I was talking to a beautiful girl. Perhaps I should write that I was speaking with a beautiful woman. Young woman might be a better description. In truth, she was far more interested in age than me. Her actual age is a state secret. It is sufficient to disclose that she is much younger than me.

She grouped and categorized her suitors by their ages, as if by going out with a twenty-one year old home for spring break would make her a coed again. Would a tryst with a thirty-eight year old result in grey hairs? Would dating a fifty year old, G-d forbid, necessitate Crestor and orthopedic shoes? This is normally the province of vain middle aged men reliving a youth that never happened.

I bring this to your attention as a way to highlight the diminishing differences between men and women. It is not unusual for women to focus on their age. My mother is still twenty-two. Really. Ask her. There are any number of industries dedicated to making women look and feel younger. Defining beauty, a moveable target, may involve hair, skin, clothing, plastic surgery, or even hideous things like Spanx. Men, potbellied and balding, measured their ages by their escorts, as if a twenty-eight year old is the equivalent of vitality. Another line got blurred today.

My friend is retaining her youth through her lovers.

 But there is a price for this – conversation. Some of these May / September relationships work. Many of them only succeed in the bedroom. What do you talk about when you don’t share any cultural references? Music, politics, and sports all have a timeline. The big moments, the big players are well known, but the perspective is very different. The Beatles, the first moon walk, and Richard Nixon’s resignation are very real to me. They would be history, important history at best, to someone just ten years younger than me. And someone twenty years younger, born in 1975, would have become politically aware as Reagan was leaving office. Are there shared events? Certainly. But the connections trend toward the physical.

My friend is retaining her youth through her lovers. It appears to be working. She has never looked better or more confident. So who am to judge? Still I wonder if the gentlemen know or care about her age. Would a thirty-one year old feel older and more mature is she was dating me? Is age contagious?

It appears that the only person you can always fool is yourself.