Are Older Women More Grateful?

Isn’t this a fabulous photo of a cougar?  Photo copyright by digitalART2; Creative Commons License.

He’s 23 and has the physique of a demi-god, but that’s not what attracted me to him.  It’s more the fact that he’s a firefighter with a wicked sense of humor.  I love it when a man can keep me laughing…in a good way.

Our first date is very casual–a cup of chai tea at a local establishment–to see if anything clicks between us.  Like most first dates, there’s a degree of sizing each other up and, like most guys, he tries to impress me with tales of his heroics or hard times he’s overcome.  I smile as I recognize the mating ritual in full play, and he’s made it quite clear that he’s interested.

Sitting across the narrow table from me, he confesses that he’s always adored older women but he can’t pin down the reason why.  He promises that whatever I might be interested in with him, he will not disappoint me.  That makes me laugh, even though he didn’t mean for it to be funny.  He’s trying very hard to be worthy of my attention, and I think it’s sweet.

He wonders aloud if older women are more interesting because we’re grateful, and oh, but that really makes me laugh.  And costs him a few points, too.  It’s an oft-stated assumption that’s, well, just plain wrong in the context of his question.

Ben Franklin wasn’t entirely accurate in his famous letter, known as the Old Mistress’ Apologue, in 1745:

But if you will not take this Counsel, and persist in thinking a Commerce with the Sex inevitable, then I repeat my former Advice, that in all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones. You call this a Paradox, and demand my Reasons. They are these:

1. Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stored with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreeable.

2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do Services small and great and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old Woman who is not a good Woman.

3. Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produced may be attended with much Inconvenience.

4. Because through more Experience, they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is they are safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather inclined to excuse an old Woman who would kindly take care of a young Man, form his Manners by her good Counsels, and prevent his ruining his Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.

5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.

6. Because the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin, and may lead to a Life unhappy.

7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy.

8 Eighthly and Lastly, They are so grateful!!Life Coaching Tips

The reason Ben’s advice sounds so off to me–besides being 265 years old–is that it’s from the point of view of a man already at middle age.  Maybe cougars 265 years ago were grateful,  but it just doesn’t fit so well in 2010.

I much prefer Frank Kaiser’s “In Praise of Older Women,” a column that is mistakenly attributed to Andy Rooney.  Even though it’s aimed at women a generation older than I am, I have appreciated the column since I first heard of it almost a decade ago.    My favorite parts?

Older women are sublime.  They seldom contemplate having a shouting match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive dinner.  Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Yes, women with a little bit of maturity aren’t as likely to be drama queens.  So right about that.  I hear this from my younger friends more than any other reason for appreciating an older woman.

And then there’s this gem that says it all:

An older woman has been around long enough to know who she is, what she wants, and from whom.

Time now to understand the word grateful in its proper context.   I’m not grateful because I’m desperate for a man, any man.  Too damned picky for that.  But when it comes to gratitude, yes, it’s there.

I am grateful for the sexy younger men in my life because I recognize that those full heads of hair and six-pack abs are fleeting, that that fiery passion and enthusiasm for life is often tamped down by the burdens  of paying the mortgage and feeding a family, that the rambunctious innocence of a young man can become jaded after a few drudge jobs and a divorce or two.  I appreciate that part of a man’s life and love to breathe it in with him before–as happens too often–he becomes tainted by the mundane.

Young men are still grateful themselves–a man in his 40’s will criticize an older woman’s weight, clothes, hair, ideas, and ideals whereas a man in his 20’s dismisses all those restrictions and shouts, “Woo-hoo, a naked woman!” without insisting she be registered to vote for the same party.

I’m filled with appreciation for such sweet men to be in my life and I’m grateful  because…well, because that’s what I like and what I get.  And if the Law of Attraction is working in its tip-top form, then my gratitude will serve me by bringing more younger men into my life of such outstanding caliber.