Are women over 35 past it?
DEMI MOORE wouldn't do it for me, nor Mrs Robinson from The Graduate. Men are obsessed with younger women. And we make no apologies for it.
And you know what? You can blame women. We are our shallow selves because of you. See, women have perpetuated the ideal of the body beautiful. Take the role models in women's magazines. Blokes can't help but be attracted to the image created. Youth and beauty is central to that.
You have enjoyed having that power over us. When you were young, you played us like the fools we were. You can't start complaining now, as time and gravity steal your looks. You could have trained us blokes to see your inner beauty. But no, you played the short game and it suited you to muck about with our hormones.
There is also the fact that we men are apes trying to masquerade as civil beings. We are hardwired to reproduce. And, of course, it stands to reason that we will look for younger, healthy mates. Although we do draw the line at Lindsay Lohan.
What about baggage? The older you get, the more you accumulate. The older woman has more ex-boyfriends. She may even have an ex-husband, or perhaps a couple if she's been busy.
And if there are no kids? That's almost worse. That ticking noise you hear every time you see her? That's her biological clock booming. You'll either be seen as 'daddy material' or not and she'll be the judge, jury and executioner (of the relationship) should you not fit the bill. Sounds harsh? Women over 35 don't mess about.
Now to health: in recent years people have been worried about STDs. Now it's FTDs, which is, of course, an abbreviation of 'Financially Transmitted Diseases'. And we men just cannot afford any financial baggage. Take the case where the older woman owns the ex-husband's assets. He signed them over to her when he was on the run from the banks. Suddenly you find yourself in the middle of High Court proceedings or a bitter row between the ex-spouses.
Then there is the moral majority. Don't mind this guff about us being a liberal society. Walk in to the parents with a cougar on your arm and be prepared. It is simply not the done thing. An older woman will suffer, too. 'Jezebel', 'toy-boy grabber' are just some of the names that they could expect to hear. There will be sniggers.
With an older woman you often hear that 'what you see is what you get'. Not quite. When you date the older woman think Botox, breast enlargement, face-lifts, liposuction, arse suction. These procedures don't come cheap.
Now to the emotional cost. Have you women ever considered the dreadful hurt us men go through when we are abandoned? No, thought not.
You see, men are disposable playthings to the older woman. The cougar is a predatory hunter often travelling hundreds of miles -- or at least a few pubs -- at night in search of better prey. They will eventually find some younger model. You will be cast aside without a thought. As my mate Michael sobbed over the phone to me one night he suddenly realised it. He had "just been used for . . . sex". That awful degrading feeling.
And if nothing I've written so far has convinced, here's the most influential factor against dating women over 35 - Madonna. I rest my case.
IT IS widely accepted that women mature faster than men, but what you may not know is that no sooner do men reach their peak of maturation than they start to regress.
They turn around in their heads and start going back the other way. It's up there with ‘their ears never stop growing' in the true and interesting facts about men (as opposed to the true but infinitely dull facts).
This is why so many a mid-life crisis for a man involves grown-up versions of toys they used to have as a child. Think about it. A mid-life crisis for a woman might manifest itself in a new haircut, a slightly inappropriate outfit, or lamenting the halcyon days gone by with a good friend over a glass of wine. Then they just get on with it and realise how great life is now in a completely different way. Whereas men buy motorbikes, flash cars, or take up an extreme sport just to prove they still can.
Shrink them down in your mind's eye, and you have little boys at play. They think it makes them look younger, and certain men apply this same logic to women, albeit subconsciously. These men will tell you that younger women are more fun, and have a delightful attitude to life that women over 35 have long since let go.
What a feeble excuse, men. Your choice of partner says a lot about who you are, and some men take this literally. Men who look across a table at a woman much younger than them think that what they see is a reflection of who they are.
It's a bit like reverse beer goggles; looking at his much younger girlfriend makes a man feel younger and more attractive than he actually may be. Until he catches himself in a shop window and thinks how nice it is that that young woman is out with her dad on a Friday night. There's a fine line between playboy and the oldest swinger in town; a fine but tragic line. Walk it at your peril, gentlemen.
Is there a social ineptitude to such men?
Is it that they know they can no longer impress their female peers with their conversation and repartee? Growing up, we all knew the kid on the street who hung around with the younger ones to make themselves feel a little bit brighter, but then the younger kids would grow up and pass them by. It's like the 50-year-old backpacker propping up the beach bar in Thailand; he may think he's a free spirit, but actually he's a lost soul.
This may all sound somewhat harsh, and I'm loath to sound like the woman approaching a certain age sounding bitter. I happen to be engaged to someone pretty close to my own age, but I often dated older men when I was in my 20s. Mainly because they didn't call me ‘dude' and could pay for my drinks.
I'm kidding, of course; there were many whose company I adored, but I didn't seek them out because they were older. It just happened that way. But I never ruled out a particular age group, and any man who does so is, frankly, a fool.
Of course, with some men, their lives and careers are often so busy that they may want to date without being challenged by an equal, or they suspect women their own age may have an agenda, so a younger woman fits the bill.
I'm not implying that all younger women are frivolous or insincere (but you never see pretty young things going for destitute older men, do you?), and equally not all women over 35 are weighed down by misery and their biological clocks.
So I say to you men out there with such self-imposed ‘rules': keep an open mind and give it a try. If you fall for a younger woman, great.
But equally, the love of your life and the most fun person you've ever met may be just around the corner and she may even have watched the same TV shows as you growing up.