Lost in Translation

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About Andy Bodle

Andy Bodle is a journalist, scriptwriter and blogger who has written for the Guardian, the Times, the BBC, and ABC. He lives in mortal fear that his greatest achievement will remain winning Channel 4's Countdown in 1993. You can read more on his blog, Womanology, and follow him on Twitter: @_Womanology_.

Comments

  1. Candice says:

    Great story – I love Andy’s Womanology stories. I’m a 30 year old woman. I love the honest male perspective, it’s darn entertaining. xo.

  2. I wish I could be as “raw raw, you’re fabulous for your honesty” as Candice. But then I wouldn’t be being honest about my own opinions on this topic.

    Andy, I’m not sure what you want your readers to take away from this story.

    But as a woman, as me, this is what I’ve take away:

    Young girls make grown adult men feel *proud* for their interest simply because they are young.
    Apparently the greatest worth women hold to men is their ability to be baby-making machines.
    Sympathy should be given to grown adult men that preen and cave into the attentions of young girls.
    As long as a 15 year old says she is 18, it’s okay to still be attracted somewhat to her.

    Biological “facts” should only ever be applied to women and their loosing reproduction system. Meanwhile, there should be no mention of how men begin not being the best bioligical partners after 30 since 30 is when men’s sperm begins to slowly break down. With this in mind, lets not talk about the reality that older fathers contribute to birth defects as much as older mothers because as long as older men seek and have children with younger women, older men are immortal.

    If I sound a little snarky and bitter about this topic it’s because I am a little. And that’s just me being honest myself.

    I am tired of hearing about how much more worth men have biologically. I a tired of hearing older men make justifications and excuses for why they like younger woman. I’m tired of hearing women, young or old, being talked about in terms of their ability to be baby-making machines. Which doesn’t sound so bad when you site “statistics” like you did but is basically wrapped up in the idea that women are simply baby making machines and men choosing and evaluating us as that is perfectly okay and even preferred.

    I can’t force you to feel flattered at the respect and love a grown woman can give you vs the silly and cutesie attentions a 15 year old gave you. All I can say that as a woman in her 30s, it’s disappointing to read over and over and over again. Your story isn’t anything new. It’s a pretty common story a lot of men your age tell.

    We get it. Younger women are better. You don’t need to give us any facts to see that’s how men and society view us women. We live with it everyday. Through commericals that have 20 year olds selling anti-wrinkle commericals and men from 8 to 80 staring at the same age group of women and highlighting how much better they are over women getting older. (How dare us!) *You* biologically last longer in the world. You deserve younger women because of this. It’s only “normal” and “natural”…..
    Except you ignore a couple of big scores. You ignore the complete picture of men’s biology themselves. The fact that while men may have an abundance of sperm for a long time, that they are sperm biologically breaks down every year after 30. Which biologically actually means that men over 30 really aren’t the best biological partners either.

    You also miss out on how our world has been socialized to show older males more respect than older women. You miss out on the part that has nothing to do with biology and everything to do with a society that has a very strong hold and history in developing and holding onto men’s power in society over women.

    If you want to site facts, site all the facts, not the only ones that support what you believe is sound reasoning behind your experience.

    And also, please try to see us women as more than “baby makers’. Whether we are young or old. I doubt you want to be seen as a walking wallet. Women don’t want to be seen as walking wombs. We are people. Even if the world doesn’t always want to treat us women as people and enjoys more treating us as vessels for your sexual desires of youth and perfection.

    Women get old. And I apologize for my kind that we get old because we are obviously not really allowed to while you obviously are.

    • OirishM says:

      If I sound a little snarky and bitter about this topic it’s because I am a little. And that’s just me being honest myself.

      I am tired of hearing about how much more worth men have biologically. I a tired of hearing older men make justifications and excuses for why they like younger woman. I’m tired of hearing women, young or old, being talked about in terms of their ability to be baby-making machines. Which doesn’t sound so bad when you site “statistics” like you did but is basically wrapped up in the idea that women are simply baby making machines and men choosing and evaluating us as that is perfectly okay and even preferred.

      I can’t force you to feel flattered at the respect and love a grown woman can give you vs the silly and cutesie attentions a 15 year old gave you. All I can say that as a woman in her 30s, it’s disappointing to read over and over and over again. Your story isn’t anything new. It’s a pretty common story a lot of men your age tell.

      And we get tired being presented with articles like this:

      http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-danger-in-demonizing-male-sexuality/

      Where we’re told to be things that in our experience women systematically do not value. And when we complain, we’re told to “not take it personally”.

      Maybe you should not take it so personally, Erin?

      I get tired myself of men being repeatedly demonised for having shallow tastes in women when it seems that women are just as shallow. But no, when it comes to women’s tastes, we have to suck it up and deal with it.

