The Mountain Times

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Just looking for a July-July romance

It's been a long time since I heard the term May-December romance. It refers to a romantically-involved couple with a significant age difference. I have girlfriends who seem to be attracted to younger men and they often extol the virtues of such a relationship to me. Call me old-fashioned, but I just want a nice July-July romance in my life.

I remember when I was 15 years old and I dated a boy who was 18. I lived in fear that my mother would find out and promptly chain me to a pole in our basement. It was only a three-year age difference, but when my daughters hit teen years, I understood just how crucial that difference could be. In looking back, I realize that 18-year-old Gibby Meisner was definitely a bit more worldly than 15-year-old me. Let's just say he was used to getting to third base and even home plate and I had never even gone to bat. He eventually dumped me for 17-year-old Maria LaPiana, an artistic type who was much less prudish than me.

There have been infamous May-December romances - Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. Hmmm, it appears none of them ended up in the happily-ever-after category. Is it just a matter of time before reality sets in?

For some reason, older men with younger women has traditionally been more accepted in society than the other way around, though that is a rapidly changing tide. Actually, the younger man-older woman connection makes much more sense. We women live longer, hit our sexual peaks later and ascribe to products, surgeries and regimens that keep us looking younger. So a 50-year-old Boomer woman doesn't necessarily look out of place with a 35-year-old male. But is that enough?

Relationships are about so much more than who has the looks, who has the money and who is more fun. It is about caring for each other when one gets sick, it's about working your way together through the rough times, it's about raising children together, it's about having things in common and it's about growing old together and reaching the golden years on the same schedule.

When you are younger, I guess the thought of being with an older man has some appeal. At 20, a 40-year-old is nearing the height of his career and chipping away at lofty financial goals. It paints a picture of security. At 30, a 50-year-old appears dapper, mature, financially secure and honing in on retirement. The picture is not only of security, but of the possibility of leaving the work force and retiring with him. Plus, he is still capable of making babies.

But now that I am closing in on the ability to qualify for senior discounts at the movies, I see the reality - and I must admit it causes me to chuckle. What that younger woman doesn't think about is her mature man is eventually going to succumb to the effects of old age, both physically and mentally. Any woman who was a fan of Sex and the City remembers when Samantha dated the old codger. He showered her with expensive jewelry, lavish dinners and promises of more to come. But the defining moment was when she caught a glimpse of his sagging butt as he shuffled to the bathroom. She couldn't run away fast enough.

We all get old. Our skin loses elasticity and our brain gets a little fuzzy. I want the comfort of knowing my partner is on a parallel timeline. It's nice to know you can depend on each other to trim the hair that appears in noses and ears and to pluck out the grays. It's less stressful to take a road trip when he has to make as many bathroom stops as you. Together you can reminisce about the old days even though neither of you can remember what you had for dinner the night before. Together you can shop for bifocals, hearing aids and shower chairs. I want to be comfortable wearing a bathing suit knowing he has love handles equivalent to mine.

Yes, there's an ugly side to growing old, but there is also a beautiful side when you share it with someone of the same generation. It's remembering episodes of television shows you watched as a kid. It's listening to the Beatles and remembering the album covers. It's dancing close while listening to Sinatra. It's recalling where you were when Kennedy was shot. It's naming the Mousekateers, memories of spending Saturdays at the roller rink and knowing that each of your prom songs were popular the same year. It's about remembering Sister St. Andrew was your first grade teacher.

So girls, take the advice of a gracefully aging Boomer whose been there, done that. The next time you think about spending your life with an older man, envision what it will look like and feel like in 20 years or 30 years. Like Samantha, you just may realize you are better off playing with someone your own age.