May—December double standards

By Persis Elavia

Since I got to college, there is one thing that has really irked me. Well, there have been several things, but this has stood out in my mind the most. My very first column lamented the fact that heterosexual women’s dating prospects see significant shrinkage every year. What I failed to address was how the males here see a dramatic rise in the number of potentials every year. Obviously, examples of this run rampant in the media, but it puzzles me how Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas got married and had kids with relatively little fanfare, but Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher got so much flak for their relationship. It appears that, once again, society has found another way to label women as pathetic or desperate by scrutinizing the ages of their significant others. That labeling has ingrained itself so much in our daily life that I found myself shaking my head at my friend “Jenny” who has a mini-crush on a current freshman. However, my other friend “Turd Ferguson” (my buddy chose this name for himself; he always wishes that he were really called Turd Ferguson) tries to hit on as many freshman girls as possible in a given night. For some reason, I actually play this game with him (I pick the girls sometimes).

Now, there are blatant differences between freshman girls and boys. Freshman girls are years ahead in terms of maturity of the boys and generally have some idea of what they want in life. Freshman boys, on the other hand, are just coming off their “big man on campus” senior year and are determined to maintain that status. I dated a freshman my first year and, while it was great, there were certain boundaries that had to be overcome before the relationship progressed. I don’t want to go through that whole procedure again, but for the women who do, I don’t understand why we criticize them for their choice. It is true that men do not become vastly more mature as they get older. But if a girl wants to embark upon that task, who are we to judge her?

When the tables are turned, though, and a senior guy is dating a freshman, is that just as pathetic? Personally, I think the thought of a 22-year-old and an 18-year-old dating is slightly repulsive. Senior boys who jump from freshman to freshman seem fairly ridiculous, yet no one criticizes their actions. I know that this is an age-old double standard, but I honestly feel that some women prefer to be with younger guys and they shouldn’t be considered “desperate” for that. In fact, my roommate, the future star of The Graduate: Back in Action!, argues that older women have a certain “mystique about them…even though it may be purely sexual.” Too bad my roommate is already taken by a boy her own age. Also, I suppose that freshman boys have a certain sexual vulnerability that some girls might find appealing (calling all future Mrs. Robinsons).

Even with the precedent set by The Graduate, women are still not able to date whomever they want without criticism. Even as I write this, I cannot fathom what a 22-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man have in common. However, the same applies for a 22-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman. I suppose that men have constructed what is taboo in our society, and women are receiving the short end of the stick. Bob Dole promotes Viagra to make aging men appealing, but where is the drug for Elizabeth Dole to feel young again? In short, it seems that the creation of this new category of “desperate” women is another way masculine dominance manifests itself in our society.

So, I encourage all of the women on this campus to explore new prospects and broaden their horizons. As Aaliyah said, “Age ain’t nothing but a number.”