      A little reciprocity in that regard from women when it comes to men’s tastes would be nice.

      • Oirish,I’m not really sure why you responded to my postings. Based on your response, it doesn’t appear that you are that interested in what I had to say. Nothing was really acknowledge about anything I shared.

        Perhaps it would be helpful to talk about the article you referenced under that actual article? And discuss the topic here under this article? I don’t want to open a discussion about another article under this one.

        You’re main response was about the things *you* suffer from in response to my comments. If you don’t want to hear me, how can you expect me to want to hear you?

        Does anything I said here negate the idea that women can’t be shallow too? No. All it does is address the topic in *this* article about the tendency men have in prizing youthful women over even their own peers. Frankly, I am tired of men using the “I feel demonized” phrase anytime they are forced to confront something that some women very well may experience negatively from some men.

        Reciprocity would be nice. I agree. I just can’t figure out if that’s really what either of us wants or if both of us are more interested in our own pain than the others. Or perhaps we both feel that we already give “reciprocity” while neither one of us feels like we actually receive it from the other gender. Thoughts to chew on if you ask me.

        • OirishM says:

          You’re main response was about the things *you* suffer from in response to my comments. If you don’t want to hear me, how can you expect me to want to hear you?

          And your post was what? A big list of generalisation about men and how *you* suffer from it. Why is a response in a similar vein a problem?

          Does anything I said here negate the idea that women can’t be shallow too? No. All it does is address the topic in *this* article about the tendency men have in prizing youthful women over even their own peers. Frankly, I am tired of men using the “I feel demonized” phrase anytime they are forced to confront something that some women very well may experience negatively from some men.

          Oh, I never claimed it negated women’s shallowness or that shallowness isn’t necessarily negative. My point is women’s shallowness is frequently given a free pass while male shallowness is criticised relentlessly. It is the inconsistency with which this is done that bothers me.

          And again, your remarks for the most part did not describe the problems as limited to just “some men”.

          Reciprocity would be nice. I agree. I just can’t figure out if that’s really what either of us wants or if both of us are more interested in our own pain than the others. Or perhaps we both feel that we already give “reciprocity” while neither one of us feels like we actually receive it from the other gender. Thoughts to chew on if you ask me.

          That’s the sense I was picking up from your post, so I elected to respond in kind.

          • “And your post was what? A big list of generalisation about men and how *you* suffer from it. Why is a response in a similar vein a problem?”

            Because it doesn’t help either one of us. It doesn’t make me more open to listening to you and it doesn’t help the conversatoin in *this* article.

            Sometimes in these discussions, you have to push aside your own concerns and try to really listen and communicate with others over ourselves. I’ve done it myself on this board. But a general problem I run into is an unwillingnuss for it to be recipocated. As someone that talked about recipcation yourself, I hope you can understand my point.

            Taking the short time to approach or talk about someone else’s concerns, especially when they were the first to respond with them and especially when you purposely make it your purpose to use their post as a response, is what communication and listening is sometimes about. But responding to someone’s post specifically with your own concerns and agenda about yourself doesn’t help anyone. Copying links to other articles that can very well be and have been discussed in that article doesn’t help either.

            This doesn’t mean your concerns should not be addressed. But you can’t expect me to want to talk about your concerns when you respond to mine by basically blowing mine off. And if you don’t really care about my concerns, why respond to my post at all? Why not make your seperate and own individual post?

            Sometimes it’s nice to hear someone else out and actually decide to talk about things that bother them and ignore our own issues for the short time in an attempt to approach theirs. You might not feel like you get that treatment, and neither sometimes do I. But I still try to give.

            “That’s the sense I was picking up from your post, so I elected to respond in kind.I see, so I’m to blame for how you decided to respond.”

            I feel like you have decided to make *me* the reason and excuse for how *you* have decided to respond. And I think that’s really unfair. I think you seem more interested in a spar than you are in real communication. And I am sorry for that. I am not the one responsible for how you have decided to respond. You are responsible for your own words and how you handle a situation. I am not.

            • OirishM says:

              Because it doesn’t help either one of us. It doesn’t make me more open to listening to you and it doesn’t help the conversatoin in *this* article.

              Right. So why did you do it? And why is it only a problem when I do it?

              I feel like you have decided to make *me* the reason and excuse for how *you* have decided to respond. And I think that’s really unfair. I think you seem more interested in a spar than you are in real communication. And I am sorry for that. I am not the one responsible for how you have decided to respond. You are responsible for your own words and how you handle a situation. I am not.

              I made that comment to highlight that you were engaging in the exact same behaviour you were criticising me for. Again, why is it only a problem when I do it?

    • “Women get old. And I apologize for my kind that we get old because we are obviously not really allowed to while you obviously are.”

      There is something that people often seem to forget…IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO.

