.. 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 🙂