How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘cougars’

Picking a Lover: The Trouble with Younger Men

Youth is that period when a young boy knows everything except how to make a living.
—Carey Williams

The problem with the young lover, of course, is that he talks; and when he talks, the naiveté which produces enthusiasm is less appealing. He simply does not know as much of the world as he will later, and so his conversation is more limited. For many young men, their range of interest is not very broad. His world revolves around sex, sports of many kinds, probably fast cars or motorcycles, beer and booze, and many kinds of recreational drugs. His palate is not very developed; so he will, perhaps, be as happy with beer and a burger as with beef Wellington—not a very varied menu, but at least he’s easy to cook for. If you let him choose the wine, it will likely be sweeter than you prefer. Instead of having a more acquired taste for good cognac straight, he will prefer a cold beer. In many ways, young men are simply simpler. They are more direct, less devious, with less guile.

And then there is the issue of money. The young man is, in most instances, relatively poor. Certainly, he is poor in relation to what he will have later on in life. He is just getting started and so is restricted in what he can afford and how he can live. Given that women, in general, make less than do men, that may mean that you make about the same amount. However, many women are still used to men who make more and who pick up more than their share of the tabs. With a young lover, unless he has a very rich daddy, you must be prepared at the very least to pick up half the expenses. Often, like the older man with a young woman, you are implicitly expected to provide some subsidy. That is not just woman to man; that is also the expectation of youth to age.

In most cultures, women have not been taught to pay their own way, much less to pay for others. But if you have a younger lover, then you must not only pick up tabs but must do so unobtrusively, graciously, and without resentment. This is easier in the abstract than it is the first time you realize that what seem like ordinary sneakers are in fact special track shoes that cost $250 and are absolutely essential for jogging. The young lover, like the young girl, expects to receive gifts, to have loans cosigned, and to borrow your car. It is not a con job, nor is it exploitation. It is simply the sharing of resources, which is what couples do. Only for a change, you are likely to be the one with more resources.

There is an absolute rule here which is worth emphasizing. If you are not willing to pick up tabs, don’t pick up young men. It goes with the territory, and so it should.


Cougar (Photo credit: Gamma Man)

When you pick a lover, how long do you want to keep him? For weeks and months certainly, but how about for years? Young men are restless types as are young women and fickle as well. Not having yet developed definite tastes, they are eager to sample a range of new experiences, which will include quite likely other women as well as other terrains. They need to move. They graduate from college—finally. They develop an unquenchable passion to see Egypt by means of a camel caravan. They want to try to make records or movies or to surf in California.

You don’t try to tie down the young lover, and you don’t follow him in his wanderlust unless you just happen to be going to Egypt or Los Angeles anyway. And you don’t whine when you are left behind, pursuing your own life as you were before you met him. You say, “Godspeed and good luck. Send me a postcard.” And you drive him to the airport and lend him your carry-on bag and yet another fifty dollars.

Sometimes, he comes back; but usually, he does not, at least not as a lover. If it has been a good relationship between the two of you, he may well come back as a friend, as if you were an aunt, and proudly introduce you to his new girlfriend. She’ll probably be a pretty little thing, fluffy and very young. You give them tea and crumpets—or more likely beer and peanuts—and send them on their way. Eventually, you may have to spring for a wedding present as well.

The younger lover is likely to be a bird of passage, and such birds can be of considerable appeal. But do not confuse them with the lovebird who mates for life.

Lovers: The Young Man as Protégé

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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