having it. They aren't made to feel guilty about having sex and grow up having less hangups about it.
A guy isn't called a "slut" for having sex and is even "encouraged" (as bmmg39 pointed out) by his male peers and family. Even women point out his "flaws" if he is not sexually active, which is highly hypocritical to me.

The problem with generalizations is that, well, they are just that, generalizations. Your milage may vary. My point is, that the average guy just isn't going to complain a lot if he gets "exploited." He might even [Egad!], enjoy it and more importantly, not feel guilty about it.
I would rather feel not guilty than stigmatized..

Liz

Back to the conversation about older men not being as attractive as younger men...

I don't know if I am weird or not, but I find it very seldom that I find a man my own age attractive. An older man has a few lines on his face and many still have hot bodies, if they take care of themselves. Anyways, just thought I would throw that in.

I like hot older guys!

Cindy

"Because he has 32 years of experience, maturity and wisdom that you don't, and is a family friend. A lot of people see that as taking advantage of your inexperience and willingness to trust him."


That's understandable. I can see both sides of the arguement. BUT he's hardly taking "advantage" of anything.... I'm the one who's made the conscious decision to be with him. He hasn't bribed/conned me into anything. If I didn't want to; didn't feel comfortable, I wouldn't - it's as simple as that.

I believe we have a similar "social" life too - we both officiate different sports (me - tennis, him - soccer) and we both love to watch soccer... and that's about it, really. I don't do the clubbing thing. I'm in bed before 10.30pm most nights, lol. I have no interest in loud parties, loud music or drinking "for the fun of it" like most others my age; I hardly touch alcohol and don't smoke/do drugs. The only vaguely wild event I've been to recently was a Neil Diamond concert. And that rocked, big time. :)

And just on to the older men being more attractive than younger ones... there are things that are more important than looks. I personally have to be intellectually attracted to someone before I notice a physical attraction. And usually the first thing that I notice is a guy's eyes and smile. But, saying that... this guy I like IS a soccer Ref... meaning he's pretty darn fit. Disgustingly so! Nice legs and butt on this one!

Liz

Most of the men that I see are in better shape then me and they are usually ten or more years older.

bmmg39

"A guy isn't called a "slut" for having sex and is even "encouraged" (as bmmg39 pointed out) by his male peers and family. Even women point out his "flaws" if he is not sexually active, which is highly hypocritical to me.
The problem with generalizations is that, well, they are just that, generalizations. Your milage may vary. My point is, that the average guy just isn't going to complain a lot if he gets "exploited.""

We'll if we're talking about statutory rape of a boy by a female teacher, for example, it doesn't matter if he feels exploited. It's still a rape, just as it is if a male teacher has "consensual" sex with a girl.

Other than that, whether or not a person is exploited depends in part upon whether or not the "exploited" person is acting willingly. A guy may or not complain, but part of the reason he may not complain is that he's been told that he's supposed to be enjoying it. If a woman grabs the butt of a male stranger at a bar, he immediately knows that many would believe she is allowed to do this (though she isn't without his permission) and that he'd be a wuss if he were to complain. It's a two-parter: a.) he's expected to enjoy any sexual attention, invited or not, and b.) even if for whatever reason he DOESN'T enjoy it he's still to be a gentleman and let the lady have her fun.

mythago

BUT he's hardly taking "advantage" of anything.... I'm the one who's made the conscious decision to be with him.

The issue isn't whether he is forcing you. From the point of view of a young person, having an older person attracted to you is a sign of one's own maturity. From the point of view of an older person, young people are cute but, sorry, kind of shallow. Of course this doesn't mean every younger/older relationship is evil and manipulative, but is it really that hard to understand why people would look askance at your situation?

(Bluntly, the fact that your male friend is doing this "I want you/Oh, but I shouldn't" game suggests that he's not quite as mature as either of you thinks he is.)

and you should just hear/see the things said/written to me because it isn't true about me

Oh, I believe it. It's pathetic.

Cindy

"The issue isn't whether he is forcing you. From the point of view of a young person, having an older person attracted to you is a sign of one's own maturity. From the point of view of an older person, young people are cute but, sorry, kind of shallow. Of course this doesn't mean every younger/older relationship is evil and manipulative, but is it really that hard to understand why people would look askance at your situation?

(Bluntly, the fact that your male friend is doing this "I want you/Oh, but I shouldn't" game suggests that he's not quite as mature as either of you thinks he is.)"

Shallow is something I've never been called before... :-\ I don't consider myself any more mature because I've caught the eye of an older man either. I DO consider myself marginally more knowledgable and confident though. I think the thing that gets me most is the fact that HE and I (not him and my parents or uncle or whatever) have been good friends for a long time. It's a fairly common occurance to find myself deep in conversation with him for hours at gatherings (etc). People always ask what we talk about - and the only answer I give them is the truth... everything. I'm comfortable with him and always answer his questions truthfully - and I've seen no evidence that he doesn't do the same in return. I'm even more open with him that I am my best friend.