      Men tend to prefer younger women and date younger women. Your offended. But you completely ignore the corollary … women tend to prefer older men!! And this implies that a lot of younger men are getting ignored and short-changed by women who refuse to date them. I have dates both older and younger women and the older women were far more embarrassed to be seen with me and less likely to even want to continue. The age gap was always a bigger deal for them than it was for me. But with younger women it was always very easy.

      And all of us men were young once and suffered for it. We went through dry periods while girls dated older boys. I actually never remember blaming anyone for this or even thinking it was possible to blame someone. I just accepted it as the reality I lived in.

      Maybe instead of criticizing men for enjoying younger women…you should spend some time criticizing young women for enjoying older men.

      How many 18 year old men would love to have a relationship with a 30 year old woman. I bet a lot of them would. So have at it. Go ahead. Lots of 18 year old men are waiting. Still waiting. What is holding you back?

      • And for the record, and despite my rant earlier – older, younger, I’m fine with either.

        Assman is right, it does take two to tango, maybe if there wasn’t so much of a tendency to demonise males (older males in particular) and recognise the agency of younger women a more balanced of picture of things could be formed.

      • I’m reminded me of a situation I was in a couple years ago. I was roughly about 24 and was vacationing in Maui with my family. One night I went to sit out on the beach by myself and to just enjoy the waves crashing and look at the stars. There was a group of young boys 15-18 who were hanging out nearby. At first they came over and tried to flirt with me. I knew that *I*, being the older and more mature person was responsible for how this situation went down. They were young boys testing the waters. So as they sat down around me and started to flirt and feel me out, I took on a different tone with them and started asking them about their families and love lives. Soon, they dropped the flirting and began talking to me more real and I was giving them advice about how to handle and treat girls and how to avoid being disrespected by girls, into the morning. For the rest of the trip I would see them around with each other or their families and they treated me like a friend. They treated me with respect. I set the tone. I was the one that held the power because I was the mature one and it was my responsbility to set the tone.

        I don’t think this is about older men being demonized. I think this is about older men being expected to hold more responsibility because they are infact the older party. I don’t blame young girls who are testing their way in life. Just like I don’t blame those young boys on the beach for testing theirs and seeing more as an opportunity for sex and flirting before they saw me as a friend and fellow human being. The older you get, the more responsibility you naturally should have. Older men that allow themselves to feel flattered simply because of the age of the girl doesn’t exactly show maturity.

        Unfortunetly, both men and women are socalized to vilfiy women for aging. When you are a young girl, you can’t begin to imagine a time when you will be “old”. You are trying to figure out where you fit in the world. If you are attractive or has what it takes to attract a man. This doesn’t mean a young girl is on the same level as an adult older man. I am sorry. It doesn’t.

        You guys are tired of being demonized? I’m tired of older men looking at any young woman or girl as an oppurtunity for sex more than he is looking for an oppurtunity to mentor a younger person. Young women out there are deprived of adult male figure who truly want to mentor them instead of men that have to fight off lustful thoughts. Think of the influence men could have over women by mentoring young girls and showing them so much more of what men are about vs just the sex?

        Assman, do you know why older women feel more embrassed to be seen with you? Because women are socalized into believing they are worth less as human beings and sexual beings for their age. Especially compared to men who are told they have so much more worth as they get older. Men are given more grace to age than women are. So yeah, I get why older women feel more embarrement. Especially when a lot of older women get the advice that a younger man can’t possibly be serious about her and is only dating her because it’s fun and different at the time. Only to move onto a younger woman a few years down the line.

        Do you know why I don’t date 18 year olds though? Because I’m not intersted in dating young adults that are in that strange place between childhood and adulthood. Because an 18 year old is still learning and developing despite his mature body. Because I respect and enjoy men with some age on them. And I don’t think it’s so much to ask that from a man in return when it comes to his view on women.

        You don’t like the fact that I think how a lot of men treat women based on age can be crappy? Well that’s how I feel. I wish that all the men who responded took more time to actually address the things I said instead of launching a gender war. Thanks a lot for not really hearing me out.

        • OirishM says:

          Again, you are not getting the response you want because your remarks are one-sided generalisations. Why are you not condemning women who pursue young men as well?

          You may not be able to expect every person your age to be so keen on “mentoring”, but you can be consistent in how you respond to the same behaviour, which is exhibited in both genders.

          • My remarks are ontopic to the conversation. This article isn’t about women pursuing young men. It’s about the reaction and situation of an older man with a young girl. Why in the world would you want to talk about women who pursue young men under this article that is obviously about a situation with an older man and young girl? That makes no sense.

            By specficially addressing one gender over the other at any given time does not in anyway display any kind of “inconsistency”. And I’m sorry you can’t see that or stay on the topic of what *this* article is so obviously about.

