The age old question

.. the younger man-older woman debate.

I happen to be older than my husband, and somehow the novelty of that fact never seems to wear off  as far as shocking people is concerned. Add to that, the facts that we’re not from the same caste, neither the same community, nor the same region and we’re practically stuff for nationwide shock and awe 😀 But while the inter-community marriages are getting their fair share of airtime, thanks to Khap Panchayats and their ability to shell out fresh stuff every fortnight, my grudge today is largely the age thing.

Okay, so our age difference is  just a few months – not a few years – but in a society where the guy is supposed to be a few years older than the girl, that’s bad enough. Most people see this as a negative 2 – 3 years imbalance.. and as is the norm, THE question of how early/ late you can / must have kids becomes even more of a public debate in our situation.

But what is funny is that most of these shocked reactions come from women. Most men who know about this don’t seem to give a damn, but the women either tsk-tsk or quickly get down to the baby-making mathematics. All credit to my thick hide, I can deal with those kinds. But the other day, one woman really took it to another level. Here was her reaction:

How can one respect a husband who is younger than her?

A question so loaded, it could be fodder for entire novels or soaps. Oh wait, it already has been. Here’s what this assumes:

Assumption 1: Respect is a factor of number of years someone is older than you.

Ofcourse, it totally fits in. Isn’t that the reason why some parents have zero considerations for their children’s right to life and enthusiastically participate in honour killings? If respect was a two-way street, parents could probably respect a younger person’s opinion, and then where will we all be? In a Hindu scripture predicted hell!

Assumption 2: The respect question is irrelevant in the “normal” scenario i.e. younger woman – older man marriage. 

Right. And again, women who are respected in a marriage is the stuff of fairy tales. Respecting women in a marriage is shitloads of work for all involved – you need to listen to and talk to her like an equal, accommodate her dreams and goals in the big pictures, pitch in, love, forgive, fight for her, be by her side against all odds… nothing that sounds like as much fun as ingesting good food and snoring away to glory and waking up to the smell of more good food in the oven. So yeah, why are we even talking about this?

Assumption 3: No no, men do respect the younger women but on their own terms, which is difficult to do if the woman is older. Because then, you know, they think of you as one of the same age bracket as mommy or aunty or something.

This is as true as the younger wives thinking of their husbands as their uncles or fathers! What? They don’t? How could that be? That just defies logic.

Assumption 4: What about kids? You’d want them, he won’t..

Ofcourse, in the case of a younger wife, she’d ALWAYS want the kids when the husband does. After all, she is a respecting wife! In fact, this could be one of the opportunities to get respected in return. See, it’s all thought out.

I find it rather amusing that this should still be a taboo, after Demi Moore, Aishwarya Rai and Anjali Tendulkar have side-stepped this “issue”, but then we live in a country where the celebs and non-celebs live in different worlds, separated by a chasm governed by moral police and social stereotypes. Well, atleast I know I’m in good company 😉

Oh, and I told the woman: “Luckily, I have no choice but to respect him. I’m so much shorter.” She seemed to have bought it, and that’s a story for another day 🙂


26 thoughts on “The age old question

  1. SOOOOOO loved this piece!

    My sis is older than my BIL by 4months too and yes, it was made a big issue then! Now, they (my parents, his parents and people who knew of this) dont care and I’m glad they’re able to see THEM beyond their AGE! Of course, others still get shocked when they hear of it 😀

  2. Whoa, dude, a few months difference makes you “older”? That makes me older than the Guy! And no one (well, except my mom) ever raised an eyebrow. Maybe you should meet different people? 🙂

    • Older is older, even if by a few months. The question is why should it bother anyone else, if I’m older or not. Not just a matter of who you meet, because this isn’t a one-off thing.. pretty much everyone in the older generation and a few in ours behaves this way!

  3. Do you live in the US?

    I’ve heard of people raising eyebrows for dating a much younger man (as in several to many years), but I don’t think I’ve ever heard once anyone make a stink over a few months.

  4. There is also the ‘head of the family’ issue, ‘whom will kids be scared of more’ issue, etc etc…

    I liked your answer though, illogical questions deserve even more confusing answers 🙂

  5. I’m younger than the husband by four days, I’ve missed out on the entertainment 😦

    An aunt once gave me a meaningful look and remarked that if the marriage should work at all, there should be some “age gap”(as she put it) between the two. I told her I was real sorry I wasn’t born two years before Vijesh..I could have maintained the age gap for a prosperous marriage.

    But I do believe that it might have been started ages ago, because it takes men a lot of time to grow up. Even if they married a woman ten years younger, I think they would be of the same mental age.

    In my case, though,I believe I’m married to a seven year old:(

    • Tell me about them. You know, some stuff gets a lot of air time and some doesn’t. The only reason being that MORE people think of these as the taboos, so they conform and the ones like us who don’t are made to feel like freaks.

      • Don’t fret girl. I did everything “right”. Apparently. An arranged marriage with a man 3 and a half years older. Perfect according to the stereotyping types, one would think. And we still get raised eyebrows. So chill. Kuch toh log kahenge. Logo ka kaam hai kehna 😛

  6. Ankit is younger by 15 months 😀 I am pretty sure eyebrows will be raised to the stratosphere.
    That woman has to have a sorry life. I can’t even put into words what sort of regressive mentality a person would have to say such a thing.
    But on the other hand, I agree with the fact that it probably started for a good reason like most things – a twenty-five year old girl and a thirty year old guy have probably the same emotional maturity 😀

    • Hahahaha.. it’s quite true really.. and our sample set could be.. umm.. the entire world 😀

      But really, it doesn’t matter at all.. in anything or any situation from what I’ve seen so far. Wonder then why people tend to make this their personal business, attempting to make you feel like you’re not conforming to an imaginary “rule” they have.

  7. Ha ha.. I’ll average u guys out with a husband 14 years older than me.. And that raises eyebrows as well, even in this Western, supposedly developed country. Women here too are concerned about kids “He can have kids at any age, you know. But you have to think of your biological clock” yada yada.. Things really aren’t as different as I thought they’d be here!

  8. I am 2 days(yes 2 days) older than the husband and people who know that make dire predictions that I am going to look like an old hag while the husband still retains the fountain of youth. Also, they keep saying how women mature faster than men and then the men will go off looking for younger women they can ‘nurture’…yeah!

    • Goodness! *That* is yet to be thrown at me.. but I’m sure it’s somewhere there waiting to be presented.. how gross is it saying such mean things about someone else’s marriage? How do you respond?

      And you know the interesting part: you and I may look at it one way, but the question actually also insults the man in question.. like he’s some sort of a hormonal bull always looking for a child to “nurture”.. WTF!

  9. Many people are nuts, especially when it comes to things that are none of their damn business anyway:(

    On a side note, please increase your font size!
    (I preferred your old template, it was easier to read).

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