30-something women dating younger men are now being referred to as pumas. And as much as I like to think of myself as a strong, secretive kitty with a purr as loud as a dog’s bark, casual ageism slips in at every possible turn when a woman dates a younger man.
And often, the mudslinging comes directly from your squad.
“How old is this one, then?” They ask.
Couples like Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas get criticised for their age gap all the time. The actress, 36, her husband, 26, has in the past addressed this double standard publicly, telling InStylethat people have given her a lot of s--- for it, and still do.
Whereas on the flipside no one questions the ages of our favourite couples when they ‘make sense’ in terms of social convention, for example Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, he is 7 years older. Then there is Queen Bey and Jay-Z – she is 37, he is almost 50.
It’s much like when women go out and ‘have sex like men’, they’re never praised, always shamed. The foot soldiers of the patriarchy punish them for disturbing the ‘natural’ power equilibrium, so to speak. It’s just too weird for them to wrap their heads around. Except in porn.
When I became single in 2017 at the age of 34 - after an 11-year relationship - my former boss gave me some dating advice: “Younger men are fantastic.” She met a guy at work – she was 36 and he was 26 at the time - they are now married and ridiculously happy.
But is this the exception or the rule?
In society at large, the proportion of homogamous couples (both spouses with the same age) decreased in the last 20 yearsand couples where the wife is older than the husband are less rare.
However, shade is still being thrown in heaps.
Is an older woman dating a younger man then in fact the very last taboo of dating? My friends didn’t care if I dated a guy from a different race, whether I dated a girl, my boss or colleague, a guy with much less money or ambition than me – the only issue, so big this BIG ISSUE could almost be sold in magazine form at the traffic light, was my age.
And, truly, older women going after younger men are not only seen in society as predators that stalk their prey ever so gently before going in for the kill. No. She is portrayed in porn like this, be it a more hyperbole, fetishized version of that, i.e. a sex-crazed Dominatrix type that likes to overpower men into willing submission; most of us cannot relate to “HOT MILF seduces neighbour’s 18-year-old son” or “Cougar spanks college student for being late to class, again,” type scenarios.
Age-gap relationships have just as much chance of success as homogamous couplings in my opinion. Younger guys want to hook up with older women who are in their 30s, up to 40s and older. This interest has always been there, and now, potentially it’s being stimulated an increased – sort of for the wrong reasons - because of the prevalence and acceptability of MILF fetish porn.
I asked a 25-year-old medical marijuana engineer I went on a Tinder date with to be honest with me. What are these guys, him included, after? A relationship or just sex?
“These guys hope you’re going to be this woman who does all this kinky stuff to them. And then find out you are just a normal girl. That’s why they don’t stick around,” he said.
“It just doesn’t complete the fantasy.”
Dating younger guys was never just about sex for me – often that part was quite disappointing. But to them, it has become the only acceptable way to be with an older woman.
MILF and cougar porn have normalised fetishizing older woman, showing that in 2019, older women dating younger men can only be deemed acceptable as a fantasy, largely reducing these age-gap relationships only to a sexual exchanges – crushing any potential for a meaningful relationship.
What are your thoughts on age-gap love? Chat with us here.
Sign up to W24’s newsletters