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为什么老男人总能约会年轻姑娘?

更新时间:2017-10-3 11:48:28 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

I Want My 2.3 Bonus Years
为什么老男人总能约会年轻姑娘?

If I could prolong my time as a young adult by, say, 2.3 years, here is a list of things I would like to do:

如果我的青年时期可以延长2.3年,我想用多出来的时间做下面这些事:

• Go to more parties. Preferably wild parties that I can think about, years later, at mild parties.

• 去参加更多派对。最好是可供多年后在平淡派对上回忆的疯狂派对。

• Get fit (i.e., get at least one ab before I die). This, I’m told, is easier to achieve when you’re young.

• 健身(比如,在我死去之前至少练出一块腹肌)。我听说,这个目标在年轻时比较容易实现。

• Have more romantic partners. Preferably ones with abs.

• 多找几个爱情伴侣。最好是有腹肌的。

• Get a bit higher up the career ladder a bit earlier on. That would probably boost my earnings, giving me more financial security. I could use that money to go to more parties, get a membership to a fancy gym and maybe even meet a romantic partner on the ab machines.

• 早一点在事业阶梯上爬得更高一点。那很可能会增加我的收入,让我在经济上更有安全感。我可以用那些钱去参加更多派对,成为一个高档健身房的会员,甚至也许能在腹肌练习器上遇见一位恋爱对象。

Most men who date women don’t fantasize about what they would do if they had these bonus years, they simply get them. In two-thirds of heterosexual couples, the man is at least a year older than his partner. The average age difference is 2.3 years according to the Census Bureau.

大部分与女性约会的男性并不会幻想要是多出几年时间自己会干什么,因为他们已经得到了那几年。在三分之二的异性恋伴侣中,男方至少比女方大一岁。根据美国人口普查局(Census Bureau)的数据,男女伴侣的平均年龄差为2.3年。

I know what you’re thinking: “What’s dating got to do with your weird list?” You’re right, in theory — life doesn’t stop once you settle down, so you could complete your own 2.3-year list regardless of your relationship status. But in reality, most couples who do commit long-term end up having children, so the age gap carries over into parenthood. The average age of a new father in the United States is 31 years, compared with 26 years for a new mother.

我知道你在想什么:“约会跟你那个奇怪的清单有什么关系?”理论上你是对的——成家后,人生并没有结束,所以不管你处于恋爱的哪个阶段,你都可以完成自己的2.3年清单。但在现实生活中,大部分做出长期承诺的情侣最后都有了孩子,所以这个年龄差在成为父母的阶段也存在。美国男性初为人父的平均年龄是31岁,而美国女性初为人母的平均年龄是26岁。

Typically, becoming a parent has an enormous impact on your health, your career and your ability to party. It’s already bad enough that those burdens are more likely to be shouldered by mothers than fathers. The fact that women end the childless part of our lives earlier than our male partners is just salt in the wound. And looking even farther down the line, the bigger the age difference, the more likely that it will be women who take care of their male partners in old age.

通常来讲,养孩子对你的健康、事业和参加派对的能力有很大影响。它的负担更可能由母亲而非父亲承担——这已经够糟的了。而女性结束没有孩子的年龄早于男性这一点,简直是雪上加霜。接着往下看,年龄差距越大,越有可能在老年时由女性照顾男性伴侣。

Outraged at these numbers, I send my mom a text outlining my plans to find a much younger man and redress this scourge. She replies, “Women are more mature than men.” I roll my eyes. If there is any truth to her claim, maybe it’s because men know they can settle down at a later age. Where’s the incentive to grow up before you have to? Before I can reply, I get the rest of her message: “The French president’s marriage is an exception, and it is too early to know what is next.” Harsh, Mom.

这些数据令我愤怒,我给妈妈发了一条短信,说我打算找一个比我年轻得多的男人,弥补这种痛苦。妈妈回复说,“女人比男人更成熟。”我翻了个白眼。如果她的话算是实情,那也许是因为男人们知道自己可以在年纪更大的时候成家。所以为什么要着急长大呢?我还没来得及回复妈妈,她就又给我发来一条消息:“法国总统的婚姻是个例外,而且现在还不知道以后会发生什么。”够狠啊,妈妈。

Maybe she’s right, though. I change tactics and organize a date with a fellow 30-year-old. He waits in the garden of a Brooklyn bar while I get us two spicy margaritas. When I come back, I ask him what he is looking for.

