Today it’s still somehow more acceptable for a man to be older than his wife; perhaps dating from when women were financially dependent, first upon their fathers and then upon husbands to support them.
But how wide can an age gap be before people find it uncomfortable?
The documentary “She’s 78, he’s 39: Age Gap Love” addressed this question.
First up was Joan, 68, exercising vigorously while 29-year-old lover Phil played computer games upstairs. Joan’s husband had made her promise on his deathbed to get a breast enlargement. A rather odd dying wish but after 50 years of marriage, presumably he knew best what made her happy? (Some might also have suggested ditching the scary eyeliner…)
Apparently a bust measurement 43F makes clothes difficult to fit; given Joan’s petite frame, not tipping forwards might be on the problem list too. “I don’t want to look like mutton dressed as lamb” she said – understandable but hard to take seriously when she’d just bought a skin-tight leather studded mini-dress.
Equally fond of fashion statements was Edna, 78, knitting ferociously colourful tank-tops which husband Simon, 39, seemed happy to wear. Edna and Simon met through a shared love of the organ…. , (yes-organ music)and spent their time buying car boot-sale gifts for each other and eating ice creams.
Another couple we saw strolling hand-in-hand along the seafront at Brighton were Marilyn & William who were 45 and 16 respectively when they met eight years ago. Happy together but frowned upon in the community.
Gary, 60, took Kate his 30 year old girlfriend to Ibiza to hit the club scene for her birthday. Did he look out of place or did he care? Not a jot! Nor did she seem to notice he was the oldest in the crowd.
His adult children had difficulty accepting Kate at first. Not necessarily age-related – she moved in very soon after his marriage ended. Kate wasn’t worried about not having her own family, “I couldn’t stay at home doing nothing looking after children.” (Can confidently reassure her that looking after small children does not entail “doing nothing”.)
Meanwhile Mike, 74, and Lyndsey, 33, have a 3 year old son and adorable 2 month old daughter. The old chestnut “Are older fathers being selfish?” arose – as if younger fathers are always selfless and dedicated… Sweeping generalisations are pointless, illness can strike any at any age: two of the younger husbands had health problems which they said their older wives handled better than “young girls who panic”. None of us knows how long we’ll live but Mike was clearly determined to make whatever time he had with his little ones the best he could.
Of course it’s easy to laugh at other people’s eccentricities but we all need love and happiness in our lives.
In my early twenties, I believed my marriage would last forever. Sadly, it didn’t after 20 something years.
Single second time around, while we may not reach that Golden Wedding moment, we all have the possibility for finding love again.
It seems that its never to late
but, maybe Id prefer to find that single man who’s a little closer to my own age group.