Wise Guys: How Much Younger Than Him Can a Man Date?

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week a straight woman asks, “How much younger than them do you think most guys are comfortable dating before it becomes embarrassing? Or is there no limit as long as the youngster in question is legal and not a complete airhead?”

Gay Single Guy (Jay Dyckman): Yes, there is an age too young for anyone to date. But I think it happens only after you hit 35. Any dating combo of two people both under 35 (provided both are over 21…yes, 21, not 18) is probably not a big deal. No one really considers themselves that old before hitting 35.

After 35, all bets are off.  If you’re over 35 and you date someone more than 10 years your junior, you will — and rightly so — be mocked (and silently envied) by your friends and enemies for such dating hubris. It will put you squarely in the “oh please” zone. And this goes for both men and women: Dating much younger than yourself connotes a power dynamic that is creepy yet totally gender non-specific.  Both sexes look entirely ridiculous parading their toy around, be it male or female. But if you’re over 35, you can date anyone  — of any age disparity — who is also over 35.  A 65-year-old and 37-year-old?  Sure, why not.

This might seem arbitrary but age designations exist for a reason. The good people of corporate America have decided that once we’re older than 35, we are no longer a desirable marketing demographic.  That’s real science, people. After 35, big age differences are obviously apparent, but both parties have fully exited the nubile stage so no one really cares. You are no longer hip, cool, or capable of dating someone who had an “American Idol”-themed Bar Mitzvah. That’s not to say you shouldn’t do it.  Hell, if someone of the Gen Next persuasion wants to tap your old bones, consider yourself lucky. Besides, anyone who mocks you, well, your old ears won’t be able to hear them anyway so who cares.

Straight Single Guy (Tyler Barnett): For guys in their twenties, like me, up to guys in their mid-thirties, I think the lowest we should go is 21. If I cannot legally have a glass of wine or cocktail with a girl, I don’t want to date her. It’s not that I am some sort of alcoholic or can’t have a good time sober, but there’s something sexy and intimate about sitting in a bar that cannot be substituted by Starbucks or Jamba Juice. It also makes me feel like an old man if I am with someone that has to use a fake ID to buy a beer. Besides, if the girl in question is still in school, the conversation will usually leave something to be desired due to her lack of life experiences and responsibilities — it’s hard to listen to tales of college papers when I’ve got bills to pay and employees to manage, you know? There is a lot to be said for being in the same place in life, age-wise at least. But generally, I think women a good five years younger (so long as they aren’t under 21) work well since women tend to be more mature than us guys. For an older man, say in his forties or fifties, a fifteen year age gap is socially acceptable and generally comfortable. And I think once a woman passes the age of thirty, up to a twenty year difference with an older guy is just fine.

Straight Married Guy (Jim): Come on, give us guys some credit: most of us know there’s a huge difference (emotionally, intellectually, maturity-wise) between someone around our own age and an 18-year-old with AP credit.  She’d have to be a Rhodes Scholar studying quantum physics if the difference in their ages was more than about 25% of his. So, what does he teach?

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Straight Married Guy is Jim from New York, our Gay Guy is Jay Dyckman, an LA copywriter, and our Single Straight Guy is Tyler Barnett, owner of the LA PR firm Barnett Ellman. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

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44 Comments on "Wise Guys: How Much Younger Than Him Can a Man Date?"

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Absolutely ridiculous. This article clearly demonstrates why advice is utterly worthless and harmful.

I’m 37 and I met the love of my life who just turned 21 about 6 months ago. We had been friends for a year but things slowly developed in to a full fledged romance that neither of us were expecting nor were we looking for it. If you told me 2 years ago, I’d be in a relationship with a 20 year old, I would have spit up my martini from laughing. Life is funny that way and here I am doing just that. I think that is the best way to find love, stop looking for it. Neither… Read more »
Chris Yonts

What if you’ve already fallen in love with her? NOT ME, a friend of mine.

I guess 5 to 10 years older won’t be a problem , but 10 years and above might have different perspectives because of age and experience differences. me and my husband have 17 years difference and we have a lot differences , still adjusting the situation but have arguments every week and can’t say as an happy married life. I just want to suggest young ladies not to waste their youth life with the old guys ,, just go for the same age guys ,, same age may be poor and silly but they have the same chemistry and perspectives.… Read more »
Paul Rosen
I have been Googling this stuff like crazy because it is so new to me. I know a woman who is 23 (I am 51) and I am CRAZY about her. Virtually everyone I’ve dated has been roughly my age. I am not having some sort of midlife crisis and have been generally content all along. This woman is hysterical, smart, creative (a poet) and utterly original. I keep telling myself it’s absurd to even entertain the thought of asking her out (I’m pretty sure there is a mutual attraction), but the heart wants what it wants. What I need… Read more »
Tim in Dallas
Balderdash to this highly opinionated rhetoric!!! Good luck to all of us men who are young at heart and dating a beautiful young woman with a heart of gold. As long as LOVE is the operative word (and not gold), then there is nothing that can turn the ship around. Popular opinion (I.e. “approval”) no longer interferes with my most important life decisions. I’m 48 and I am deeply in love with my 20-year old future wife. She is the smartest, funniest, most creative, most determined and most loving person I have ever known. Did I mention the most beautiful… Read more »

Uh…Mr. Fearfield, above? Have you a brother?

matthue trikx

you need to meet some wiser guys. the middle one is okay, but the other two are utter fluff.