不过,她也许是对的。我改变了战术,安排和一个30岁的同龄人约会。他在布鲁克林一家酒吧的花园里坐着,等我去给我们俩要了两杯辣玛格丽特鸡尾酒。回来后,我问他在寻找什么。

“What do you mean?”

“你是什么意思?”

“I mean, do you want something serious?”

“我的意思是,你是认真的吗?”

Leaning back in the sunlight, he smiles and says, “Oh, no, I don’t think so. I’m not in a rush.”

他在阳光下向后靠去,微笑着说,“哦,不,不是。我不着急。”

Hmm. My eyes fall upon his sleeveless T-shirt. I imagine pouring my drink on it. My friend Jon tells me that these are “intrusive thoughts” and everyone has them. Which gives me permission to also imagine setting the shirt on fire. Ah, peaceful lakes! Birdsong!

嗯。我的目光落在他的无袖T恤上。我想像着把我的饮料倒在上面的样子。我的朋友乔恩(Jon)告诉我,这些都是“侵入式想法”,谁都会有这种想法。这让我又开始想像把那件T恤放在火上烧的样子。啊,平静的湖水!小鸟在歌唱!

I know I’m not a fun first date. I want to ask prospective partners whether they want to become parents and when — and excuse me? You haven’t given it much thought? A shrug from a man who already has a couple of gray hairs strikes me as wild arrogance.

我知道自己不是一个有趣的初次约会对象。我想问问潜在的伴侣们是否以及何时想当父亲——对不起?你没怎么想过这个问题?那个已经长出几根灰发的男人耸了耸肩,这让我觉得他狂妄傲慢。

This arrogance has, as I see it, two main causes — one, a belief that their spermatozoa are good for a very long time, indeed, and two, a belief that they could get a younger woman if they wanted to. Let me examine the evidence for each of those male beliefs; fertility first.

在我看来,他的傲慢有两个主要原因,一个是相信自己的精子质量还能保持很长一段时间,第二个是相信,只要自己愿意,随时可以找一个更年轻的女人。让我分析一下男人们的这两种观念的证据,先说生育能力。

Your sperm is not immortal. A study that tracked 8,559 pregnancies found that “conception during a 12-month period was 30 percent less likely for men over age 40 years as compared with men younger than age 30 years.”

你的精子并不是永远都有活力。一项追踪调查了8559个怀孕案例的研究发现,“与30岁以下的男人相比,40岁以上的男人在12个月内让女方怀孕的几率会降低30%。”

That research was gathered in 2000 and was one of the few studies that focused on male fertility. See, scientists have invested a lot of time in poking and prodding women to understand conception, but only a small fraction of those studies have controlled for the age of the father. In other words, all that data we have about how women in their late 30s are struggling to get pregnant doesn’t take into consideration the fact that many of those women are trying to conceive with men who are in their 40s.

那项研究是2000年进行的,是少数几个关注男性生育能力的研究之一。你瞧,科学家们花费大量时间敦促女性理解受孕,但只有一小部分研究是关于父亲的年龄。换句话说,所有关于女性在快40岁时努力怀孕的数据,都没有考虑到这个事实:那些女性中有很多是想从40多岁的男人那里受孕。

Men are much less fooled when it comes to that second belief — that they could get a younger woman if they wanted to. I’m not just basing this on the Census Bureau data I cited. There’s also the information gleaned from OkCupid’s millions of preferences. The dating site’s researchers found that most conversations take place between an older man and a younger woman and in almost half of them, the age gap is at least five years.

男人的第二种观念就没那么自欺欺人了,只要愿意,他们是可以找一个更年轻的女人的。我依据的不只是上文提到的美国人口普查局的数据。还有从OkCupid的成百上千万偏好中收集的信息。该婚恋约会网站的研究人员发现,大部分交谈发生在年长男性和年轻女性之间,将近一半的交谈的双方至少有五年的年龄差距。

But men might still be mistaken about just how much younger their next partner could be. That same OkCupid data shows that even when men are in their late 40s, they carry on looking at the profiles of women age 20 to 24 (women, by contrast look at older men’s profiles as they get older).

