Maybe Katie Couric is right.
According to Judith Brower, author of "FAYM: Females and Younger Men, the Trend That Changes the Rules
," behind every great single woman should be a line of younger, single men.
No, she's not jumping on the cougar train a few years too late. Dating younger men, she says, is about increasing your chances of finding a soul mate. It's also the new black, natural order of things (since women live, on average, five years longer), and a habit Hollywood's had for years. (Kelly Ripa, we're looking at you, though you're so scary-skinny these days, it's hard to do!)
And, well, since Brower is the CEO of her own marketing communications firm, we figure she's used to turning her nose to the wind and sniffing out the latest trends. So, we decided to hear her out.
What we wanted to know: How young is too young? What if he lives with his mom? And does this mean there will be a female Hef someday soon?
One can only hope. We would really like twin boy toys named Timmy and Tommy to do all of our bidding.
Lemondrop: When did the book hit?
I self-published, so yesterday.
When did you start to realize there was a need for a book about women dating younger men?
My friends who were single -- and I was single myself until I was 42 -- most of the women I knew were starting to date younger men, in addition to men their age or who were older, but they felt funny about it. So I started looking into, Why do we feel we can't date younger men when men date younger women all the time?
And why do you think that May-December relationships are older than the hills, but only when May is a ... maiden?
My gut reaction is that people don't like change. From the research I've done, male society has held women back, historically speaking -- not that they're bad people. But first women weren't allowed to vote. They weren't allowed to have credit cards. Now women can work. Women can go to college. The world accepts women as equal people.
And this is a big final step in that women can enjoy dating a man who's younger than she is in a nice, normal, loving relationship.So, how young are we talking?
My ballpark is a window of 10 years. I think that women who are 25 think that they can date someone who's 30, and women who are 35, think they can date someone who's 40. I mean, we're not going to children -- a 25-year-old woman dating a 15-year-old -- but I think a 35-year-old woman can double her chances of finding a soul mate if she looks at men between the ages of 25 and 45.
Interesting. Lori Gottlieb took a lot of heat after writing that when she went to speed-dating as a 40-something, the guys who showed up, on average, were 50- or 60-something. Do you think the demand is there?
One of the ways you can attract those men is by, when you go online, allow yourself to be seen by the younger men and let them know that you're interested. I mean, if you're talking about a four-year difference, there's really no difference between a 35-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man.
But there is the question of fertility. And in that case, a 35-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man could make a difference.
It turns out that men's fertility and women's fertility have that in common. Men's sperm swims more slowly, and it's less genetically sound. A woman who is 35 is more likely to be married with a healthy child if she marries a guy who's 33 instead of 43.
But do these guys want to date older women?
I have a chapter called "De-clawing the Cougar." That phenomenon of men seeking out women who are older is real. They're more confident. They know what they want. That makes it easier for the men to date them. And it makes it easier for the men to date.
Falling in love is amazing and wonderful, and if people can double their chances -- say, he was in seventh grade, and she was in ninth, and now she's 33 and he's 35 -- it's going to create a lot more happy couples because people will be able to find each other.
And for women it's very empowering to know that we aren't stuck and defined by what someone else wants of us. And that if we fall for someone a little younger than us, to know that women are equal people at this point, and society is going to allow it. Most people probably do know people in their friends' network where the guys are younger. You look at racially mixed couples -- that used to stop people. And as this trend continues, it will become less unusual and that will help de-stigmatize the issue.
We're all for it, but right now, it still looks like Katie Couric can't so much as cross the street with her younger boyfriend without making news.
Well, the thing is, the couples that I've seen that are in these relationships, they aren't aware of it between themselves.
My brother is married to a woman who is 16 years older than him, and they're one of the happiest couples I've ever seen. They met at work -- they were both working at a law firm, though neither one was an attorney -- and they've been married for over 20 years.
Right. And there is the point that women live longer than men these days.
Yeah, according to the 2006 census, male average life expectancy is 75.1 to female life expectancy of 80.2.
So, are you advocating that we start dating younger men at any particular age? There was the recent survey in which women over 35 said any guy under 33 was too immature for them to even consider.
It really shouldn't make much difference. If you're staying within a closer range, say a 10 year range. I have a chapter called "He's Too Immature," and I think that crosses people's minds all the time. I think you have to talk about what you mean by maturity. Do you think that they're irresponsible? Some people are mature when they're children. so it's more of a personality trait than an age factor, as long as it's not getting to an age that's inappropriate.. as in under 18.
Were you looking to particular celebrity couples when you noticed this trend?
Hollywood is where everything happens first. And people living together without being married. Women having babies as single women. I do have a chapter called, "What happens in Hollywood never stays in Hollywood. Cher started it, and Madonna certainly. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. I know they just broke up, but they were together for a long time.
And we have the example of A-rod. A-Rod certainly didn't diminish his masculinity dating Madonna. Jane Fonda is older than Ted Turner, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban and Kelly Ripa and Mark Conseulos. Helen Hunt and Hank Azaria, and my favorite, Victoria Beckham: Posh spice is older than David Beckham, and they certainly look lovely together.
How old is your husband?
He's eight years older. I keep joking that now that he's read my book, he's going to leave me for an older woman.
Carrie Sloan is the editor of Lemondrop. She once crushed on a guy who was 8. She was 9 at the time.