How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘young men’

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.

Picking a Lover: In Praise of Younger Men

Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you more than he can say.
—Paul Simon, “Mrs. Robinson”

When thinking of a possible lover, a woman often considers a younger man. This does not involve a woman of eighteen with a young man of sixteen. Rather, it includes those scenarios where the woman is old enough to be considered an adult by any standard, and the man is young enough still to be considered boy-like.

When a woman is in her twenties, this might involve a difference of as little as five years; later, it might be more like ten or fifteen. There is considerably more difference in social position and experience between a woman of forty and a young man of twenty-five than between a woman of twenty-seven and a young man of twenty-two.

The “older-woman, younger-man” combination meets with much more social disapproval than does the association of an older man with a younger woman. It is a less likely combination in terms of marriages and probably is also less common in terms of love affairs.

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

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore Wikipedia

The media image of such involvements has not been very positive. One such example that immediately comes to mind is the relationship between actress Demi Moore and actor Ashton Kutcher. The media has, for the most part, treated their relationship as an aberrant and questionable pairing. And now that they have split, many believe that the primary reason  for the breakup was due to the age gap between them. On the other hand, the pairing of actress Catherine

Cover of "In Praise of Older Women"

Zeta-Jones and actor Michael Douglas, an older man and a younger woman, has not received the same negative press, nor has its legitimacy been publicly questioned to the same degree. Another example is the affair in Dustin Hoffman’s hit movie The Graduate in which the older woman, Mrs. Robinson, was not exactly a heroine. Stephen Vizinczey’s novel In Praise of Older Women conveys a more positive attitude. Unfortunately, although the book sold well, attitudes change slowly; and outside the world of Hollywood, many people still consider such pairings to be morally unacceptable or, at the very least, subject to ridicule.

When thinking about a possible lover, there is sometimes an undeniable appeal in a beautiful boy-child in his late teens or early twenties who has finally finished growing and is just beginning to find his place in the world. For one thing, his body is still strong and straight. Being strong is not really important most of the time; it is certainly not necessary in order to make love well, but it is a nice plus. The boy-child’s skin is smoother, the breath is fresher, and the eyes somehow seem to be bigger and softer.

He is more likely to have the charm of enthusiasm. He can still be impressed by many things and is willing to show it. And he is, of course, more potent than he will be later in life. He may not make love very well, but he will make love and make it often. He can, perhaps, also be taught to make love well; and then his boundless enthusiasm and virility can be a source of great enjoyment.

Sex roles do not change very quickly, but they do change somewhat with each new generation. Today’s generation of young men has escaped some of the rigidity of sex roles that their fathers learned. They are more able to express a range of emotions beyond the traditional ones of lust and rage.  Younger men have the gift of tears as well as laughter, and that makes them more sensitive as well as more fun.

A young man also helps to keep you young. He is into a different style of dress, a different music and dance, a different language. By osmosis, you absorb more of the current trends in popular culture than you would otherwise. It is somewhat the same function that children have in keeping their parents in touch with the latest fads and fashion—except that the young man is bringing you the more relevant components of adult culture albeit that of the very young adult.

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