Daily Archives: 27/10/2009

Calling all Mrs Robinsons

The must-have accessory du jour isn’t, as you might think, an ‘it’ bag or strappy skyscraper heels. Oh no. The thing women want right now is a toyboy. Well, allegedly, that is.
Blame Courtney Cox, whose hit US TV show Cougar Town is all about older women getting it on with younger men, or Cathering Zeta-Jones, whose new movie, The Rebound, tells the tale of a 40-year-old woman falling in love with her babysitter (blimey – that’s a real stretch for Catherine, being married to someone so much older than her in real life).
But age-gap relationships – where the woman is the sugar mom – are apparently all the rage, so much so that a new internet dating agency called Toy Boy Connection has just been launched here in the UK.
Says the website’s founder Nick Burnham: “Nobody can deny there’s been a real dating revolution over the last few years. Many of our female members are youthful, attractive, independent and single well into their 40s, 50s and even 60s. They certainly know what they want from life – and often this isn’t a guy of similar age with a thinning hairline and thickening waistline.”
But what of the guys who sign up to Nick’s agency? “Our male members are expressly looking to date older women precisely because they seem as more self-assured, free-spirited and appealing than women their own age.” Okay, I can buy it.
Being married to a younger man myself, I can see the attraction (okay, he’s only three years younger but it’s nice to daydream…).
Of course, toyboys are nothing new. Kate Moss has had a few – Pete Doherty was five years younger than her, plus her affair with former public schoolboy Jamie Burke saw her date someone 20 years her junior. Other so-called cougars include Helena Christensen (she dated Jack Huston, who was 14 years younger than her), Cameron Diaz (Justin Timerlake was eight years younger), Madonna (nine years older than Guy), Susan Sarandon (11 years older than husband Tim Robbins), Joan Collins (more than 30 years older than husband Percy Gibson – go Joan!) and Elizabeth Taylor (20 years older than one of her husbands, Larry Fortensky). Then of course there’s Courtney Cox herself, who’s seven years older than husband David Arquette (some people will go to any lengths to research a TV role, huh?) and probably the most envied cougar in current times, Demi Moore, whose married to 15-years-younger Ashton Kutcher.
As you’ll notice, some of the above relationships are standing the test of time  – while others have already hit the rocks hard. Dr Lisa Matthewman, a chartered psychologist at the University of Westminster, says age-difference relationships can be successful, but it’s rare. For older women especially, she says, it doesn’t look good. “On the whole, the long-term future may not be that attractive for the younger man because his biological tendencies will inevitably take over and he’ll want to find a partner of a similar age with whom he can have a family,” Dr Matthewman explains.
But hey – so what if it doesn’t last forever? At least you’ll have had a whole lot of fun.