Monthly Archives: July 2014

EG: Talking About Age Gaps

Some of my fellow bloggers have been discussing age gaps in marriage lately, which is something that I have a lot of personal experience with. I’d like to talk about my experiences, maybe dispel a few qualms, and give people an idea of what it is actually like to be in a marriage with a substantial age gap. Of course, except for one study brought to my attention by femininebutnotfeminist, all the information will be anecdotal. I’m mostly going to explore this in the context of concerns voiced either to me or in general about a young woman marrying an older man. Some of these apply to a young woman getting married period, since there is a general resistance against women marrying young. Before that though, I would like to open with this statement to my fellow young women who are considering marrying an older man.

Things will be different for you than for women marrying men their own age. However, it will only be harder for you if you let it become that way. Part of my reason for wanting to write this is to extend my hand to women like you and give you the tools you will need to handle those differences. I also want to give you pause and consider whether you can shoulder this particular cross. Deciding to marry is always a big decision, one that must be carefully and prayerfully considered. With that, let’s move to the concerns.

He’s been a bachelor so long he won’t be able to adjust to being married.

I got this one quite a bit. For those who don’t know NSR and I have an age gap of roughly 22 years. The idea with this is that he’s had his own space and own way of living for so long, that he can’t hope to adapt to caring for someone else and sharing space. Well firstly, you have to look at the individual man. Has he lived alone all this time or has he had roommates? Has he had pets or had to care for a relative? Just because he had been a bachelor all this time doesn’t mean he has been living as a selfish loner. NSR has adjusted just fine to being married. There are things he had to give up, but he has been more than happy to trade those for the various benefits of being married. Of course, no concern expressed for me having trouble adjusting to being married and having to give up certain freedoms. Not that there was any need, I took to marriage like a duck to water.

You should live alone for awhile before getting married, decide whether it is what you really want.

This one always baffles me. How is living alone going to prepare me for being married? Also, living alone is not going to magically make my desire to be a wife and mother vanish. Neither is it going to help me remain chaste. It’s inviting more evil than it could ever hope to prevent. In the long run it would hurt my chances of reaching marriage a virgin and only make my adjustment to married life more difficult.

You need to get a job/work experience just in case he leaves you/divorces you/dies/gets sick.

Now, NSR did tell me to get a job just in case one of the latter two happens. However, I wish people would think for a few seconds before saying the first two. Human beings have personalities and free will, divorces and spousal abandonment don’t just happen by chance. I will note that no one ever mentioned these concerns when NSR was in the room. Probably because they knew they were being decidedly unfair. They also have no knowledge of how toxic divorce courts are to men. If anything, based on the fact that most divorces are initiated by women, they should have been warning him off of me. This also tells me that the people giving this particular advice will offer no help if any of those things do happen, other than to say “I told you so”. If they have legitimate reasons for thinking the man in question is flaky, they should warn the woman away from the man altogether, not tell her to construct a safety net. Same goes for if they think the woman is flaky. Warn the man away altogether.

That said, this is something that women marrying older men must prepare for. Especially if he has additional health concerns. A man of any age can die in an accident or of a disease, but obviously older men are more likely to die sooner. A woman needs to discuss this with her prospective husband and decide what they want to do to mitigate risk and financial burderns should something happen to him. That said, the man being older does not guarantee that he will die first. This study, brought to my attention in this comment by FBNF, indicates that a woman’s life expectancy suffers when she marries a man of a different age, older or younger. This is another thing to consider. Knowing this before I married NSR would not have altered my decision to marry him, but for some this may be too much of a risk/sacrifice.

You’re too young/full of promise/haven’t lived enough life yet to make a big decision like this.

I didn’t get this, but it is common enough in churches and elsewhere. If I hadn’t been so “mature” one of my (secular) professors would have taken this line, but he made an exception for me (which irked some of my also-soon-to-be-married classmates).  This one has quite a number of erroneous assumptions packed into it. Young people are too inexperienced to make good decisions; people can be less mature than their age, but not more; careers are more important than families; you can’t mature or gain life experience once you get married; fun things are less fun when you are married; life experience is a necessity for marriage, etc. And people will say these things even when the situation suggests that marrying young is the prudent choice. In BF’s situation, now may be the only time she has to be married. In my situation, being a wife and mother is what I want out of life (and my math skills are so cripplingly bad that it would cause me no end of issues trying to live solo for ten years).

