Jeremy Abelson, a self-styled dating impresario who organized the Natural Selection Speed Date event that paired wealthy bachelors with beautiful women this past February in New York City, can see the appeal."Any young guy who has seen (the movie) 'American Pie' can basically say he was right there with the Asian guy and the white guy as they were cheering ... "I was basically standing there cheering with them.Similar to their younger male counterparts, younger women have reflected this interest in older men.
A 2003 study by AARP revealed that 34 percent of all women over 40 in the survey were dating younger men, and 35 percent preferred it to dating older men. Quite frankly, his mother made it so impossible," Winter says of the six-year relationship, which inspired her book.
"Societal attitudes have definitely changed," says Susan Winter, 52, co-author of "Older Women, Younger Men: New Options for Love and Romance" -- and she would know. "But (that kind of discrimination) would not be allowable now." Hollywood in particular has defied the ageism stereotype, with celebrities like Madonna and Demi Moore marrying significantly younger men (a 10- and 15-year age gap, respectively, with director Guy Ritchie and actor Ashton Kutcher), and the public has come to accept it.
NBC aired a reality dating show this summer -- "Age of Love" -- that pitted women in their 20s against women in their 40s in a battle for the heart of tennis star Mark Philippoussis.
Meanwhile, online dating sites like Go urge older women who seek younger men to "get what you want." Such pairings can and do work.
And I think that's a very common fantasy for young men." The potential issues between such May-December couples are the same ones that challenge the longevity of any relationship: different long-term priorities and emotional temperament.
"He's not thinking about kids and marriage," says Pender of her boyfriend, "and he bugs me when I forget to dye my gray roots." If you can work through these issues, the adage holds true: Age ain't nothing but a number.
"When I finally found out how much younger he was, I was a little shocked," says Kimberly Schmitz, a 34-year-old communications and public relations director in Tucson, Arizona, of her now-fianc, Bobby Kern, 25, owner of a feed store and pet food distribution company in the same city.
"(But) he is such an amazing man that I decided to let his actions speak more than his statistics. He is the most mature and sensitive man I have ever dated." For Kern, the attraction is mutual.
Mary Pender, 37, a high school special education teacher in Huntington Beach, California, connected with a truck driver seven years her junior who she met on an online dating site.
Though she'd always dated older men before, she "thought it was exciting to date someone younger" -- and, as it turned out, he thought it'd be just as exciting a match.
It seems that they are easier to get along with -- there is, for the most part, no drama.