Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Attractiveness of Older Women.
    Dear Madam--According to the Health Department sta-
tistics, man are now frequently marrying women older than
themselves.  This proportion is apparently increasing, and is
now greater than in former years.
    If I am not imposing too much on your time and good
nature, would you kindly give your opinion as to the cause
of this, and whether you consider it as desirable and as good
for the parties concerned, as if the men married women
younger than themselves.    AN INTERESTED OBSERVER.

If the statement of "Interested Observer" is true,
it conflicts with the idea which has been widely
discussed, that men prefer "Pink and White Geese"
for wives.
    Young men frequently find older women more
interesting than young girls.  The young girl, all
too often, is engrossed in her own charms, and aims
only to be admired and entertained.  She does not
study the art of pleasing others, and she would
rather tell her own experiences--trivial happenings,
as a rule-- than listen to the conversation of another,
however interesting.
    A very little of this sort of companionship is
sufficient for a man of ordinary sense.  A man of
extraordinary mental endowments may enjoy it as
a relief from his own too serious cast of mind,
but the average man enjoys being amused and en-
tertained, and he likes also to be listened to at
    The woman of experience understands this, and
knows how to make a man feel satisfied and at
home with himself.  She mingles the maternal
instinct with her knowledge of human nature, and
flavors it all with that touch of flattery so agreeable
to the masculine taste.
    The mature woman knows when to make a man
talk and when to talk to him.  She studies his
weaknesses and avoids aggravating them.  Few
young girls could or would take so much pains to
please.  But the mature woman does it in a manner
so tactful and natural that the man never knows he
is being catered to.  He simply knows that he is
enjoying himself.
    These are some of the reasons why men find
women older than themselves more attractive than
maidens in the first bloom of youth.
    As for my correspondent's inquiry concerning
the desirability of such unions, it would depend
entirely upon the final result.  There are a number
of renowned cases of the kind on record which have
proved eminently happy marriages, but there is
always the future to consider.  The man of twenty-
eight may easily find the woman of thirty-five fas-
cinating, but unless she is expert in the art of keep-
ing the years at bay in heart and face, he may find
her no longer to his taste at forty-five, and realize
that he is seven years her junior in years and more
than that in feelings.  But in this age men grow
older, both in looks and in mind, much sooner than
women do.  This is the rule of the day.  Women
know how to keep themselves well preserved in
appearance, and they do not exhaust the springs of
pleasure so early in life.  One encounters women
of forty-five and even of fifty everywhere, who
have all the powers of youthful enjoyment which
their children possess, but it is rarely a man of
those years is found who has not become more or
less blasé.
    This fact lessens the danger which the old-estab-
lished conditions of things held out against a
disparity of years in marriage to the woman's
disadvantage.  At the same time, the tendency of
men past middle life to admire very young women
has to be taken into consideration.  The man who
at thirty has married a woman of forty, at fifty
usually loses his head over a girl of eighteen.  A
woman needs to think twice before she marries any
man many years her junior.
    Personally, I believe in a woman's wedding a man
whose tastes and feelings and appearance indicate
a similarity of age; yet dates are of small matter.
    Man divided the years into 365 days, but he did
not hinder some women from being younger at
forty than others are at twenty, and some men from
being older at twenty than some women at fifty.

Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.

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