            By the way, you totally ignored the experience I shared about myself where I was INFACT the older woman in the situation.

            • OirishM says:

              Your remarks are for most part gross generalisations about men. Commenting on yourself and your mentoring is not the same manner of remark, that is only about one woman. Not consistent.

              Inconsistency and gross generalisations, IME, imply bias.

  3. Dear Erin,

    I’m sorry you take this so personally. This wasn’t supposed to be a celebration of the way older men are attracted to younger women (and vice versa); more a lament. I don’t want a wife who I’m going to predecease by 20 years!

    If it helps, the context for the post (and for most of the other posts I’ve written for the site) is that I’ve spent most of my life trying to attract women my own age, and failing. In this instance, I hadn’t even had a date for over two years. I wasn’t chasing after this girl – but I can’t deny I was grateful for attention that no other woman had given me in years.

    As for the science, it would be impossible to cite all of it. There’s tons of the stuff (much of it depressing, but all of it fascinating). What I try to do is provide a little bit with each story I tell – not an explanation, necessarily, and certainly not a justification; just a flavour of the mechanics of what may have been driving the encounter – and if people are interested, they will hopefully read around the subject.

    And don’t worry. Society is changing. Now a lot of older men, including me, feel worthless (in terms of relationship value) too.

    • Andy, yes I agree, you can’t site all the science but you can certainly offer a more objective position of both men and women’s reproductive science then lamenting over women. Like we haven’t heard before about women’s biological time line. It’s time for men to start talking and focusing on more of their own biological timeline and what it means for them to have children as older fathers. Unfortunetly, the world in general likes to push women under the truck in this regard. Even in the medical community. It’s only lately that we’ve actually seen real information on men’s biological journey. Whenever reproduction is talked about it’s usually about women and their reproductive organs as vehicles for what men want. Call me crazy to say it’s frustrating. And it’s frustrating to see grown adult men feel all warm and fuzzy inside from the attention of a 16 or 18 year old girl. All the more proving once again to women how worthless we are to men as we get older.

      By the way, I didn’t date for a good 3 years and I didn’t get a lot of attention from men. It’s funny how invisible you become to men when you put on some weight. And I’m not talking about being morbidly obese. Just chubby. When I was at my thinnest, when I was skipping meals and working out madly, I got a little more attention but I was never the hottest girl. I wasn’t fending off suitors even then. So when you’re that girl, it’s not unusual to see men approach and pay attention to hotter or/and younger women compared to you. All kinds of men too. Older men, younger men, over weight men, thin men, average men, hot men…… So while I get feeling frustrated by not getting much female attention and feeling lonely, I still don’t think the attention from a 16/18 year old male would be all that spectacular. And I hope you understand that not all us women are getting loaded down with male attention for simply being female.

      • OirishM says:

        We don’t have remotely the same level of information on our reproductive systems as women and that pushes WOMEN under the truck? Seriously?

        • You’ve manipulated my words. I don’t believe you are really open to listening either.

          • OirishM says:

            I showed you the other side of what your words imply. You seriously think a lack of medical research on men’s reproductive systems pushes women under the truck? Seriously? We’re the ones without medical information on how our bodies work here.

            • Oirish, you certainly showed me how *you* specifically took meaning with my words. But that doesn’t mean that’s what my words implied. You manipulated my words out of the context of what they really were. ANd instead of asking me about them, you assumed you knew my words better than I do. It’s interesting to me that you believed that you somehow showed me anything about my own words. Instead of asking me about them.

              I never said that the lack of medical research on men’s reproductive system pushes women under the truck. I said the penchant for men to focus more on women’s biological reproductive failures rather than their own pushes women under the truck. The fact that men will spend more time talking about the way women fail reproductively instead of talking about their very own bodies pushes women under the truck. The fact that a 35+ year old man will talk about an incident with a 16 year old girl and then follow up his article about how men like biologically healthy young women throws women under the bus.

              I unfortunetly think that men do not really want to acknowledge their own biological truths which is why there is usually a greater focus on women’s biological clock than men’s. There might not be as much information out there about the way men are affected by age and their reproduction health. BUT, there is information out there that men like you and the author of this story could begin reading and talking about among each other instead of focusing on the same old tripe about women and their age and younger women and how much more worth while younger women are to you as 35+ year old men. This is all the stuff women are subjected to time and time again when men talk about their biological rights to treat women like cattle and not people.

              By the way, just because there is infact more information about women’s reproductive health than men’s at the current time, the medical community is largely still in men’s favor. Statistically, most medical information is collected from men and often, alot of the medical information that is applied to women is from statistic groups dealing with men. Sometimes, women do not even receive the same medication treatment or attention in the actual medical room because statistically, doctors spend more time with their male patients than their female ones. I could give you more info but that’s a brief overview.

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