LOVE? MAYBE. BUT HOW YOUNG IS TOO YOUNG?

“Stereotypically, ‘the man old enough to be her father/grandfather’ scenario tends take place between twenty something year old lady and uh hum much older gentleman. He usually has a few pennies in the bank, she, well, generally has assets of a different kind.”

So, 15 year old Megan was found alive and unharmed with her absconder in France and all is well in the world.

What do you mean you don’t know who I’m talking about?  Sure you do, it’s that 15 year old girl who decided to escape, I mean, elope, I mean, was kidnapped, I mean took a holiday…. well, presently,  it’s still unknown which of the aforementioned it might be… holiday, kidnapping, crush indulgence or perhaps plain and simple ‘true love’.

Whichever of the multiple options you may choose, the actual truth behind why Megan disappeared to France with her school teacher twice her age won’t be known for a few days, at least not before both of them have been fully debriefed by authorities and parents.

There is, of course, the distinct possibility that it’ll be concluded that the couple’s ‘flight of fancy’ was consensual along with anything else that may have taken place during their escapade because the reality is that most young girls actually prefer to date men several years their senior and, yes, in many cases, men old enough to be a parent and sometimes even a grandparent. However, unpalatable this may seem (especially on a Sunday morning) it is nonetheless an all too familiar reality.

Stereotypically, ‘the man old enough to be her father/grandfather’ scenario tends take place between twenty something year old lady and uh hum much older gentleman. He usually has a few pennies in the bank, she, well, generally has assets of a different kind.  A good example of such an ‘alliance’ would be Hugh Hefner, notorious publisher of that sophisticated mag known as Playboy. Hefner, now 86 years of age, was due to marry another ‘young girl’ when he ditched her for the new ‘love of his life’ who’s a pert 27 years of youth. Closer to home, we have well known nightclub owner, Peter Stringfellow who was 68 when he married his wife, Bella, who was 26 years of age. Now I’m no mathematician but that makes a whopping age difference of 59 years for Hefner and 42 for Stringfellow.   Meanwhile, there’s a 26 years age difference between Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas, and so the story goes.

The question here is: are these matches made in heaven or in the lawyer’s office? Well, such extreme age disparities certainly appear to be endemic in relationships that feature the usual protagonist; a wealthy older guy.

And who said money doesn’t make you happy?

Okay…okay…please don’t write it, I will include the part that says I have no doubt that similar unions exist between couples  leading a much more humble existence yet  I’d be prepared to bet  10 times my own age that such blissful partnerships a very few and far between.

So, if these marriages are of ‘convenience’ what happened to that other fool called love?  Does he get forgotten somewhere between the pickup joint the lawyer’s office? Not necessarily. Just because somebody married ‘for convenience’ does that mean that they do not and cannot ‘love’ their partner? They do say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder so that means that even if it isn’t love at first sight; you can still grow to love somebody, right?  But on that basis, does it mean that now that Michael Douglas is most likely getting a bit ‘saggy’ in some areas that Catherine will have ‘grown’ to love him all the same? Well, if some of the content of their prenuptial agreement is anything to do go by, I’d say we can’t really use her as an example because she has other ‘incentives’. Yes indeed, Catherine  proves the that theory that one can have brains as well as beautify for she is alleged to have included a penalty of $5-million (£3-million) if the reformed sex addict (Douglas) were to stray. She also ‘negotiated’ a fee of £2 million for every year the couple stay married, although this was later amended to a puny £1 million a year.  Tom Cruise and his soon to be (or is by now and who cares) ex also have a similar arrangement, as do many other celebrities.

And who said romance was dead?

Make no mistake; whilst I may have quoted celebrities to draw you into the argument, such grandiose acts of affection are not reserved exclusively for the rich and famous. Yes, in this fast, frenetic world we’re all living in, time is precious and nobody wants to waste several months and maybe even a few years of their life in a relationship that may ‘come to nothing’ and that’s why more and more people are turning to the law to ensure that their marriage vows stay as fresh as the day they were murmured.  Some of the most scandalous pre vow vows include the wife who demanded that her husband retain his washboard torso or be kicked to the curb, the husband who demanded compensation if his wife exceeded a weight threshold, the husband who demanded 4 cooked meals a week or the wife lost her shopping allowance, the husband who in a divorce would get the pool boy and the wife who’d get the gardener (well good help is hard to find),  then it was one football game a week with friends for one husband, whilst one visit by the mother in law per quarter for a wife, fines for positive drug testing for a husband, sex once a month for an elderly lady and no more, sex a minimum of one week for one young couple and no straying. Then there’s the relatively famous ‘no nappy’ clause for those couples who agree before marriage not to have children and want to avoid any change (or lack of) contraception later.

I could go on all day but I’m sure you’re all thoroughly nauseated by such publish displays of love and I wouldn’t want you feel queasy just before food.

No?

What do you mean that isn’t love? Sure it is. It’s just organized love. What do you mean you haven’t heard of that either?  Organised love is where two people can go about their daily existence relatively free from the danger of everyday relationship breakers, you know, like money pressures, straying terrors, neglect, and so on. If you both stipulate your likes and dislikes of a marriage before you tie the knot and then enshrine it in a legal document with severe penalties then you’ve sanitized your marriage, sterilised it to make sure not pesky bugs come along and make you both physically sick at the sight of each other further down the line.

