Monday, July 24, 2006

BloomingtonGirl on The Mid-Life Crisis Affair

Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
I read recently that Christie Brinkley and her husband, Peter Cook have separated. The cause of the separation was ostensibly Cook’s affair with a young woman. Current affairs of graver import such as the tragic crisis in the MidEast normally command the attention of your BloomingtonGirl, but I couldn’t resist a closer look at this story. After all, if a supermodel can be cheated on, shouldn’t we mere mortal women be concerned?

Cook - age 50 - met his paramour when she was a seventeen year-old clerk at a toy store Cook frequented with his children. Soon after meeting her, Cook offered her a job at architectural firm with, I am sure, a certain view toward her seduction. He shrewdly waited until after her eighteenth birthday to make his move and sweetened the deal with a $50/hour salary, a car and “lots of jewelry”. They slept together for about a year, after which, she allegedly broke it off.

Shame on you Peter Cook! Offering a job to a girl less than half your age just because of your inappropriate attraction to her!

When I first learned of this tawdry affair, I was getting ready to take my five-year old son, Jack to his nightly swim lesson at Indiana University. On the short drive to the pool, I thought about what Cook had done and immediately took the position that he was a pig, a swine, a pathetic walking mid-life crisis. And, for good measure, I lumped in all men who were married to women of a certain age - over 40 perhaps? - who betrayed their wives and children by taking up with girls young enough to be their daughters. I got right up on my high horse (quite a familiar seat for BloomingtonGirl, I will admit) and took this genre of men to pieces. After their devoted - and great looking as in the case of Brinkley - wives give them the best (looking) years of their lives, what do they do?. They throw them over for a (MUCH!) newer model. On and on I went (in my mind), smug in my conviction that this horrid behavior was exclusively male. In fact, The thought never crossed my mind that a woman would be capable of such folly. Until I got to the pool, that is.

I walked Jack over to his instructor, Ellis. Ellis will be a sophomore at IU this fall which makes him about twenty years old, if that. He is - I have to be honest here - one of the most beautiful young men I have laid eyes on in, well, I can’t even remember when. He has the combination of a handsome face and a perfect body that one cannot help but notice. When I met him two weeks ago, that is just what I did. I noticed his remarkably good looks as I would notice anything remarkable in a new acquaintance. I did not have lust in my heart (or any other part of my body) for this young man. Truly, I simply noticed how good-looking he was and didn’t think about it further.

Anyway, when I dropped Jack off, Ellis looked up and flashed me a stunning smile. The effect of the smile surprised me. My simple notice of him was - dare I admit it? - kicked up a notch. As I walked to my pool side chair, I was taken aback by my reaction to that smile. I was actually a little flustered.

“This is silly!” I told myself and tried to forget about it by reading my book.

But the book did not hold my interest. I am ashamed to say that I found myself watching Jack’s swimming lesson with a little more interest than I had previously. I began to think, “Hmm, Ellis is terrific with Jack. Wouldn’t he make a great baby-sitter? Why don’t I ask him if he would like to baby-sit for Jack this fall?”

As I mused upon offering this delightful (looking) young man employment, I was suddenly stopped dead in my thought tracks. Wait a minute! Was I pulling a Peter Cook? Was I going to offer employment (in my home no less) to a man young enough to be my son on the basis of his stunningly good looks? I had to be honest with myself and admit that I was doing just that!

My head began to spin. I suddenly realized that a middle-aged man didn’t have a corner on the disgusting market of being attracted to a person half his age. We middle aged women could succumb, too! Damn! Now, in the interest of fairness, I had to reexamine the question of the mid-life crisis affair and include the possibility that women were just as capable as men.

After some thinking on the subject, I had to admit that it was possible that men conducted themselves scandalously in this area because they had more opportunity than their female counterparts and not because men were necessarily less virtuous or sensible than women. (Though, having said that, I do still believe that women are less susceptible to such folly than men...but I have no proof of this.)

Think about it. As men age, they continue to be attractive to younger women, especially if they have money, position or power. Therefore, a man wouldn’t feel entirely ridiculous pursuing a woman half his age. After all, he might reasonably assume she could be attracted to him. And, even if he didn’t consider cheating in the first place, repeated come-ons by a particularly attractive young woman might weaken his resolve over time. Any of us with a pulse can admit that such forces of nature can be formidable.

On the other hand, as women age, and, perhaps, particularly after they become mothers, they no longer are attractive to younger men. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but in general, I think you will agree this is true. (Now, I don’t think that this is a cause for a whole bunch of boo-hooing or opining on the shallow nature of men. It has been that way since time immemorial and probably has more to do with biology and reproduction rather than men being idiots. But, that is a topic for another time.)

So, if a woman is in contact with a very young man whom she finds attractive, she is unlikely to make any move at all because it would never occur to her - and rightly so in most cases - that the young man would return the attraction. She would assume that flirtation would risk a humiliation and so she wouldn’t do it. And, she isn’t likely to be faced with the situation in which a young man is repeatedly coming on to her. In short, she isn’t even going to have the chance to have her resolve weakened. She isn’t going to have the opportunity to have that hot little affair.

My reluctant conclusion is that men have more affairs with young women than their older women have with younger men simply because men can where women can not. Granted, this is a simplistic approach and doesn’t take into consideration lots of other variables. Still, I think that it is a reasonable conclusion.

After all, if someone as sensible and virtuous as I could succumb to thoughts such as I had, doesn’t it stand to reason that most women could? And if young men were, in general, attracted to older women, wouldn’t there be a percentage of those older women acting on such delicious, oops, I mean despicable, thoughts?

I leave it for you, loyal readers, to make your own conclusions.


Mary said...

Hey there... good job! I think this is such an interesting issue... the idea of a man cheating on say, Heather Locklear. Doesn't make sense. As if beauty should ensure fidelity... ! Isn't that what we think? But no, it seems for some men it's more about the conquest. Or quantity.

The young man-older woman makes me think of Kenau Reeves going after Diane Keaton. Now, how often does that happen? That's more fantasy than reality.I think it's really only women who can really truly see and appreciate and value the wonder of the mature women!

Perk said...

From the 45 year old male perspective---I would be absolutely astonished to learn that any 20-something women could find me attractive even if I had staus, wealth, etc. So I think the middle-aged assumption of non-attractiveness goes for both sexes.

About Peter Cook & Christie Brinkley--maybe it's a mistake to assume looks & beauty have anything to do with his infidelity. I know nothing about Christie Brinkley but it's possible that it's a personality issue. There's more to love, passion and relationships than body parts...

Anne said...

Sadly, I feel you are correct. This would make a great article to get published too! Exactly as you have written it!

BloomingtonGirl said...

I agree that there is more to love than body parts. In fact, body parts have just about nothing to do with mature love in my opinion.

And as far as Christie Brinkley is concerned, Cook is her fourth husband, so who knows? The fact is that nobody really know what goes on within a marriage except for the husband and wife and even they don't really know the other person's side of it most of the time.