You heard the news. Hot-tempered Alec Baldwin, 54, just got engaged to a 28-year-old yoga instructor, Hilaria Thomas. Did he also buy a convertible? Is he going through a midlife crisis? Baldwin engaged to a girl young enough to be his daughter …
What’s up with these youth-crazed 50-something men and the women marrying guys who could be their fathers?
Jacqueline Bouvier immediately comes to mind as my generation’s representative of those women who married older guys. John F Kennedy was 12 years her senior and Aristotle Onassis, 23 years her elder. And boy, do I remember how, after words of endearment about the famous first lady, came the malicious jokes about her second marriage. She surely married Onassis for his fortune!
I remember as a teenager being cruelly judgmental of younger women dating older men. Lobas, gold-diggers, cougars… we never fell short of appellatives. They were going – we had no doubt – after the money or the social position. We would not do that! I mean… those women were after the executives, the celebrities. I’m certain I was not the only arriving at those conclusions.
Interestingly, you will find a number of reports on the Internet about Europeans and Jewish men in Latin American countries in search for younger Latinas who are at a financial disadvantage, to marry and have children with.
Back to the rich and famous, men know why women date them and don’t seem to care: Donald Trump knows that his power and money are a turn-on for women. Italian ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi adamantly proclaimed with a smile a couple of years ago that women went after him because “he was loaded.” So, there is some history to that. Money and fame attract unscrupulous women. I’ve met a few. But, can we generalize?
Nature has given men some advantages
Nature is kinder to men after their third decade of life. And society has also been kinder with their behaviors and even with their appearance.
It puzzles me to see how men’s wrinkles seem to spell ‘maturity,’ and their gray hair is seen as holding ‘sex-appeal,’ while every sign of women’s aging process needs to be mitigated or hidden. There is a multi-billion dollar industry built around women’s insecurities about their bodily appearance and the aging process. In the meantime guys lose their hair – which women don’t seem to mind – but don’t get cellulite! Life is not fair.
When we celebrated our 25 years of graduation from medical school I found at the homecoming reunion that most of my male peers had gone through divorce and were married again, only a few years (even months) later, to much younger women.
I wondered how would I have looked had a married a man 15 or 20 years my junior?
Not acceptable when you’re not Madonna or Demi Moore, right? Mrs. Robinson and similar Hollywood attempts at breaking the stereotype have not been that successful.
Truth is, I personally know very few cases of long-lasting marriages when the age difference has to be fiercely hidden with makeup or even plastic surgery. I mean, when the older one is she.
There are psychological and biological reasons to explain the mating of men in their late forties or fifties with younger women.
Because of my psychoanalytical training, I was always inclined to believe that the ladies who married an older man had unresolved issues with their fathers, maybe unresolved Electra complexes or weak egos …
Now, both psychological and biological science allows us to understand the reasons under a new light!
Psychology would tell us that at 42, Baldwin was probably now going through a midlife crisis in 2002 when he divorced Kim Basinger, who was 47. No, it was not because of his own age, but because he had seen Kim approaching menopause, which announced the end of her reproductive years, that they split. Men are in the world to plant their seeds, didn’t you know?
And that’s where biology comes in: a younger woman is -obviously – reproductively more valuable than her older counterpart, no matter how much in vitro fertilization has advanced.
Although probably having children is not necessary in Baldwin’s mind, his choice of a younger woman is likely to be the call of nature, biology would say.
Turns out then that men don’t buy a convertible to herald their middle crisis or compensate for, ahem, their need for Viagra. Men buy convertibles (first of all, because in middle age they probably can afford one) to attract younger ladies; there might not even be such a thing as midlife crises! Hence, Baldwin having fame and money hasn’t had the need to replace his Mercedes.
Now, as for the reasons for why women date or marry older men, psychology hasn’t elucidated the question, except for suggesting that an older (and well-established) man provides the lady with a sense of security. So, it is after all, the money they’re after, huh?