A Reflection on December-May Romances
The Bill Wyman Zone: where couplings go off the charts...
I usually grab a salad every night at Eddie's on Charles Street, and every once in a while I notice a well-dressed 50-something-plus (bordering-on-60-something) man - whose silver hair and Brooks Brothers suits with snazzy silk ties make him look like a stock broker or CEO - there with a very young looking woman (20 years old, max). This "couple" is a definite eyebrow-raiser because one's initial reaction is, "Oh, it's a father and his daughter there shopping for dinner." But something's not right in that assessment. There's a vibe of creepy inappropriateness.
For one thing, the girl exudes sexuality (she's always "tarted up" - there's no other word for her American Apparel-esque outfits - in short skirts or tight-fitting designer jeans, heels, tons of make-up) - and no Dad, not even the most liberal, open-minded father, would allow his daughter to dress like that around him. This is not a schoolgirl look but one of a Fox on the Run - which is all the more upsettling because the girl's face reveals features of a young woman still growing into her body, like those Chinese gymnasts at the 2008 Olympics with fresh placenta dripping from their still-morphing heads. And her Paris Hilton-styled clothing, well, it makes me think of JonBenet Ramsey Phase Two, a Rush To Adulthood Too Fast Too Soon kinda look.
The Odd Couple: Old Boy Meats Girl at the Supermarket
For another, what chick - even from a broken home or in dad's custody - willingly goes with Pops to the grocery store all dolled up to shop? Gals that age, with those looks, are either hanging out with boys at the mall, swimclub or Starbucks, not playing house with Dad. And the other thing that pushes my Creep-o-Meter into the red is their proximity. They stand REALLY CLOSE together, in an almost intimate way that no father and daughter I've ever seen do. It's the kind of "almost touching" proximity you see in lovers - or overly possessive boyfriends.
OK, I thought at first that I could be wrong and that the guy could be a normal divorced dad, perhaps a widower, who just happens to pick his daughter every day from the Ford Modeling School and heads over to Eddie's to pick up their dinner.
But after walking past the Odd Couple the other night and seeing heads turn, I actually asked one of the staff there about them. "I have my own theory about that," the staffer said. "Mail order bride." Another staff member overheard me and offered, "I think I know what you're talking about." So I wasn't the only person to pick up the creepy vibe! (Though at Eddies, where discretion and genuflecting to the well-heeled clientele is all part of their customer service philosophy, nary a eyebrow is raised - in public, at least.) When I mentioned how close I noticed the couple standing together, the kid whispered, "Well, they used to come in holding hands all the time." Wow, the dude must really think he's hot shit, parading around with his trophy snatch like Hefner at the Mansion. Money may not buy you love as the Beatles famously sang, but it sure can land you a pretty nice approximation of it in the form of sexual access and surface gloss. I wonder if the man has a red sports car as well?
Yup, I get a decidely unsavory Humpert Humpert vibe from the old man, whether he has a mail order bride or is living one of those real-life December-May romances like Hollywood used to celebrate back in the 50s in all those movies where an aging Gary Cooper or Cary Grant or Fred Astaire would traipse around with a ridiculously younger Audrey Hepburn. And no, I'm not jealous because the guy's within striking distance of my age hanging out with a sweet young thang. Listen, I draw the hottie line at 30 (I have to - see the Bill Wyman Zone chart above). Anything under that for someone of my Baby Boom Plus Gen is, well, vulgar (regardless of legality). And inappropriate. This relationship is far from a level playing field; in fact, it's the equivalent of watching a soccer match between Real Madrid and some hapless MLS team like FC Toronto. Never thought I'd say that, but I guess with age comes, not wisdom necessarily, but something akin to a moral compass?