不过,对于下一个伴侣能比自己小多少,男人恐怕还是存在误解。OkCupid的数据还表明,就连那些快50岁的男人还在查看20至24岁女性的简介(相比之下,女性会随着年龄增长查看年纪更大的男性的简介)。

Where do 50-year-old men get this strange impression that they could date a 23-year-old? Perhaps it’s their TV screens. When New York magazine looked at the careers of 10 leading men, it found that as they aged, their onscreen love interests didn’t. Take Liam Neeson. In 1990, he appeared alongside Frances McDormand, who was five years younger than he. By the time he starred in “Third Person” in 2013, the 61-year-old Neeson’s lover was played by 29-year-old Olivia Wilde.

50岁的男人依然觉得自己可以约会23岁女性,这种奇怪的念头哪来的?也许是在电视屏幕上。《纽约》(New York)杂志在审视了10位饰演主角的男演员的事业时发现,随着他们的年龄增长,他们在屏幕上的恋爱兴趣并没有发生变化。以连姆·尼森(Liam Neeson)为例。1990年,跟他一同亮相的是与比他小5岁的弗朗西丝·麦克多曼德(Frances McDormand)。2013年,61岁的尼森主演《出轨幻想》(Third Person)时,他的情人是由29岁的奥丽维娅·维尔德(Olivia Wilde)饰演的。

We are socialized into thinking that men are like wine, they get better with time. Whereas women are like cheese, they get blue veins and start to stink. At some point, I subconsciously signed up, too. I find George Clooney hot and Justin Bieber not (Clooney is 26 years older than me and Bieber is seven years younger).

我们已经慢慢接受了这种观念:男人像酒,愈久愈醇。而女人像奶酪,会慢慢长出蓝纹,开始发臭。有时候我潜意识里也这么认为。我觉得乔治·克鲁尼(George Clooney)很性感,而贾斯汀·比伯(Justin Bieber)不性感(克鲁尼比我大26岁,而比伯比我小7岁)。

Do I sound angry? Maybe, but I’m also scared. I inspect my body when I step out of the shower and I can see the skin loosening above my knees. I don’t want to choose between being single or dating a much older man with much older knees. I think, maybe, I could deal with dying if the person I love is creaking along at the same rate I am.

我听起来愤怒吗?也许是的,但我并不恐惧。我从浴室里出来查看自己的身体时,可以看到膝盖以上的皮肤变松弛了。我不想在单身和一个膝盖比我还老很多的男人之间做选择。我想,也许我能忍受我爱的人和我以同样的速度老去。

So, this is where I ask for help from other single women seeking men. Sign a pledge with me here today. Not of celibacy (where’s the fun in that?), but let’s end this scourge once and for all by committing to contemporaries.

所以,我在这里请求其他寻找男性伴侣的单身女性们帮个忙。今天,在这里和我一起许下誓言。不是单身誓言(那有什么乐趣呢?),而承诺寻找同龄恋人,从而永远结束这种折磨。

I understand your reluctance. Perhaps we’ve dipped a toe in the younger male waters and been burned by the sleeveless shirts, the sheetless beds, the unbridled selfishness. But sisters! We must persevere. If not for ourselves, then for one another. I hereby swear that I will not take an eligible older man out of the dating pool — to do so would be to slap future-me in the face but it would also signal to men my age that it’s O.K., you have time. Time is too precious to donate — so don’t give away 2.3 years of it.

我理解你们的犹豫不决。也许我们都尝试过与更年轻的男性约会,无袖衬衫、没有床单的床以及毫无节制的自私让我们感到痛苦。但是姐妹们!我们必须坚持下去。就算不是为了自己,也要为了彼此而坚持下去。我在此发誓,我不会把合适的更老的男人从约会池中抢走——那样做不仅是向将来的自己扇耳光,而且是暗示同龄男性他们有的是时间。时间太宝贵了,不能赠予别人——所以,请不要把那2.3年拱手让出。

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