I am not a dater, not really. I have stumbled into some..situations, we'll say...but no serious relationships since my husband died. Is it because I hate men? Not at all. I love men. I like talking to them, flirting with them, hanging out with them, being with them. Sometimes I think I have more in common with men than women. I love sports, playing pool and tossing back Tuaca shots almost as much as I love getting a mani-pedi or a facial.
But I have realized something about 40-something men and it's not too attractive. Most of the ones I chat with really think they are something they are not. Their egos have been battered along the way either by cheating ex-spouses or life in general so they overcompensate with grandiose statements that make me wince. (Not judging here: hell, anyone who has lived a life and risked their hearts has suffered some wounds and accumulated some baggage, whether man or woman.) But the men I talk to say things like the following:
- "Most 40-something women want to be rescued". (By the way, the 46 year old divorced man who said this to me is currently living in the spare room of a buddy's house, starting over from scratch after losing his business, and is bankrupt.) Here's the truth: most of the 40-something women I know are educated independent professionals, either entreprenuers or sucessful career types, who love their kids and their friends with abandon. In other words, they've got it goin' on.
- "Women our age just want daddies for their kids." Not true. If a 40-something woman has children she has most likely either been divorced or is widowed. If divorced, there is a baby daddy already who is either in the picture or not--either way, what makes you think you are good enough to be our children's father figure? Silly boy. If widowed--like me--I honor the memory of my children's father and protect my kids like the metaphorical mama bear. If you're lucky enough to even meet my children, then you've made it pretty far into my life. Don't assume you are "all that" and good enough to fill that role.
- "Younger women have less drama". This one makes me laugh. Less drama? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you are 42 and dating a 28 year old, for example, she DOES want to be taken care of, is still figuring herself out and is less mature than your 40-something counterpart. All that screams drama to me. Yes, your ego might get a boost from the delusion of your hotness, but you are actually setting yourself up for failure. A cute 28 year old chic doesn't go out with an overweight, balding 40-something man nearing the Viagra age without an agenda. All those things you were afraid of? Someone needing to be taken care of, someone wanting a baby daddy...? Well, that's exactly what you're getting in this scenario.
I truly adore men, but I am not pining away for Prince Charming to whisk me away. I actually enjoy being single. One day it would be nice to have a life partner to share sunsets, memories and laughs...but I am not looking for another husband. To the men I've spoken to who think all women in their 40's are looking for a ring, I hate to ding your fragile egos with the knowledge that we aren't.
I don't know many 40-something women who are needy or desperate in any way. Seriously, I don't. Maybe I'm just associating with the right crowd. As Kenny Chesney sings in his song Better as a Memory, "all my friends are pirates". My friend Molly said that to me once when we were talking about our friendship and I had to look it up on You Tube. (I don't listen to country music.) Maybe all my friends are pirates--savvy 40-something women with a lot of power wondering if they'll ever find a co-captain who can be their equal partner in life.
Maybe I am a pirate sailing solo for now and I'm okay with that. I like the freedom, the excitement of not knowing what's beyond the horizon and the control of sailing my ship any direction I choose.