Tuesday, December 30, 2008

SMACKDOWN!: May/December Relationships

Let's rap for a moment, friends, about dating across generation gaps. Men dating younger women is nothing new in Western or even world cultures. In fact, I consider myself something of a proponent of this practice, in accordance with my belief that men are about six years behind women in the maturation process.

However, there is still something to be said for respecting the person you are dating, and I've oft observed that this respect is lacking from most May/December relationships. In particular, the older person seems to relish pointing out the foolishness of his young partner. As someone with friends of all ages, I've seen my male friends date women 10, 15, even 40 years younger, and what I've observed in all cases is a rampant disrespect for the female. And I get it. I once dated a dude four years younger than I, and I knew the whole time that I didn't respect him much at all. And being able to push him around was a great ego boost. But at the same time, I knew it wouldn't last, because I knew the foundation for a real relationship was missing. And that's fine, I suppose, if you know this is what you're signing up for. (And by "fine" I mean grossly unfair to your sprightly young partner.) The problem is, your self-serving, manipulated dynamic will only get you so far. It is temporary, and at the end of the day you (and probably all your best friends) know this is some crap farce of a relationship fostered only to serve your bruised and infantine ego, and it's doing nothing to make you a better person.

Now, if you choose to be part of this kind of relationshit, that's your prerogative. But you have to know that it's pretty unhealthy/wacked/housed, and that your friends may very possibly be looking down on you for participating in this kind of ego-based flippant disregard for the soul of your "partner." I have some friends I love dearly, but witnessing and understanding the dynamics of these relationships they cultivate changes my perception of and respect for them as individuals. Sure it's easy to feel like a Big Man when you're shaking your head and wagging your finger at your partner, or when you're remarking to your friends that you can't believe how stupid she is, but what kind of person dates someone for whom they have such rampant disdain? Wouldn't it be more beneficial to your development as a sentient being to partner with someone you revere and respect? Call me crazy, but to me this seems like a much better idea. As I said, I've been there. I get it. But I was in my early 20s then, dating a 19-year-old, and I would never put myself in that position again. I'd rather be alone than keep someone around just to use her as my personal punching bag/dumping ground.

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