I Am A Cheetah

posted in: Family, Luv | 6
Lee Meriwether, everyone. Image: Wikipedia.

 

 

Let’s out with it: Yuri is younger than I am. Notably younger.

Notably, but maybe not noticeably. I moisturize, I don’t smoke, I hardly drink. I do my best to keep trim. But there’s nothing like dating a younger man to make you moisturize more, continue to not smoke, and pass up the pork belly appetizer and the second glass of wine you would definitely have ordered if you were dating a man who was, say, fifty-six. As opposed to a man (ahem) thirty years that man’s junior.

Do you see what I’m saying? Yuri’s in his twenties. Yes he is.

In the grand tradition of comparing women to cats, I have learned that there is a feline name for me. As a woman in my 30’s dating a man in his 20’s, apparently I am a “cheetah.”

I can’t be a cougar, you see, because cougars are women in their 40’s who date men in their 20’s, and cheetahs are younger than cougars? Anyhow, I’m not a Courtney Cox-starring sitcom pitch yet, but I am dating down, age-wise, so I must be given a moniker. How else could I be effectively marketed to? I’m sorry, my cynicism’s showing. I should stop. Wouldn’t want any fine lines forming when I furrow my brow in that cynical way I do when I think about Proctor & Gamble/Lancome/Big Pharma.

In the years since my divorce, I have done some dating. I have met wonderful, kind, interesting, intelligent men. They are out there. I met a few I didn’t click with, sure, but that doesn’t mean they’re frogs*; we just lived our lives differently and it wasn’t practical to pursue a relationship. Every one of these gentlemen were older than me, sometimes by a notable (there’s that word again) margin. I thought that’s what worked for me and what a gal generally wants: a fellow older than herself. I’m not sure why, but I think for many of us it has to do with security. It’s deep-seated. It’s not easy to explain, but the converse proves the rule: I would never have considered dating a person younger than myself if you had asked. Are you crazy? Younger men are immature! They’re still figuring out everything! They drink non-micro-brewed domestic beer. Ew!

But then…

Enter Yuri, The Younger Man. Exit Hamlet’s Ghost.

There is so much that’s wonderful about dating someone in their twenties, someone who is currently climbing various ladders. Older men have climbed. They’re in the business now of maintaining their perch. But I’m a hustler, so I love the guy scaling the cliff wall. The ambition, the drive of Yuri, this excites me because I recognize it. Every day of my life — and this was true before my illness but has been much stronger since — I am aware that I have a woefully limited time on the planet. I must work hard, must play hard, must go hard as I possibly can because this is a war with death. I can’t wait, can’t stop. And Yuri’s right there. His energy to go matches my energy to go. So we go, then check back at the end of a bone-wearying day, knowing we did wring every last drop of marrow. And we sure do have fun doing it.

There are other benefits. I will spare you any crowing about his physique, though you must pardon me while I fan myself with this here fancy fan on this here fainting couch.

:: fans self, faints ::

Do I fear the semi-significant age gap? From time to time. There have already been a handful of moments when a twenty-something chick plopped down on a barstool near us and I thought, “Ah, she graduated when he did,” or something equally self-defeating. I’ll take a deep breath and have to consciously remember that I have earned every single day of my life and am rather proud of the sum, thank you. In a way, these moments are good. I’m reminded that, as cute as that girl may be, I do not want to trade places with her. At all. I’m stoked that I’m a) still alive and b) wearing cuter shoes. The second isn’t so petty: when you work really hard for many years and can buy the shoes that make your heart sing, this transcends catty Girl Zone stuff and becomes more about loving oneself and setting an example. When I was in my mid-twenties, I totally wanted to be able to afford better shoes. Now I can, and that came from working hard. No shame in this, no competition. Just achievement, and all girls can claim it if they like.

I miss you, Yuri. I hope it’s okay I told everyone you’re younger than me.

 

*Men get amphibians, women get cats. I don’t make the rules, but I am happy with the arrangement.

6 Responses

  1. SewCalGal
    | Reply

    Follow your heart and don’t worry what others think, nor about age.

    I have an older sister that had gone thru two divorces when she met a much younger man. In a short time he proposed and they married. She was terribly worried what others would think and my mother and I were also worried, especially given we were not invited to the wedding nor did we have a chance to meet him. But they have now been married over 30 years. 30 years of happy bliss. He is truly the best thing that ever happened to her. And I thank God every day that she found this younger man who has made my sister so happy. Soul Mates don’t care about the date stamp on our birth certificates they care about character and interests. If Yuri makes you happy, follow your heart. Run to where it takes you.

    SewCalGal
    http://www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

  2. Pat
    | Reply

    You go Mary! I’ve been dating a younger man for 15 years. I was in my 30’s and he was in his 20’s when we began dating. The age gap seems to dissolve a bit and become less obvious as you get older. I’m still conscious of the fact that I need to take care of myself but that’s not really a bad thing. It never hurts to have incentive.

  3. Shari
    | Reply

    My husband is 7 years younger than me. Age is just a number! The only time we really notice a difference is when we talk about our childhood and what was going on when we were the same age – the world at 5 years old for me was quite different than the world at 5 years old for him! Congratulations on finding the love of your life!

  4. Andres
    | Reply

    Whatever makes you happy. OTOH: If you’re gonna post a DC Comics character on your site Crazy Quilt is probably more appropriate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crazy_Quilt

  5. carol
    | Reply

    My partner is older than me…12 hrs. Yes i realize that is not a big difference, but i do love to point it out
    to her at every opportunity.
    On a whole other note…i am trying to find your post from a while back where you talked about the cool poster you happened up when you opened the box of St Germaine.

  6. […] and partly because I was in love and partly because the person I was in love with called me “Kitten.” So this kitten puppet, which cost 13.99 plus tax, represented a lot of things when I lived […]

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