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I recently reconnected with a work acquaintance and went with him for a business lunch that by hour two had subtly and unexpectedly morphed into a date. For me this individual is arguably the perfect man in terms of interests, experience and lifestyle — with the enormous caveats that he’s my father’s age and looks like him. In thoughts, feelings, sentiments, beliefs, habits and, thankfully, movement, they are unrelated, opposites even. But in height, build, hair and face, the resemblance, unfortunately, is striking. Age gap aside, which I think I can think myself through, I really and truly don’t have any trace of an Electra complex to explore. I am not into my dad. Do I send this remarkable person on his way, or do I grow the hell up and date an adult for once?
Sugar Daddy Issues
Dating someone older (especially young woman/older man) is culturally acceptable, often seen as beneficial for both parties, so much that it is a cliché. Dating someone who looks exactly like your dad is pretty weird, sure. But people are allegedly wired to prefer mates who will offer the best possible genetic outcome in reproduction. Many of us also have unconscious bias toward people who look familiar or similar to us.
For example, I think Elliott Gould in The Long Goodbye is the most handsome man on the face of the earth, but I realize he actually looks a lot like my dad did in the ’60s, years before I was born. Kinda weird, yes, but that doesn’t change my objective preference for young Elliott Gould. I know a lesbian couple who look nearly identical to one another, and a young man whose fiancee looks almost identical to his sister. You like what you like, no use disputing with yourself over it.
But, Daddy Issues, are you looking for something serious with your fella here? While it’s lovely to go on some romantic dates with the older gentleman, merging your lives into a full-time relationship may require slow going to overcome differences in lifestyle, social habits and expectations. Consider what his baggage is and whether you want to help him carry it should things get serious.
Likewise, are your social lives compatible at all? Will you feel totally crazy bringing him to a party you’re invited to, or vice versa? Can you comfortably visit each other’s homes? Because, trust me, your 49 year old boyfriend doesn’t want to sleep over and meet all your roommates in the morning.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong, immoral or questionable about two grown up adults dating each other. If you’re both available, interested and consenting, mazel tov. It can be hard to meet someone you connect with, and if you feel like he’s a decent dude with good intentions, I say make your move. Just remember that if all goes well and it gets serious, you will have to introduce him to your actual dad.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 222.