Not love? Sure it is.

What is love anyway? Do you know?

If you took 30 seconds to consider that before moving onto the next paragraph do you think you’d have definition for me? Go on; think for a few seconds, in your opinion, what is real love?

Whatever your conclusion one thing is for sure; the conclusion you reach is yours and yours alone because the true meaning of love is yet to be defined or, more specifically many throughout the centuries have tried to define love through music, paintings, photography, food and a whole medley of ways but each and every one has always been unique to the protagonists involved because the truth is that love is one of those things that is truly subjective; my definition of love may well differ from  yours, some things that you interpret as romantic would probably do nothing for me  and vice versa.  E.g. a husband who buys his wife flowers and chocolates on a regular basis could be construed as a love sick puppy but if he’s buying those flowers at the weekend yet he beats her during the week then he’d be construed as just sick. Yet, his wife may still see it as love because she doesn’t subscribe to the theory that it’s ‘better to be alone than in bad company’.

This is, after all, what makes us human. What floats your boat may not necessarily float mine.  Two different directors can direct the same movie but each will interpret the same script in a different way.  The same is of chefs and food. These are the things that make us unique and it’s this uniqueness that stands us apart from others of our kind and what makes us attractive to our partners.

What I’m getting it is really one of my least favourite sayings; there are plenty of ways to skin a cat (who the hell came up with that one anyway?) and it really does take all sorts.  My ex was 11 years my junior and I think I can safely say that there were only a few ways to notice the difference (which I won’t go into here) but, ultimately, our minds were pretty much of the same maturity.  Age differences in relationships are no longer that unusual although I still remain of the belief that such gargantuan differences as the ones highlighted above are, and it’s these  that sets are minds racing as do the ones that we deem to be just a tad too close the cradle. The latter in particular being the one we find most offensive as it is uncomfortably close to that nefarious of practices;  paedophilia.

And it’s clear that it’s this that legislators have been wrestling for years. Under age sex both in heterosexual and homosexual relationships; when is young too young?

Well some doctors have asserted time and time again that the brain of a young female is 2 years more developed than that of her male counterpart which technically means that girls should be old enough to consent to sex at the age of 14! Yep, there’s that old uncomfortable feeling again. When you see it in black and white, it just doesn’t sit well. The truth being, of course, that if you tried to use this defence in a court of law, they’d laugh at you.

Whatever your opinion, the harsh reality is that girls do tend to prefer older boys and by association men despite the fact that this goes against years of evolution (there’s a clear reduction in sperm count in older men than that of their younger counterparts) and this is one of the reasons why an American scientist is about to embark on a quarter of a million pound project focussing on the study of zebra fish! Yep, zebra fish, apparently they were selected because they fertilise their eggs externally thus making the whole ‘process’ easier to mimic. Meanwhile, a study conducted in the 1980s concluded that a young female’s preference for an ‘older’ man is due to the tendency that older males will have accumulated more ‘attractive’ (or life) resources otherwise known as ‘resource acquisition’. This, scientists argue, also makes evolutionary sense because by allying herself with a man ‘of experience’ the female feels secure in terms of ‘safety’ and ‘protection’ and thus more likely to ‘survive’ (although I’m sure there are a few women out there who would beg to differ!)

Ultimately, there is no denying the fact that love, and I’m talking about the ‘real love’, not the one fabricated inside the laboratory of a contract or the one you hope will germinate and grow from persistent exposure, I’m talking about the one that makes you smile, your stomach giddy, sets your pulse racing and your heart pounded just at the mere thought of the object of your affection, does exist and it is indeed blind.  It compels us to perform acts way out of our own character and often to our own detriment and yet it is the embodiment of bliss. It knows  nothing of age, gender, beauty or creed, nor does it know what may or may not be socially acceptable.

Love, in its true form, simply is.

Have a blissful day.

4 Comments

  1. Francesca Pratt says:

    This is always a tricky and Taboo subject it is fraught with all kinds of obstacles from ridicule disgust and loathing within our Society not to mention practical problems .
    though we cannot know where our Heart will lead us in the Journey of love it would have to be genuine true Love to overcome the above trials .
    in many Global Societies Age has no relevance long as the Female is able to procreate and continue with perpetuating the Bloodline obviously Love would rarely be present
    here .
    The problem with one’s Heart is it knows neither Age Colour or Creed and we need more of it on this World .
    The Author once again touches yet again on another Taboo subject which will have his readers discussing over their Sunday Lunch .

  2. Tammy says:

    Love – Quote: ‘I’m talking about the one that makes you smile, your stomach giddy, sets your pulse racing and your heart pounded just at the mere thought of the object of your affection, does exist and it is indeed blind. It compels us to perform acts way out of our own character and often to our own detriment and yet it is the embodiment of bliss. It knows nothing of age, gender, beauty or creed, nor does it know what may or may not be socially acceptable’ – Love that! Nobody could have put it better :O)

  3. Sandra says:

    Love and being in love yes to me there is a difference. You can, as you say love lots of people and things. But to be in love with someone is totally different and we do not choose who to fall in love with it just happens. Age does not come into it. My dad adored my mum till the day he died. And against all the odds and people saying it wont last they were together for 6 monthsshort of 60 years.

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