Last Laugh

There’s noth­ing like a younger man to get your blood pump­ing again

NEXT (New Zealand) - - Contents - by Lisa Scott

There’s a tra­di­tion in my mother’s fam­ily, the Bur­rells, a large clan of bois­ter­ous West Coast­ers of Ir­ish de­scent, of mar­ry­ing younger men. Quite frankly, they need to be younger, have a bit of bounce to them, a bit of pep, be­cause ones the same age wouldn’t last long. The women of my fam­ily are in­cred­i­bly full on. We make great hus­bands, as in we craft them. Bur­rell women, of which I am one, are stub­born, de­mand­ing, hi­lar­i­ous and in­vari­ably the best thing that ever hap­pened to the men they meet, who they then love to a fraz­zle. You can al­ways tell a Bur­rell hus­band: he looks like he needs a trans­fu­sion of haemoglobin, stat. Worn down to the knuck­les, but happy.

I’m dat­ing a younger man my­self. Sadly, by the time you read this, he’ll prob­a­bly be dead. It won’t nec­es­sar­ily be my fault: his hob­bies in­clude down­hill rac­ing, back coun­try snow­board­ing, alpine climb­ing and wake­board­ing. He’s not long for this world, bless him, but I defy any woman to main­tain a pro­phy­lac­tic dis­in­ter­est in a man who comes down from a moun­tain and po­litely re­moves his cram­pons be­fore scal­ing your own peaks.

In the mean­time, there are some ad­just­ments/al­lowances to be made on my part: the moun­tain man has a pen­chant for peaked caps and BMX bikes (no, he’s not

that young) and lis­tens to psy-trance, which is a kind of headachy dirge en­joyed by bearded tran­scen­den­tal sex ther­a­pists in bead neck­laces. Also, he’s a veg­e­tar­ian (the big­gest, most hairy-chested veg­e­tar­ian in the world) and I know, no mat­ter how hard I tried, I could never go meat­less for long: ba­con is my kryp­tonite. On the up­side, he’s in­cred­i­bly good-look­ing and I al­ways have been a very shal­low woman.

The ‘tak­ing a younger man as a lover post-di­vorce’ cliché is a thing (and has been long be­fore French au­thor Co­lette wrote Chéri) be­cause after a big, se­ri­ous, emo­tion­ally ex­pen­sive love, a woman needs a fun love, some­one who makes you laugh, dares you to do things you nor­mally wouldn’t. Get towed be­hind a jet boat on wa­ter-skis, for ex­am­ple. It isn’t se­ri­ous – younger men live lives of churn and chaos, they own posters, not paint­ings, and dress­ing up is find­ing a clean T-shirt – but it’s not meant to be se­ri­ous, just good for you, like time in sun­shine. In re­turn, the younger man gets the com­pany of a woman who knows her­self, a woman who stands in her own light, and that is in­cred­i­bly at­trac­tive.

Rea­sons to jump in the kid­die pool in­clude the fact a younger man still has a thirst for life, isn’t jaded. Sure, he doesn’t earn enough to take you out for din­ner in a flash restau­rant (you’d bet­ter want fun over food, or cheese and crack­ers on the beach at sun­set), but he also doesn’t have teenage chil­dren or an ex-wife he calls ‘B*#@h Face’. In other words, he still likes women im­mensely, not be­ing far from the days when just touch­ing a live, naked one would have been the high­light of his year.

Even though our cul­ture drives women to choose the wiser, older, pow­er­ful male, dat­ing some­one younger will make all the other men you know re­ally, re­ally ner­vous; sug­gest­ing, as it does, that they’re over-the­hill and that women, god for­bid, fan­ta­sise about firm flesh just as much as they do.

Younger men are much less chau­vin­is­tic: even seven years can make all the dif­fer­ence to the no­tions of gen­der roles and divi­sion of labour in­stilled by his mother, mean­ing some­one younger doesn’t think twice about pitch­ing in with the laun­dry or tak­ing over the cooking so you can work, and, un­like older men, the word ‘men­stru­a­tion’ doesn’t have them shriek­ing; they’ll hap­pily pop out to the shops to buy you or­ganic tam­pons.

And then there’s the sex. All I’m go­ing to say is you’ll never see Vi­a­gra in their bath­room cup­board. There will be noth­ing use­ful in there at all, just an empty bot­tle of Paco Ra­banne and a dread­lock they’re keep­ing for DNA pur­poses, in case they get lost up a moun­tain.

As far as I can tell, youth is not al­ways wasted on the young. Does the age dif­fer­ence bother my younger man? “It just means we’ll die at the same time,” he says. That’s what thinks.

Then there’s the sex. You’ll never see Vi­a­gra in a younger man’s cup­board

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