Valentine's Day Special: Mind the age gap.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

This is a weekend of tender love, flavoursome chocolate and rose petals floating on the surface of temperature controlled water in which a man and a woman will fondle in a fusion of love. Valentine’s Day is dedicated to man and woman, Adam and Eve, and anyone else who want to commemorate their emotional relationship with another human being.

Love makes the world joyful and the world go around. Whether it’s the love for you partner, friends, family, job or hobby, being emotionally attached to something fulfils life. There is plenty I love in life. One of wish is publishing but also my supporting friends, family and you the readers. Last but not least I adore women, but just like with my hobbies I’m always on the quest for something new to cherish. I just cannot get enough of variation and I actively seek new encounters to enrich my life and expand my view of the world.

Society is engineered in a way that in a loving couple, the women is commonly younger than the man. The most photographed woman to have ever existed, Lady Diana, was 33 years younger than Prince Charles when they were a power couple haunted by the media and spineless paparazzi accountable for her death. Despite the wide age gap, it is socially acceptable for men to be older than their partner. Older and more experienced, the man plays the role of steering the relationship forward. The male gender role involve responsibilities such as choosing what restaurant to eat at, ask a girl out, walk her home and picking the right engagement ring. Done with pleasure and care, the dedicate gender roles can at times be numbing. Lusting for adventure I set to aim my bow and arrow of love at older women. Not to say that I had boy toy ambitious like the 23 years old Jesus Luz currently dating a women who could well be his mother, Madonna. It was more of a personal curiosity to trade gender roles with a firm and older individual who knows what she wants and can spur unimaginable thrill to my life. Little did I know that my undertaking would be bring about adventure, but not the kind I had foolishly and naively envisioned.
So one night in mid-November last year I was in a positive mood for trying my luck with women of a higher calibre. Invited to a press event at 18:30 I neatly ironed a red tartan shirt and tucked a white handkerchief into the chest pocket of my blazer. The weather was ambiguous as ever: grey, damp and slightly windy with possibility of rain – but the optimistic weatherman in me walked past the umbrella in the hallway and intentionally left it behind. Arriving at venue in Mayfair, my comrade for the night, Matthew, was late but there was no sense of displease in me. Punctuality is problematic in London and I have grown accustom to lateness -- which is an issue when I visit my home town Gothenburg in Sweden to where embarrassingly carry my dysfunctional time management with me to the highly punctual Swedes.

After 5 minutes of waiting in the gloomy night, I stepped inside and was instantly greeted by the warmth of some 100 people gathered in a small two floor boutique. It was a press event for a food company and alongside the walls was colourful merchandise ranging from plates and aprons to wallets and artwork. While taking off my jacket and unwrapping my scarf I navigated through the crowds of public relation assistants, hedge fund managers and the obligatory press people from various London based publications. The ground floor was bright and well lit with high voltage halogen lamps radiating heat which pushed me to escape upstairs where lighting was dim, music was loud and catering were distributing canap├ęs of various kinds. Late but looking preppy in a one button blazer, striped shirt, pleated beige chinos and a burgundy tie, Matthew arrived 35min late of which I spent mingling and searching for familiar faces.

