Helen Croydon: Younger men aren't worth it

My experience has found them to be addicted to unrealistic romance

Related Topics

I watched GMTV last week in utter bewilderment when the presenter cheerfully introduced a story on the growing number of so-called "cougars" – women over 40 looking to date a man at least eight years her junior. Sofa guest, Rita Sangha, 39, whose recent, more able-bodied beaux include a 17-year-old, runs Cougar Camp, giving advice and encouragement to women looking to attract young blood.

It was not so much the concept, but the gung-ho enthusiasm with which it was introduced. The message seemed to be: "Wake up, women, this is the latest fun activity to boost your post-divorce ego." It came without any health warning on some of the possible effects a bold and experienced woman may have on the less emotionally developed mind of a younger man.

The presenter asked whether this is about the pursuit of fun or love and Sangha declared it is both. But I doubt if the eager, unscarred heart of a young male – refreshing as that may be – is able to make the distinction as ruthlessly as an elder date.

This was no isolated case. On research it seems it is very trendy to be an aspiring cougar. There are dating websites for them, books on them and this weekend one Sunday newspaper published not one, but four heated letters on the topic. Last month saw the launch of a new American comedy TV show, Cougar Town, starring Courtney Cox as a divorced woman re-entering a dating scene filled with younger men.

Not to forget a host of celebrities. Kim Cattrall, 53, dated her 20-years-younger chef boyfriend for several years. Madonna, 51, appears enamoured by Jesus Luz, a 23-year-old Dolce & Gabbana model, and Demi Moore, 46, is married to spring-chicken Ashton Kutcher, 31.

Who cares, you may cry. Women should be embracing their sexuality in defiance of grey hair and gravity. They should be fighting back over an ageist, youth-obsessed society. Indeed they should, but any relationship should be born via natural causes and based on a genuine connection. A workshop teaching women to force their pheromones on to the younger male seems predatory.

Nor should any relationship serve as a sidekick to boost either partner's ego. I imagine if a man were to set up a workshop giving pointers to middle-aged males on how to woo a younger girl, there would be a great deal of feminist outcry. But we seem to be in an era where anything that empowers a woman is an unquestionable victory for women's lib.

More to the point, though, why on earth would any woman want to date a younger man? Their lack of savoir-faire is terribly off-putting. They don't have a penny to rub together and their idea of haute cuisine is a two-for-one deal at Pizza Express and a bottle of Jacob's Creek. To keep in touch with them, you would need a log-in with Twitter, various instant-messenger accounts and Skype – whatever that is. If you went on holiday, all your snaps would end up on Facebook and if you "stayed over at his", you would have to join a queue of 15 flatmates to use the bathroom in the morning.

My experience of younger men has found them to be incurably addicted to unrealistic romance. It's quaint, but it isn't sexy. If I wanted the doe-eyed affections of a younger man I would get myself a puppy. No thanks, I'd much prefer a seasoned panther.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Read Next
Former N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos gives a statement outside Southwark Crown Court after her trial  

It would be wrong to compare brave Tulisa’s ordeal with phone hacking. It’s much worse than that

Matthew Norman
The Big Society Network was assessed as  

What became of Cameron's Big Society Network?

Oliver Wright
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn