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What’s a good age gap for couples?

A recent news development has left some folks scandalized and others envious.

(And still others grumbling, “I don’t need no stinking news developments! I’m too busy getting ready to vote!”)

I’m speaking of the revelation that former New England Patriots coaching legend Bill Belichick (age 72) is dating 24-year-old beauty pageant contestant Jordon Hudson.

(Please hold your fainting spells or “Attaboy!” outbursts until later.)

This (and similar situations, including reports that 49-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio refuses to date women older than 25) has Americans reexamining the issue of an acceptable age gap between romantic partners.

(Some celebrities push the boundaries. May-December relationship? More like April-half-past-next-Groundhog-Day relationship! A few of them have dabbled with the idea of a mail-order bride but aren’t sure the Pony Express delivers to their gated community.)

I’ll probably write about older ladies someday, but this week I’m focusing on the older man/younger woman paradigm.

Society remains divided over what to call a man dating women who are decades younger. Cradle-robbing old goat? Sexy senior citizen? Sly “dawg”? Future victim on a true-crime podcast? (“Everyone tried warning Sam, but he just wouldn’t listen. Or COULDN’T listen. He had a bad habit of settling for cheap knockoff hearing-aid batteries so he could pay for his girlfriend’s yoga lessons…”)

On the flip side, are their youthful girlfriends attention-craving gold diggers? Or are they “old souls” who appreciate a wiser, more experienced partner?

(These wiser, more experienced partners are probably sharp enough to save their “fixed income” jabber for the McDonald’s Coffee Club crew – and to chirp, “Hey, kids…mi yard es su yard!” when in earshot of their more idealistic lover.)

If these young ladies listen too much to their detractors, it can have a devastating effect on their self-confidence at job interviews. (“My best qualifications are that I graduated summa cum laude and broke a national swimming record. My worst trait? I hate to admit it, but I’ve just learned that I’m … I’m … young enough to be somebody’s granddaughter!”)

There’s a lot to be said for dating someone from your own generation (my wife and I just barely missed it, as I’m from the last part of the Baby Boom and she’s from near the beginning of Generation X); but many widowers, divorcees and confirmed bachelors are reluctant to date someone near their own age.

It’s not just because of wrinkles and gray hair. They realize that their contemporaries also come with a lifetime of accumulated preferences, connections and obligations. (“No, John, I didn’t bring any grandchildren photos this time. It seemed to bother you last week. But I did bring six albums of little Ethan’s great-grandkittens…”)

Far be it from me to impose arbitrary standards on the happiness of total strangers. If you can enter a relationship with eyes wide open (and cataracts scheduled for removal), negotiate around certain obstacles (“I’ll go to your Taylor concert, if you agree I don’t have to get my pacemaker pierced, darlin’”) and fan the flames of love, more power to you.

I salute you. No, don’t salute back! Gotta watch that rotator cuff!

I’m just minding my own business.

Speaking of business, what a bonanza it would be if you could corner the market on violinists performing at ritzy restaurants as savvy seniors popped the question: “Can you get this prenuptial agreement back to me by Friday, signed and notarized?”

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at tyreetyrades@aol.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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