Matthew was agitated by the moist and hot air which had close to zero escape routes because boutiques rarely have windows that can be opened. And more annoying was the lack of air condition or a wardrobe to leave coats and bags. Tired of holding our jackets and scarves we found a corner behind a shelf to chuck the outerwear. I didn’t care too much about my jacket getting a bit dirty on the floor because it’s a quilted Barbour jacket. Inarguably the least personal jacket money can buy but it’s an excellent beater-coat designed to withstand wear and tear. With our hands free to pick up delicious chocolate truffle served in cute turquoise boxes, we soon saw something even cuter that we wanted to sample – two girls who looked as disconnected from the mature crowd as we were. Attending press events is like taking a time machine to 5-10 years ahead in time. I sometimes feel like a toddler next to 38 years old art directors and marketing executives who are past playing Pro Evolution Soccer on PlayStation 3 – and are more importantly very protective of their personality by putting on their colourless and dreary professional persona. But the two girls, whom I will nickname Betty and Gemma, candidly exhibited their personal character. Signing the guestbook, which was a innovatively a white table, we interrupted the girl with some amusing mutter and loose talk about fashion and life over a glass of complimentary mojitos from the open bar. Betty was tall, wearing a glamorous silky top and high heels upstaged by her sharp and posh Fulham accent. She a characteristic London extrovert: Very outspoken, great party talker and confident as a knight on a high horse. Her companion Gemma was shorter and had a more bohemian and ecological fashion sense. Off course, she had a personality to match. Inviting and calm the mutually pleasant chatter took us closer towards the end of the event.
With a judgement clouded by two mojitos and a further two glasses of Chardonnay, I agreed to join the ladies for the proceedings of their evening which were to one of their favourite bars. The sober and focused Matthew told me it wasn’t a good idea but I convinced him to come along for what I was hoping to be a joy ride. And indeed it was a joyride. Betty sneaked out a glass of chardonnay on our way out and embarrassingly a man at the door noticed and remarked sarcastically. My reaction was laughter and fascination over this girl’s fearless bravados. Their favourite London lair was Bob Bob Richard which is an upscale Soho restaurant/bar with an extortionist service charge of 12.5%. Chewing on black olives and peanuts I and the girls ordered a glass of Chardonnay each while Matthew conservatively opted for a glass of elderflower water. Immersed in the blue and golden Greek interior we socialised comfortably and out of the blue Betty put forward the topic that had been lingering all night – age. We gave her and Gemma our birth years, 1987 and 1989 and subsequently Gemma revealed that she was born 1982 and Betty in 1980. To my surprise they looked deceptively young and another surprised followed when I heard the words “my ex is 34 years old” coming out of Betty’s mouth. It had previously not occurred to me that seducing older women entail competing with 12 years older men. But I remained upbeat as me and Matthew gossiped during the two breaks when Betty and Gemma went outside for a smoking break. Having sat at Bob Bob Richard from 21:00-12:55, the girls barged outside for yet another smoking session but this time with their bags, a mere 5min before we all intended on leaving. When the bill came it was off course only us men left at the table to pay and so we did. We rejoiced with our female company outside but did not make any mention of the bill nor their suspiciously planned escape from paying for their drinks.

Listed on the guest lists of a club off Regent Street near Piccadilly, we were invited by Gemma to join. Hoping for a happy ending to fulfil my arousal I dragged Matthew crawl deeper down the rabbit hole of chasing older girl. Inside the club a handful of guys were wearing oversized wigs, heavy make-up, extravagant costumes and full body latex suits. Matthew’s face tightened up as he was trying to compute the unusual sight before his eyes. Thanks to the beautiful company of Betty and Gemma, we had somewhere to divert our eyes. At the overly crowded bar, the four of us managed to grab a free drink right before the free supply alcohol was depleted by people with eccentric fetishes beyond my imagination. Relaxed dancing to the electronica music blasting through the roof positioned speakers, was followed by conversation at a comfortable leather sofa. With empty glasses in front of us, me and Matthew stayed true to our principle of not buying strangers drinks, and after a mere 30min at the club, Gemma and Betty stood up and said they had to leave. Feeling hollow, used and abandoned, the walls in the rabbit hole were closing in on me and it didn’t take long for Matthew and I to call it a night. Disappointed but in a spirited mood I crawled out of the rabbit hole not having found wonderland nor I found wonder-women of an older age.
Sober and recovered I woke up the following day pondering over the adventures of the previous night and conceded that I had been outsmarted by a smarter opponent. As adventurous as it turned out to be, older women are more experienced – not just in life but with dating men. They have met enough men to know how we behave, what our tricks are and how we can seductively be compelled into following their commands – or as I would comically put it, being leached around like dogs. Not salivating for Betty anymore I licked my wounds and accepted the lesson I had learnt. At two opposite sides of London, Matthew and Gemma were happily chatting on their Blackberries. As an introvert, Gemma’s good conscious prompted her to ask Matthew “Do you think that we use people for our own gain?”. Shown the message on his spanking new Bold, I chuckled over her guilt and the £29.80 financial hole the trivial episode of thrill seeking had burnt in wallet. Ranked high up on my list for hall of shames, I look back at the night happier than ever with my gender roles and will next time will twice about trading places with an older girl.

Happy Valentine’s Day.