Once upon a time, the “normal” dating relationship consisted of a man and woman with the woman being younger than the man by a couple years or so. I’ve always wondered why this was the case and decided to investigate among the Korean-American community.
In speaking with several Korean-Americans in their 20′s and 30′s, I’ve noticed a few common themes that are not necessarily specific to Korean-Americans, but all people. In general, women have been the ones driving this tradition. When a man meets a woman, age is not something that comes to his mind (unless it is of course a question of whether she is too young…. for legal reasons). However, when a woman meets a man, it seems that among those that I spoke with, age is a huge question mark. Why? Simple. Women, as they become more mature, start thinking about family and their future. So, naturally, they are attracted to men who have stable jobs and have building a family as part of their future goals.
Another common perception that women have of younger guys is that they are naturally less mature. They feel that men have more to “get out of their system” and need to “grow up” and as a result, prefer to find someone older. I’m not sure how much this is nature vs. nurture, but there probably is some part of the male animal instinct that wants to stay out in the “wild”.
While I can understand the sentiments of women 30,20, and even up to 10 years ago, today’s society has transformed so much since when the mainstream culture and mindset was “man works, woman takes care of home.” Certainly, this formula can still work, and to each his or her own, but let’s take a honest look at how our culture and society has changed today and how we can adapt.
Today, women are becoming more active and prominent in the workforce. Women are becoming partners at investment banks, law firms, and taking positions as executives of Fortune 500 companies (Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon shown left). Even though men still make up the majority of the workforce, the growth of women in business has been so strong, one has to consider the phrase “woman works, man takes care of home.” Does it sound weird? Women have proven they are fully capable of developing a professional career, having babies, and then continuing their career. So the question to men is, are you ready to be a stay at home dad?
Speaking with several Korean American’s, I asked a series of questions and was surprised at the responses. A lot of the Korean American guys I talked to said they would be open to being a stay at home dad. A lot of them felt with the internet, they could find a way to still “work” while learning ways to take care of the home. Of course, the reaction from our parents would be less favorable. In Korean culture, even today, being a housewife is really only an occupation for women. However, in the United States, it seems we have to be more open given the growth of women as valuable members in the workforce.
If stability is less of a concern since woman too can have stable careers, then would they be open to dating a younger guy? The answer from my female peers was a lukewarm “maybe”. They still maintain the mindset that maturity comes with age and that maturity is synonymous with stability. Among the guys I spoke to, the consensus was a definite “yes” to being open to dating older women. Many of the Korean American men I spoke to feel like they have stable careers and if they met the right girl, could settle down.
So after all these conversations, I started to believe that the tradition of women only dating older men is only in people’s heads. I think we need to get out of the old way of thinking and adapt to the new. To be honest, sometimes I find older women more attractive because they know what they want. Younger people usually have to figure that out, which comes with time. But, every person is different so why not get to know the person, be open-minded and see where that goes?! (See Demi and Ashton!)
Here are 3 points for men to consider when meeting an older woman:
1. Don’t be afraid to let girls know you have a good, stable job.
2. If relevant, feel free to talk about family values and perhaps even goals you may have
3. Make her feel young – be upbeat about life and show self control
Here are 3 points for women to consider when meeting a younger man:
1. If he makes you feel young or happy, age really doesn’t matter, does it!
2. If he is passionate about life and his career, that’s called stability in a nutshell
3. Just because he doesn’t jump up and down about kids doesn’t mean he’s not ready, just a little convincing!