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Monday, January 30, 2006

Gold digger, sugar daddy or love is blind (earlier: Sugar Daddy or Mrs. Robinson)

Their eyes met, hands brushed unintentionally, lips parted, slowly pushing her hair away from her face in the gentle glow of light, sweet nothings exchanged, her abandoned laugh; he drove to her place, got invited over for a drink, in the living room half goblets finished, in the background quiet crackling of burning wood, the room warm dimly lit by the firewood, comfortable silence, on the rug next to the fireplace, his one hand engaged with hers and the other hand following her curves over her satin dress, touching her skin here and there and her dress sliding with every roundness …

While reading the above passage did their age or the age difference ever cross your mind or were you blinded by the blindness of their love? Most likely you did not care; the moment was too beautiful to think of age. Was it a May-December romance? A gold-digger? A sugar daddy? If romance, love and passion are so intoxicating then why care about things such as age difference between lovers? Dig history you might find the reasoning.

I dug a bit and guess what I found? Babies, babies, babies and more babies! No. Not the unborn babies. The unborn babies did not create this mess. Unlike some societies that are governed by set equations, earlier societies were based on fertility. Whether it was harvesting, human and what have you. A woman starts losing her fertility after she hits her thirties whereas men retain their capability to conceive through to late in their lives. A woman as young as fifteen was partnered so that she could have as many children as possible hence the original idea of older man and younger woman.

Eventually, the phenomenon started to change as civilizations started to evolve and implemented more sophisticated forms of trade and farming. Enter patriarchal societies and glamour. People of influence and power started their pursuit of permanent youthfulness and they could not find the fountain of youth. So, to achieve their need they started associating themselves with younger partners to revive and retain their youthfulness, vigor and status. Coincidently, at that time in history these people of power and influence were - men. Over the period of time this perseverance changed to exploitation and finally a norm. Older man and younger woman; this righteousness was further strengthened in older and eventually economically weaker societies in the form of arranged marriages. Arranged marriage is still a very common practice in South Asia. Under arranged marriage the compatibility of bride and groom takes a back seat to bride being young, enticing and docile to the influential, physically strong, dominating groom. Her primary roles make babies and take care of the family. Okay, this is not men bashing altogether. Further, inspecting history it is found that in some cases where women were in positions of power and influence they found younger male partners for themselves. Irrespective, common factor is that whoever has been in position of power and influence has been a "youth digger" or pursuing the prime of human life cycle.

After the advent of women's lib, Cultural Revolution, globalization and migration the second half of twenty first century has seen the difference in the balance of power shrink between the genders. Career and compatibility is in focus; individual priorities are taking precedence; companionship is more important as compared to just making babies and fulfilling the social equation. Babies have become complementary to companionship. Result, it is the moment spent together like the one mentioned earlier than just following the society sanctioned norms even though they may not suit the current times.

This piece is not a zero-sum evaluation or a conclusive what is better. Sources and inspiration for this work came from the Internet and National Geographic (02/2006). This contains the social perspective of relationships, there will be part two to this covering human psychology in relationships.

Some relations to study:
William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway (William 8 years younger)
Mail order brides (order your age difference from variety of locations around the world)
Various Monarchs at different times in history (Cleopatra, Greeks, Romans, Medieval Europe etc.)
Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz (Justin 9 years younger)
Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore (Ashton 15 years younger)
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (Brad 12 years older)