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Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, So Can I Get Yours?

Room for Squares

Age ain’t nothing but a number, or so the saying goes. But how many people actually agree with that line of thinking? Ask anybody on the street what comes to their minds when they spot an intergenerational couple and you might find that their responses veer far from what you would expect. After all, how many of us can claim not to be cynics when we look at an older gentleman with a much younger lover?

It’s silly really, especially considering the fact that people rarely bat an eyelash now at interracial couples when 40 years ago they made such a big deal over the locked lips of Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura. You’d think that similar progress would have been made on the age front. But still, even in these free-wheeling modern times of Tila Tequila and “I Love New York,” where love is played out as recklessly as if it were a playground sport, the first thing that I think of when I see a younger man with a much older partner is “gold digger!”

I’ll admit that such thinking is completely absurd and uncalled for, especially considering the fact that I myself have been known to fancy older men (from time to time). But for some reason, I can’t keep from thinking these thoughts. Hell, the older guy doesn’t even have to be loaded. In my mind, I’ve already branded the relationship a one-way ticket to heartbreak and debt. Misconceptions like these are so hard to shake.

Perhaps part of the reason is that the general idea of being “kept” by an older man seems dishonest and distasteful, at least in my opinion. Of course, I’m speaking from my lofty tower of lonely nights in front of the television screen with buckets of ice cream and popcorn to spare. If I asked myself honestly, however, maybe I’d realize that I might not be the best person to place judgment on the dating patterns of my generational peers who are after a little more than emotional security. After all, who’s to say that the older half of the equation isn’t getting something in return?

Unfortunately, that’d only be one way of looking at it. As with all social practices, there are several angles and I can’t write off my reactions just for the sake of being PC. While it may be hypocritical to pass judgment on those who seek out older men as a form of supplemental income, judgment must be made on unsavory behavior all the same. The same can be said for the other defendant, the other party to the crime, also known as the “chicken hawk.”

If you don’t know, a chicken hawk is an older man that specifically targets partners who look young, regardless of their age. Whether or not that distinction goes as far as pederasty, I won’t discuss. And while it’s almost certain that for every chicken hawk there is somewhere a willing chicken ready to be plucked, it goes without saying that not all young men would welcome advances from a man of advanced age.

Let’s be honest with ourselves though. Whether or not your target is willing, which one of us hasn’t been guilty of ogling that sometimes irresistible beauty of the younger man? True, the differences in age might not range into illegal double digit extremes, but it’d be unfair to condemn these older gentlemen of urges we all feel when the only thing they’re guilty of is being older than the objects of their affection…so long as those objects are themselves above minimum age requirements.

Characterizations like these, of the chicken hawk and their dim-witted, money hungry twinks/chickens, aren’t really hard to come by in popular art and in the media. Come to think of it, neither are their real life counterparts. Age disparity in sexual relationships has been around and accepted since Western civilization took its first baby steps. The Ancient Greeks accepted it, to a certain extent, as a rite of passage. So you see, we aren’t so different from how we were then. Though we’re about 3000 years older, I’d like to think that age still ain’t nothing but a number.