Romantics will say, why shouldn’t they date? After all, age is just a number. To which cynics like me will retort: yeah, a big zero!
The pleasures of dating young women like Kitty Spencer are pretty obvious from an older male perspective: youth, beauty and sexiness. But often, young women are just arm candy, visual Viagra for the older, sagging male ego.
I gave up going out on dates with young women when I turned 50. (I’m 64 now.) There’s something I call the “yuck factor” – that is, the spectacle of an older man trying to woo or seduce a young woman is just a bit… yucky.
She would always turn up late for dinner – saying “Sorry, I’m such a flake!” – and then spend ages on her phone: “Sorry, I need to get this…”
In the middle of my funniest anecdote, she’d tell me: “Sorry, I need to just send this one text.” Eventually, I said: “Sorry, this isn’t working!”
One of the biggest gaps between older men and younger women is not just age, but culture. They don’t get your references. Classic lines from Casablanca are greeted with silence or puzzlement; when a young woman asked me if Gone with the Wind was a rom-com, I knew we were in trouble.
I tried it once and got age-shamed. We’d had a few cocktails in Soho and out on the street I was staring into my date’s eyes, getting ready for that first kiss, when a voice cried out: “Go on, Grandad, give ‘er one for me!”
Funny how little helpful comments like that can kill the moment.
You can be a rich, powerful, successful older man who beautiful young women adore – but naked, you’re just another old bloke with chin wobble, belly spread and buttocks that hang like drooping breasts.
There was an hilarious episode of Sex and the City when Samantha was dating a very rich 70-year-old man who plied her with diamond jewellery. She claimed it was just as easy to have sex with an older man as a young man – if the lights were out. Everything was going fine for Samantha until her lover went to the loo and she spotted his backside… and she took instant flight.
I was told by the author Dolly Alderton that a man should always “carry his naked body” – no matter how old or fat – “with confidence”, because, she claimed, it was “so terribly sexy“. I tried that once. My young companion took one look at the naked me and suggested we watch telly instead.
When I went out with younger women, I always wondered: are they really into me or do they just have daddy issues? By that I mean they want from older men the love and admiration they never got from their fathers.
I’m not saying the age gap can’t be overcome. Harrison Ford was 38 years older than Calista Flockhart when they first dated, and Michael Douglas was 56 when he hooked up with 31-year-old Catherine Zeta-Jones – and both couples are still going strong.