How to Pick a Lover

Girls we love for what they are; young men for what they promise to be.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If one of the positive aspects about an older man is that he may assume the role of mentor, one of the positive aspects of being with a younger man is that, for a change, you may get to be the mentor. There is an intrinsic satisfaction in having a protégé who admires you and who wants to learn from you.

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore at the 2010 Time...

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Women who are in the arts or are involved in creative work are very likely to encounter a young lover who will become a protégé: the young actor who wants to learn to act, the blossoming painter or dancer or writer, the apprentice in any number of fields. Accepting a young man as a protégé assumes that the older woman involved has some valuable knowledge to impart; she is, in some way, in a position to offer real assistance in the form of advice or perhaps more direct sponsorship. She becomes, in effect, a patron.

How do you feel about being in the role of mentor or patron? There is this aspect to consider: there are many circumstances in which teachers are paid to teach. Tutors or coaches or professors are considered to be working, and they deserve to be paid for that work. Often, they are not paid very well, but they are always paid something. Teaching and learning, master and pupil are complementary roles, but when did you ever hear of someone who was paid to learn? In the long run, being the one who learns is more interesting and more fun. So if you are cast in the role of unpaid teacher, you may easily become bored when you find that you are not learning very much and impatient with constantly being the wise person who explains and illustrates things she already knows to a young lover who is an eager protégé.

In tomorrow’s post I will discuss some of  the potential troubles you may possibly encounter in a relationship with a younger man.

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