While dating, there is one (often left unstated) rule that gives men far too much freedom and power: Men are entitled to seek out younger women, but have no obligation to date older women. As a 26-year-old single Black woman who frequents dating websites, I watch this rule play out on a daily basis. Matter of fact, just today, an older gentleman– about 12 years my senior– sent me a message asking if I was interested in getting to know him. I was. So the first question I asked him was if he would or had ever dated a woman 12 years older than him. Here is how that interaction went down:
(me) “morning. question. would u and have you ever dated a woman 12 years older than you?”
(jackass) “Are you a sick person what type questions is that?”
(me) “…. am i a sick person? for asking a basic question? So is it then sick that you are 12 years old than me?”
(jackass)”Have a nice day”
Like most men do, he opted out of the conversation. Why? Well, because sexism and misogyny are supposed to be left unstated. Men are supposed to feel entitled to younger women without that premise being questioned. This is not the first interaction I have had of the sort. I’ve posed the same question to many other “older men” seeking my attention or affection, both in realtime and online. The conversation usually follows that pattern.
In truth, I have nothing against dating older men, per se. In theory, they should be more emotionally stable and financially secure. They should have aged out of their immaturity and generally have more to offer. So then they should also be able to have a straight-forward conversation about what they can do for a potentially younger partner, right? So then I should be able to ask an older man, straight up, if he has plans to pay all my bills and/or pay back my student loans, right? Of course not.
Any woman who openly declares the need for financial support is a gold digger. Isn’t that convenient? The same financial stability that is supposed to make an older man attractive to a young woman shouldn’t be a topic of conversation, because it is unladylike. Indicative of a morally bankrupt woman. Women shouldn’t be with men because of their money or financial security! Nope. Not at all. Women should love men– old or young– just because they have penises and show any interest in us. All the while, older men openly play into unequal dating standards.
I know this is the benefit and logic Black men have acquired from patriarchy. Patriarchy gives men access to more wealth and power than women, so of course they typically have more leverage in the dating market. In other words, billionaire old-ass Hugh Heffner can fill a house of beautiful young White woman and have easy access to sex with them because he is an old White billionaire leveraging his money and status. The exchange of male wealth for access to young women is inherent in arrangements between well-to-do White men and young White women.
However, this isn’t necessarily the case when we start to work our way down the economic ladder/food chain. The median weekly income gap between Black men and White men is about $200. Broke-ass Black, Hispanic, (even) White and every other race/ethnicity of men still believe they are entitled to have access to younger women, despite their brokeness. And they are enabled to do so because women are dissuaded from broaching the subject of money.
Well, this woman sure as hell ain’t afraid to call herself a gold digger, in this context. There is no way in hell’s name I would date any older guy, who would never even blink an eye to reject an older woman, if he weren’t making my life a whollllleee lot easier in terms of bringing to fruition my aspirations and lessening the financial burden of being Black in America– where the average White family has over $100,000 more wealth than a Black one. If Black men want to aspire to White patriarchy, if they want to be Hugh Heffner, they best find that Hugh Heffner money.
And Black women who date older men should have no problem asking them: What can you do for me?