Mother Nature’s Trap

So many times I see it play out. I’m in a store or a restaurant and I will notice that the young girl at the register is in her early 20s, and I think to myself that she is the same age as my son. As we get closer I can’t wait to see if she notices him or even flirts with him, or vice versa. The moment comes and goes without any words, maybe a smile and that’s it. Then it happens: I go to pay for my food and the young girl is completely different. Very flirtatious; sometimes going as far as announcing she doesn’t know what to do this evening. Now, I’m sure that there are men out there who say I should be flattered, but I’m not, I’m mad. What does she think she is doing flirting with a man 20 years her senior, while ignoring the boy her age?

As we grow up we are taught that girls mature faster then boys. They certainly seem to hit puberty faster, but only by a couple of years. I remember when I was a young kid the girls always went for the older guy. The freshmen girls went for the seniors and the senior girls went for the college-age boys. I always remember being told all along that the girls knew they were so much more mature, and that explained their preference for older guys. I wonder who it is that tells them this, and if this explains the behavior of the young girl in the check-out line.

As young adults you can see where there would be an advantage to the guy who’s a couple of years older than the woman. If your age group is 15, and the 18-year-old has a car, why not? It’s certainly better than riding around on your boyfriend’s bicycle. So what about the 20-year-old? Certainly most of the guys her age are driving. Is she attracted to the 30- or 40-year old because he might have more money, and be able to pay for nice things?

I’ve always thought of it as cutting in line. You start out broke in life and have to work your way up. A young woman married to a man her own age struggles with him. They both work a lot of hours; paying their dues, so to speak, and finally they’re able to enjoy the nicer things in life.

So who wouldn’t want to skip the hard part and go straight to the good, easy life? Is this the reason younger women go after older men? I know what some of you may be thinking; that it’s a two-way street, and what about the man who is flirting back? What does she have to offer him?

Well, of course, the obvious answer has been around since the beginning of time: sex, of course. Now she is not offering sex right at the the first meeting, but she is doing something very closely related, she is flirting. For a large portion of men this is maybe something they miss; maybe something they are not getting at home.

Although it’s taboo to speak of it, most men will reveal in private that their wife’s sex drive has drooped off completely after they started a family. When the couple is young they’re attracted to each other all the time, both looking for intimacy with each other. When they start a family and start having children the man’s sex drive doesn’t change at all, whereas for many women, the same desire is simply just not there. They’re getting up early, feeding the kids, paying the bills, all the time trying to hold down a career at the same time. After a long day making ends meet, jumping into bed with their husband is not the first thing on their minds. Unfortunately – or fortunately – for men, they can be completely exhausted and the sex drive still doesn’t change. I’m sure we have all seen that cartoon that shows a man control panel with just one switch. On or off, that’s it. On the following page it shows a lady’s control panel with a thousand switches and dials that all need to be perfectly aligned. This is one of my wife’s favorite cartoons. For most men the feeling of desire is so strong it overpowers any other stress. Now I’m not saying that men are animals and are looking to jump anything that’s in front of them. I’m just saying that the sex drive between men and women changes over time.

So there you have it: Mother Nature’s perfect setup: the young girl who maybe would like to skip the difficult times, and the older man who misses having someone with the same desires. Now, of course the wise man just smiles and does not fall into the trap. But not all men are that wise. As for me, I think of that 20-year-old young man in line being ignored by the 20-year-old young woman. I remember being him and not being able to compete with a guy who had the nice car and career. Sometimes I wish I could be more rude and call the young girl out about flirting with someone twice her age, but to be fair, I should also call out the older guys flirting with women young enough to be their daughters.

So how do we change this? The answer is I don’t really know. I do know that constantly telling young girls how they are so much mature than the men their age is not helping. As for the wives of the man in his 30s and 40s, I’m almost afraid to comment. I can tell you this story. When our first child was born my mother-in-law called on the phone to congratulate us. She spent some time talking about the birth and how adorable the baby was, but then I could hear my wife’s voice change, as so did the subject. When my wife got off the phone I asked her what her mother had said. She was embarrassed, but told me anyway. Her mother had explained to her that many young moms forget to keep flirting with their husband after the baby comes. I thought this was strange advice. Why would a mom tell her young daughter this just days after their baby was born? Was it because she was older and wanted to avoid her daughter any pain in the future, or was it that she knows there will be young women in the future who will try to steal her husband away? Years later I understand what she was trying to say, as uncomfortable as the subject is. This advice has helped us through our 23 years of marriage, and of course, communication is always the best answer.

As for the young girl at the counter, I’m sorry, I will not let you cut the line. My wife has been through the years and the most trying times. She gets to keep her man. I only hope that the girl gives the young fella a try. One day she just might be that mom who is just too tired and stressed but wouldn’t appreciate a young women flirting with her man.

Dan Adams

Dan Adams has been a licensed plumbing contractor for nearly 30 years. He owns and operates Edgewood Plumbing  in Redding with his wife, Holly. In 2000 he and Holly moved to Redding from the Bay Area in search of a better place to raise their sons.

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