Last week, the Dude and I went for a party. It was one of my best friends’ birthday and I really wanted him there with me. She doesn’t approve of our relationship. She doesn’t get the dating other people bit, the huge age gap between us, and most of all, the shrug I give her every time she asks me the million-dollar question: “Do you see a future with him?”
I knew The Dude wasn’t very excited about going. We’d just flown back into town that morning and a part of me dreaded that he’d be silent and sullen, cementing my friend’s opinion that I should be dating younger, more ‘eligible’ men. My fears were unfounded. The Dude was on his A-game that night. For a guy notorious for his aversion to commitment, he was performing admirably well. He was funny, smart and witty; and I could see that despite my friend’s best efforts, she was charmed. He was going all out for me.
The evening was going beautifully until another friend whisked me away to the smoking room to grill me about the man I couldn’t keep my eyes and hands off. Her first question, predictably, was, “How old is he?” I told her. “Isn’t that a bit too old? You could do so much better.” I knew she didn’t mean it maliciously, so I didn’t snap at her. But it wasn’t without trying.
I get a lot of raised eyebrows every time I tell someone I’m in love with a man who is 15 years older, divorced and with no intentions of ever getting married again. Most of the time, I fall in one of three categories:
» The gold digger: Because he’s loaded and I’m a poor writer with an unhealthy obsession with bags;
» I have daddy issues: Because it’s common knowledge that my dad hates what I do. And, my absolute favourite;
» I am the desi wannabe Carrie Bradshaw. Like a lot of haters of this column, many friends think I’m with him for the sheer volume of content he provides for this column.
Fortunately, he loves being cast in the part of Mr Big. Hot, mysterious and unforgettable… Who wouldn’t? I suppose I could think of it as a silver lining. He wouldn’t be quite as tickled if people were writing in to say, ‘Dude, you’re a copycat Miranda!’ As much as he loves me, I think he’d draw the line at being Steve.
The reasons we’re together are pretty regular: he excites me way more than any of my ‘better’ options. Even before I found out how good he was in bed, I found him to be one of the most mentally stimulating men I’d met. I looked forward to a dinner with him more than playing tonsil hockey with a hot 20-something I’d been set up with. I can’t think of a better reason for wanting to date someone.
That night, I thought long and hard about the 15 years that separate us. Was there something I was missing? Was his age really that important? Turns out, it is. Because while I may not be a gold digger or ridden with daddy issues (the jury’s still out on whether I’m a 35-year-old confused fictional woman); I do love being with an older man. Why? Because:
» The years may have added a few inches to the waistline, but they’ve added a whole lot more to his skill in bed. Two words: Multiple orgasms. Sigh;
» I unashamedly play the younger and inexperienced card with him. And as long as I don’t push too many wrong buttons, he lets me get away. It suits me perfectly;
» He gives really good advice because he’s done so much, seen so much and earned so much. I’d be making littler money if he wasn’t around;
» He knows really cool stuff about movies, music, books, politics, history… And I don’t feel like an idiot when I don’t have the foggiest clue what he’s talking about, because a lot of the times those are references from almost two decades before I was born. Win-win;
» His mid-life crisis makes me feel so much better about my quarter-life one. Because there’s no way my imaginary wrinkles can beat the lines that are beginning to appear on his forehead. It’s shallow, but well, whatever;
» Someone has already trained and domesticated him. I get to reap the benefits of clean towels, food in the fridge and a liveable house;
» For a successful man of 40, a relationship isn’t about regular and easy sex. It’s about being with a person that gets him. For The Dude, that person is me. Now excuse me while I go calm my ego down.