He probably grew up having to pitch in and help with dinner (if only to defrost it); he knows his way around a washing machine, and maybe even had to change a diaper or two.When it comes to gender roles and the division of labor, you're better off with a man whose mother has already fought the big battles for you.Staying over at a younger man's place may mean a breakfast of cold pizza and Mountain Dew, but at least you won't be offered Mylanta and Metamucil with your OJ.The reason for this is that he's Scarily Healthy.Parties, rock concerts, nightclubs—I dated the way I should have when I was younger: for fun, without an eye toward marriage. During that time, when I was in my late 30s, I made an important sociological discovery: Men over 40 are profoundly different from those under 35, and it's not just their hairlines.
We've been together for seven years now, and I'm so used to considering Bronson my peer that I often forget about our 13½-year age difference. In the beginning, if I wasn't thinking, Is he too young for me? someone else was thinking it for me—and blurting out, "Hey, have you seen How Stella Got Her Groove Back?Home cooking was something Bronson always hoped to experience, not The Way Things Used to Be.He'd walk a mile for my chocolate Kahlúa cheesecake, and he immediately bragged about my spaghetti sauce to his friends, who were envious of anything that didn't arrive by delivery boy.(In France.) Another guy old enough to have danced naked at Woodstock stared incredulously at my alternative rock CD collection ("I've never even heard of any of these guys," he said, waving around a Pearl Jam CD) and asked if I had any Kenny G or Jimmy Buffet.A guy who has spent the past 20 years in a well-insulated rut will make you tell his astounded buddies about the time you were in "a whaddya call it? " You may have the feeling that your relationship now qualifies as his official Walk on the Wild Side.What he may also have accumulated is an ex-wife (or two), and perhaps a child (or two), which means you get to be Daddy's New Friend.Or perhaps he never married but has in his past a nightmare of a long-term girlfriend who cheated on him with his former best friend.This is the guy who's missed so much in his years on the planet that being with him makes you feel embalmed.I stopped dating a 48-year-old television executive when he labeled me a "maniac" because I said I sunbathed topless.I was married once before, to a man five years my senior.After 12 increasingly dreary years capped by a wrenching divorce, I couldn't imagine why women in my situation (childless divorcées) complained about the prospect of reentering single life. Wasn't finally having some laughs, romance, and excitement the way to take the "crisis" out of "midlife"?