What really needs to happen is a discussion on what the couple wants out of life. Does the woman want a graduate degree and a career or does she want to have a part time job and keep a home? Does she make good decisions in other circumstances? Taking age completely out of the consideration, will this man be a good husband? Take a look at the actual situation before making a blanket statement.

The age gap will cause conflict.

No, the age gap will not cause conflict. A massive gap in maturity will cause conflict. Some people live more life in fewer years than other people do. Part of my enjoyment for NSR’s company came from the fact that I didn’t have to hide from him, dumb things down for him, or avoid talking about certain things because it would gross him out. He’s old enough and lived enough life that he can handle what I need and want to talk about. Likewise, he likes to talk to me because I’m intelligent and mature enough to relate to or at least understand what he wants to talk about. If I was a teenybopper, giggling headcase it wouldn’t matter if I was born the same hour he was, he wouldn’t be here. Likewise, if he was immature and whiny I wouldn’t have married him.

In many ways the age gap has been rewarding because he gives me a perspective on the past a man of my same age could not give me. We had a lengthy discussion about Ender’s Game, Nirvana, and Generation X awhile back. Without the age gap we couldn’t have had that conversation. It comes down to compatibility of personalities, values, and to some degree, interests.

Here,  more or less verbatim and with context is the only “conflict” we have had on account of the age difference:

Me: *looking at pictures of NSR aged 28-30* I still would have married you back then.

NSR: *pauses* Unfortunately I can’t say the same for you.

That’s it. Seriously. Seven months of marriage, a single, two sentence conversation.

————————————————————————————————————————–

Now I want to talk about a few things that I wish people could have/would have asked if I was prepared to handle.

Can you deal with the fact that people will stare at you and make uncomplimentary assumptions about the two of you?

A friend of mine recently asked me “Do people still stare at you?”, to which I answered, entirely seriously, “Yes, especially when we go into lingerie shops”. Our age gap is substantial and is exacerbated by the fact that he looks a bit older than he is and I look a fair bit younger than I am. At first, people don’t assume we are married, then as they see us get affectionate, they begin to get concerned looks. Is she a golddigger or have daddy issues? Is he a pedo or a kidnapper who brainwashed her? People stare. People get uncomfortable.

That dissipates as soon as they get to know us, and many find us to be a charming, lovely couple. We don’t get to talk to everyone who sees us though, so we just have to live with there being people who make extremely unfair and untrue assessments of us.

Can you deal with carrying your ID everywhere with you?

In this age of kidnapping hysteria, widespread knowledge of Stockholm syndrome, and just general helicoptering and nosiness, you need to carry your ID with you. I would also say that you need to change your last name to match his. You should to begin with, but it becomes even more necessary the larger the age gap gets. You need to do it to protect your husband from having the cops called on him or even arrested due to suspicion or misidentification. I pay more attention to missing persons alerts than I used to, because I want to check and make sure I don’t resemble the missing woman and that NSR doesn’t match the description of the alleged kidnapper. You have to realize that we live in a world full of paranoia and hatred of men in particular. There are certain professions that look for signs of abuse or abnormality in marriages and report it to the police, men can be arrested for no substantial reason. Keeping your ID with you and being known to people around you as a healthy individual and couple will help prevent this.

And I just get carded a lot.

Can you accept his sexual history if he has one? Does he test clean for STDs?

One of the more realistic concerns about older men (which I’ve only heard voiced by red pill men BTW) is their (almost) inevitable sexual history. You need to find out, accept whatever facts you find out, and either forgive him for it or leave him. Have this conversation as soon as is reasonable and in private. Don’t share after you find out and respect him and thank him for his willingness to come clean. Same for any other sinful history. Likewise be open with him. Starting your marriage with secrets like that is a bad idea.

