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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

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:


• 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.


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.


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.


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.


“What do you mean?”


“I mean, do you want something serious?”


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


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!


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.