Guest Post: Doing It (and by “It” I mean “The Math”)

16 Nov

Hauntologist brings this post to us today. I think the concept of PMDA that he proposes is quite interesting. I really don’t believe in dating younger than myself. Maybe it’s because all my male counter-parts have been older. Maybe it’s just that I think those younger than me smell like Similac. Either way, I wouldn’t shun them for a good roll in the hay. They just aren’t long term material, and they definitely won’t be meeting any of my friend. Fuck that shit!  I will say I’m glad this topic came up. A friend on Facebook posed a question last night. She asked, “How much of an age difference is too much of an age difference?” Well, ladyface with the pool boy (who is sizzling btw), let’s see if you can get some insight from Hauntologist and the rest of the TTTM community. Enjoi!

On this week’s episode of Bones Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and her partner Agent Booth (David Boreanaz) investigated the murder of a young man aboard a “Cougar Cruise” – a shipboard party for older women on the hunt for (often much) younger men. In response to the puritanical Booth’s protestation, Dr. Brennan offered the following formula for the Permissible Minimum Datable Age (hereafter PMDA): half one’s age plus 8.

PMDA=1/2 + 8

This seems pretty tidy. Based on this formula, my 32-year-old friend who’s dating a 24-year old guy who she calls her “man-kitten” is a Right-On Sister. Likewise, a gentleman of my acquaintance aged 24 with a charming 20-year old girlfriend is within mathematical bounds. For me, at 40, a 28-year old is the youngest I’m allowed. I was a little startled when I did the math and figured out that, based on the chart below, an on-again-off-again FWB has always been off limits and will be until he’s 31 and I’m 46.

The formula gets more interesting as one gets older. For an 80-year old, the PMDA is 48: old enough to understand, maybe, one’s concerns about Social Security, but young and strong enough to help you into bed when you break a hip.

Tear and I were chatting about this the other evening over stuffed calamari. He’s always been pursued by older fellows, I’ve always dated younger guys. In our culture, older men’s pursuit of younger women has often been lauded. Older women’s pursuit of younger men is parodied if not pilloried, even now as women are asserting their right to shag hot boys all they want, and some young men seem to be responding accordingly. And for the gays, there’s always been a sort of romance about the older gentleman and his handsome young partner (though both Isherwood and Bachardy, and Wilde and Bosie fell well outside the formula, in the latter case with disastrous results). There doesn’t seem to be a specific culture of age difference for lady-loving ladies, though I’ve known several intergenerational partnerships between women that seemed to work nicely.

So can desire be made to fit a formula? Is there an equation for compatibility? Barring statutory restrictions, what’s your limit, older or younger, now that in your 30s you’re creeping toward the Middle Ages?


6 Responses to “Guest Post: Doing It (and by “It” I mean “The Math”)”

  1. Dulce November 16, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    For me, that PMDA was shot to shit. I was 30 when I started dating a 23 year old, so, of course, I was right on the cusp. I had gotten out of an oppressive relationship and wanted to have a little youth and fun in my life. Well, I should have kept it to just fuck buddies, because as far as a relationship goes, it was a disaster. We were nowhere near the same point in our life and I spent all my time trying to live at the point he was at, when I should have been working on the things in my life.

    Anyway, I guess I’m a little wary off dating too much younger than me (a couple years is fine if they’re mature enough), but as far as the upper level, I think I’m comfortable dating about 10 years older than me. After that, they start to approach the same age as my dad.

    And that’s just fucking weird.

  2. hauntologist November 16, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    The formula is, at best, an amusing heuristic and is offered as such. I don’t think any formula (especially one that’s a. pseudoscientific, and b. taken from a tv show) can substitute for good judgment and self-knowledge.

    • Ladyface November 16, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

      I recently posted the status update question: “How much of an age difference is too much of an age difference?”. I was given all sorts of formulas and advice, but by far, my favorite was

      Your age minus your age plus 18.

      As an independent, piquant, spicy, sex-positive woman in her early 40s, I would like to share that not all of us are looking for long term. Or monogamy. These two relationship descriptors are also not mutually exclusive. The Ethical Slut, by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy gleefully discusses the concept that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you”. Amen!

      For now, the pool boy is working out well. Based on my past history with relationships, surely this one will come to an end, but until it does, I plan to embrace the salacious energy and proclivity of youth…. without abandon. Yes, please!

      Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a 21 year old I want to attend to.

      • theVar November 16, 2010 at 11:17 pm #

        I’m sorry. What were you saying? Your closure totally gave me a boner. Thank you!

  3. enyabiznass November 16, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    I always heard it was half your age plus 7; maybe we’re getting more conservative! ;)

    I’ve dated guys up to two years younger than me. I couldn’t go younger than that. Hot Boyfriend is a bit over a year younger than me. Sometimes it freaks me out a little bit. But then again, he’s much more secure with himself and mature than guys I dated who were several years older than me.


  1. Guesty Posty on Talk Thirty To Me « Research and Destroy - November 16, 2010

    […] did a little guest post on the mathematics of dating over at Talk Thirty To Me.  And I’m totally unashamed that it was inspired by an episode of […]

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