I am currently involved with a younger woman. Not much younger: two years. That doesn't seem like such a big deal, does it? Especially since that woman is my wife. I bring this up because of the unique perspective that was offered to my son last week by his uncle, my wife's older brother. He told my sixteen-year-old son that he would be better off checking out the incoming freshman girls than continuing to pursue girls his own age. He went on to rationalize this strategy by pointing out that young women in their junior year of high school had a pretty solid two-year head start on maturity compared to their male counterparts. That two year age difference could really work for him. At least that's what his uncle thinks.
Me? I'm not sure. Having managed a grand total of three official girlfriends in my life, I don't know if I can back up my brother-in-law's science. Back in grade school, my first girl friend was a few months older than me. When it was time for my first kiss, I can say that I was a happy and willing participant, but I was not the initiator of that sequence. I was the very grateful recipient of her "emotional maturity."
In high school I spent a couple years chasing after girls my own age, or more tot he point, I spent a couple years imagining how I might chase after girls my own age. Mostly I pined. It wasn't until my senior year that I recalled the sage wisdom of a friend of mine who had recently graduated: sophomores. Never content to take the easy way out, I ended up dating a junior who turned out to be every bit as clever and experienced in the ways of dating as her elementary school predecessor. I was out of my depth ten minutes into our first date.
Then there was a ten year period where I retreated to that familiar position of pining. This was defensible primarily because I hoped that the disparate levels of dating prowess might be overcome if I went into some sort of relationship stasis for a decade or so. When I awoke, Bill Clinton was president, and I was engaged to a young lady who was a sophomore when I was a senior. At that point, I was thirty and she was twenty-eight. I wish that I could report that I had made leaps of maturity that made this relationship a piece of cake. Maybe I slept through that part where I would somehow have come out on the dominant end of this transaction. After twenty years of marriage, I'm still trying to catch up.
That's why I won't be backing up the sage wisdom of my son's uncle. I don't know if our kind is genetically predisposed to understanding women. Ours is the clan who sit and marvel at all the wonders that they deliver, and try not to get hung up on all that math.