Want to meet a few adults who you’re going to want to slap nice and briskly a few times? Great – just check out this article from Dr. Peggy Drexler entitled Are You Older Than Your Parents’ Dates?
If I am not mistaken, I took a Psychology class at OSU taught by Dr. Peggy Drexler, by the way. Needless to say, she’s very smart. Also, I am somewhat familiar with the topic because in my twenties, my dad’s dates were frequently about my age, although my dad was at the time known among the bikers as Captain Scum, and I’m not sure “date” is the correct nomenclature.
The way it worked with Captain Scum was, he had an 8×10 frame on his coffee table, and whoever his new girlfriend was, he put her picture in the frame. This strikes me now as quite a bit of effort back in the eighties and nineties; I assume he had to roll by Fotomat in the K-Mart parking lot to get the ladies’ pictures blown up to frame size, then it probably took several minutes to dismantle the frame and put the new photograph in it. Trust me, if my old man was spending several minutes on you, then you were something special indeed.
Comically, when there was no specific girlfriend, he removed the picture and reverted it back to an autographed photo of Steve Martin wearing a white suit with a trout sticking out of the inside pocket. Steve Martin had signed the photograph “To Dave, Best Fishes, Steve Martin.” It was my dad’s pre-Internet Facebook Relationship Status, and no, I’m afraid it wasn’t very complicated.
See how I’m amused by that and not bitching about it? That’s because in the end, what my dad did and what he does is none of my business. I’m an adult. Just listen to the way the grown up people in this article automatically assume that the dating habits of their parents are some of their business:
First, we meet Mallory, who was “nearing 30 when her 60-something father divorced her mother and started dating younger women.” Personally, I was nearing 5 when my father divorced my mother and started dating younger women, but Mallory was having a hard time of it. Why?
“First of all, he’d be a hung over mess every Sunday,” says Mallory. “It was impossible to get him on the phone, never mind keep our regular Sunday breakfast date. And he started to think he was cooler than me, or something. Like, he’d tell me about new bands, or clubs or restaurants I ‘really should try.’ He’d make fun of me for staying in on a Saturday night.”
Couple of things, Mallory. First off, he does sound cooler than you. Second, a regular Father-Daughter breakfast date every Sunday sounds lovely, until it’s freaking mandatory. I wonder why he’d rather go out with attractive women on Saturday night instead of keeping fresh for his trip to Bob Evans on Sunday. Doesn’t he know he’s old and that his life outside his identity as your father is over? If only he’d fall down the stairs and break a hip, you could be happy.
Then there’s Jamie:
“Jamie’s mom started dating one of Jamie’s co-workers, a guy Jamie had a secret crush on. ‘So there was that,’ says Jamie. ‘The fact that she was literally helping to shrink my dating prospects. But then thinking of them together forced me to see her as a sexual person. And I don’t want to think about my mom having sex,’ she says”
Again, Jamie. I know that you don’t want to think about your mom having sex, but I can guarantee you that your mom wants to think about having some sex. If your mom is stealing your dates then your mom’s not the one with the problem. And that’s the problem with secret crushes, by nature they leave your quarry available for anyone to snap up, including your clearly hot mom. That’s why most grownup boys and girls stop employing the Secret Crush Technique circa 8th grade.
“28-year-old Cara says she felt conflicted about her mother’s two-year relationship with a 26-year-old artist. ‘In one sense, I thought it was great she could attract a young, good-looking guy,’ says Cara. ‘At the same time, I couldn’t help but think she was being immature and a total hypocrite. She was always very strict while I was growing up, and there she was running around with someone who was barely out of his teens.’ More than once, Cara threatened not to talk to her mom anymore unless she started dating men her own age.
See, Cara starts out strong. She thinks it’s great her mom can get a young, good-looking guy – me too. Good for you, Cara’s Mom!
But then Cara yanks off her Reasonable Mask and decides that her mom is a hypocrite because she was always so strict about who Cara dated as a teenager. And that would be a great point if this were Freaky Friday and Cara’s Mom was now a teenager and Cara was now Cara’s Mom’s Mom. But no, as you may have guessed, nobody swapped bodies, and Cara’s Mom, after giving Cara life and caring for her for two decades, is now simply Getting Her Groove Back, Stella-Style.
I like how Cara threatened not to talk to her mom anymore unless she dated the type of guy Cara wanted her to. Several times, because if people don’t take your threats seriously, it’s more likely that they’ll start to once you do nothing and repeat the same threat. As soon as I’m thirty, I’m SO out of here!
You know, I don’t really care who dates who, or why, but something really bothered me about this article, and it’s not the old people or their younger dates.
It’s the weirdly entitled adult children of the old people, and their firm conviction that it’s time to tell their folks what to do. And these aren’t helpless old people who need fed and diapered. They’re healthy people who sound like they’re kicking some Old People Ass.
This must be part of the weird trend we’re seeing with this generation, the tendency of certain twentysomethings to be perfectly content living unabashedly with their folks. I love my mom, for sure – but I pulled a truck up to the house and moved the hell out two months after high school on my own steam, because to do anything otherwise was to stay a kid.
The general problem here is full-grown adults assuming that forever they should be mommy or daddy’s special snowflake, the humming crystal core at the center of all their decisions.
I know, that was nice when we were children. Now you’re an adult so how about looking in the mirror, and worrying about that.