My situation with him (such as it is) is not considered to be anything NEAR a romantic relationship by others. Neither of us have let on that there's anything going on bewteen us. As far as family and friends can see when we're together, we are two people who genuinely enjoy each others' company. Saying that, people will always think that a man who's going out with a younger woman is after sex and that the woman is after money (or something along those lines). I find that to be an extremely narrow-minded assumption.

Oh, and I hardly think a conscience-attack ("I want you but have too much respect for you and your family") is a "game". He admitted to me that, during the day before we met up, he was having second thoughts, but he didn't want to let me down which is why he fronted for our meeting. I think it's sweet.

I saw him briefly last night, but was working. I still got my kiss on the cheek though. :-) I may see him tonight too... oh, SO many conflicting feelings.

mythago

Oh, and I hardly think a conscience-attack ("I want you but have too much respect for you and your family") is a "game".

If he's continuing to waffle about doing things with you, that's not a sign of maturity. If he's indeed had a conscience attack and decided that having sex with a young woman he's known since she was 'old enough to remember' and who is romantically far less experienced, that's a little different.

I DO consider myself marginally more knowledgable and confident though.

Than what?

Redneck Feminist (drumgurl)

I saw Steve Vai in concert last night. According to imdb.com, he's 44. I found him to be an attractive older man. (But first and foremost, he's an amazing guitarist!)

I didn't find him "hot" in the shaggable way, though. I just found him attractive. It's probably similar to how young men feel about Laura Bush -- attractive, but not first on the "to do" list.

However, I don't think there's anything wrong with people who DO find older men hot. They need lovin' too!

So Cindy, I think that as long as this guy isn't married or anything, you should try it out. Make sure he's not averse to older women in general, though, because we'll all be old someday and you don't want this guy to leave you as soon as you get a wrinkle. Dating ANYONE can turn out to be a mistake. The only way to know for sure is to go for it. If it flops, learn from it.

Redneck Feminist (drumgurl)

I saw Steve Vai in concert last night. According to imdb.com, he's 44. I found him to be an attractive older man. (But first and foremost, he's an amazing guitarist!)

I didn't find him "hot" in the shaggable way, though. I just found him attractive. It's probably similar to how young men feel about Laura Bush -- attractive, but not first on the "to do" list.

However, I don't think there's anything wrong with people who DO find older men hot. They need lovin' too!

So Cindy, I think that as long as this guy isn't married or anything, you should try it out. Make sure he's not averse to older women in general, though, because we'll all be old someday and you don't want this guy to leave you as soon as you get a wrinkle. Dating ANYONE can turn out to be a mistake. The only way to know for sure is to go for it. If it flops, learn from it.

Michael

We'll if we're talking about statutory rape of a boy by a female teacher, for example, it doesn't matter if he feels exploited. It's still a rape, just as it is if a male teacher has "consensual" sex with a girl.

Rape is usually defined loosely as sex under duress. Dworkinisms aside, consentual sex technically is not rape, hense the added descriptor "Statutory". Parents and society in general call it rape, but we do so because we have determined that a minor, because of his/her age, is not equiped mentally to make that decision and therefore it can't be consentual. I wouldn't have bought this argument when I was that age, since when I was a teen I knew absolutely everything about everything, but of course, now having kids of my own, I certainly understand it (and whole heartedly support the law).

My point here is not whether it is right or wrong, but simply that guys are not conditioned that sex is inherently bad and are less likely to report abuse to anyone if it happens. Sexual predation is an equal opportunity crime, that for the most part goes unreported if the victim is male and the perp is female.

Other than that, whether or not a person is exploited depends in part upon whether or not the "exploited" person is acting willingly. A guy may or not complain, but part of the reason he may not complain is that he's been told that he's supposed to be enjoying it.

For most people, sex is enjoyable in and of itself. Boys and girls don't need to be told that, but yes, in the media we are bombarded everyday with that message. Boys are encouraged to be sexually aggressive, however girls are tought conflicting messages. Be sexy, but oh. ..by the way, sex is bad and you are less of a person if you do it. Or worse, that sex is a tool to get what you want or need.

We do this as a society because, as a paternalistic (or maternalistic, it doesn't matter which) society, we protect our girls more. Girls, of course bear the brunt of the responsibilty if they become pregnant. So as a parent of girls, I obviously look at that as a good thing. In a perfect world however, our society would be more consistent in the messages we send to our children, both boys and girls, about the pitfalls of early sexual activity.

Myself, I've always dated older women ( and married one). It's my preference. I've never received the kind of comments that I've read here in this thread, like the ones aimed at Cindy....

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