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Geezer burns

I've been dating an amazing man for a year. He's considerate, funny, sexy, affectionate, intelligent and successful. He makes me feel like the most important thing in the world, we laugh and talk for hours, and I never thought sex could be so amazing. The problem? He's 53 and I'm 27. And no, I'm not looking for a father figure. He looks 40 and is in better shape than most 30-year-olds. He has the most wonderful family, but two of his four kids are about my age, which makes me uncomfortable. I wonder what it'll be like if we have kids, worry that I'll end up alone, and dread the constant comments over the years: "Oh, is that your father?" and "I guess you found your sugar daddy." -- Age Fright

Okay, it is kind of a drag to have both a baby and a husband in diapers. This could happen to you -- but only if you toss your eggs and his sperm into Ziploc baggies in some fertility doctor's freezer, and grow a fetus in a Mason jar when you're 60 and he's 86. On the plus side, think of all the great stories the old man could tell the kid about his own childhood -- back when people were discovering fire and inventing the wheel.

Aging isn't what it used to be, and not just because plastic surgeons are crossing people's jowls over their backs and tacking them to their shoulder blades. So, numerically, your boyfriend's got 26 years on you. These days, there are 65-year-old punks on skateboards -- although there's occasionally some confusion as to whether wanting a joint means being in the mood for pot or in need of a new knee.

Sure, the day may come when "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" because he's had a colostomy, when "Abs of Steel" become abs of a Shar-Pei, or when you no longer put on fishnet thigh-highs to play nursie, because he generally isn't awake while you're emptying his bedpan. Then again, there are obese, chain-smoking, "age-appropriate" men whose hearts give out at 40 from rigorous sex -- not having it, just thinking about it.

Maybe youth really is wasted on the young, since it takes a much older man to truly appreciate a hot young girlfriend: "Yeah, baby ... who's yer Granddaddy?!" What does a 27-year-old guy have that your boyfriend doesn't? Probably a lot of confusion about who he is and what he wants, and a driving ambition to sort it out -- even if it means staying up all night doing Jell-O shots and having sex with your best friend.

If you've found a love like this, you're in the minority -- or a fictional character in a Nora Ephron movie. (Check under your bed for Rob Reiner if you're unsure.) There are those who will snidely refer to your relationship as "Antiques Roadshow," especially women your boyfriend's age who wish they could have a sugar daddy, and men your boyfriend's age who wish they could be one. If you're going to let others dictate how you live, why not make it official? Go up to strangers on the street and say, "Got any problems with me dating the old dude? Because if you do, I'll just stay home and watch 'CSI.'" What will make your relationship less of a news item is how you react. Do you cower while people conduct whispering campaigns speculating on your ulterior motives? Or, do you cut them off mid-whisper and state your ulterior motives loud and clear: "Who cares about his money? I'm just using him for sex."

A shine of the times

My husband mail-ordered two nail care kits so he can buff, file and oil his nails. They cost $32. I think it's very feminine for him to have perfect shiny nails. Is this a sign of something, or am I overreacting? -- Worried Wife

Fingernail maintenance is such a slippery slope. One day, a man's pushing back his cuticles, the next, he's bringing home a friend in a hot pink miniskirt named Todd. Whether your husband will have girlie nails or two more boxes cluttering the garage remains to be seen. Still, he's a man who not only noticed he has hands, but decided to groom them. Is he gay? Is he having an affair? Is he gay and having an affair? Or, did his boss glance at his hands and ask if he found inspiration in PETA posters of trapped animals gnawing off their paws? Tease him a little and you might learn something. Make a big, ugly deal out of this and it's likely to get bigger and uglier. Unless the $32 will impede you from paying rent or buying groceries, what's the problem? (As long as your grooming advice for him remains limited to stuff like, "Trim your nose hairs," not, "Go a little easier on the eyeliner.")

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, No. 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (advicegoddess.com).

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