Can you accept the fact that your time together will be shorter than most other successful marriages?

This is perhaps the most important question and it feeds into two other important questions: Are you prepared to care for him in his old age and are you prepared to limit your childbirthing years to try and ensure he is around to see all of them reach adulthood?

If you cannot handle these things, don’t marry an older man. Full stop.

A wife leaving her husband for stupid reasons is always sinful and always hurtful to the man, but leaving him because you can’t handle caring for him or don’t want to stop having kids is even more hurtful.

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Marrying an older man is not for every woman. Marrying an older man is neither better nor worse than marrying a man your own age from a Biblical point of view. Or most other points of view really. It boils down to individual circumstances and people. Consider it carefully and prayerfully.

I think I will wrap up here. However, if anyone has questions or has heard other age gap based concerns please feel free to leave a comment. If you wish to contact me privately, you can find my email address on my About page.


EG: Response to “Teen Girls Define “A Real Man””

“Lori Hainline & Rebecca Chandler co-authored this list at the respective ages of 19 and 17. Their closing comment: This list is not exhaustive and men like this do exist!”

Well, that’s a great start. Having (presumably) unmarried teen girls describe what a real man is. As opposed to married women or actual men. That said, I do agree with them that men like this do exist. I’ve gone to church and school with men like this, problem is the girls aren’t dating them! So what do they say?

“…values and carefully handles the scriptures. (2 Timothy 2:15)”

“Carefully handles”? Does that mean, “doesn’t throw his Bible around” or “doesn’t interpret Scripture in a way I don’t like”?

“…isn’t embarrassed to worship God and pray in a group setting. (Mark 8:38)”

A real man has to be extroverted and sinless. These girls probably wouldn’t like a man who actually prays out loud about his struggles.

“…takes leadership in a self-sacrificing way. (Ephesians 5:25-28)

Oh, yay! The self-sacrificial leadership pops up in the third set of descriptors. Bowing to the woman’s desires and mutual submission are implied. Because good leadership is naturally self-sacrificial, only people who have never led don’t know that. They just assume being a leader is awesome and means you get to sit back and relax, when in reality you have a Sword of Damocles over your head. When you are the leader, if stuff goes wrong, it is automatically your fault and you have to fix it. Not cushy at all.

“…not only respects but appreciates a young lady’s purity and innocence. In our culture innocence isn’t retained by accident. (2 Corinthians 11:2-3)

…values his purity as much as he values a young lady’s purity. He is not ashamed to live and act differently from the world in order to guard himself. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, Ecclesiastes 7:26)

…can look a girl straight in the eye without communicating any impurity. (Proverbs 20:11)”

The first one is potentially dangerous but better than I’ve seen it phrased elsewhere.  The second one is good if living that way didn’t automatically turn women off, a man announcing he’s a virgin has never dropped any panties among young women. The third one is impossible because that depends entirely on the interpretation of the girl. If she decides he’s making bedroom eyes at her, he might as well be. Sexual harassment is a matter of the opinion of the person on the (perceived) receiving end.

“…has no desire to be gross in order to impress other men. He doesn’t burp, swear, or tell disgusting stories. (Proverbs 13:5, Ephesians 5:4)

Really? He doesn’t burp? Last time I checked that was a natural body process. If they suggested being discreet or saying “excuse me” afterwards, fine, but “doesn’t”? Good luck ladies. Not swearing I can see, there is an actual biblical precedent for that. Also, the rudeness of burping depends upon culture. In some cultures it is a compliment. Whether a story is disgusting or not is a matter of opinion. I think a story about someone getting a face full of horse…hocky is funny as heck. To others it is super gross. NSR has a lot of stories that are gross, but these are stories he has collected organically by living his life. He didn’t make them up for the sake of being gross or impressing others. They are the stories he has. Men should not be seen as terrible men just because their life has brought them gross or awful stories and they choose to laugh at them instead of shrink away.

“…is pleasant and expresses joy rather than feeling that it’s masculine to be sullen. (Proverbs 21:29, 1 Thessalonians 5:16)

…can accept correction (Proverbs 12:1, Proverbs 29:1)”

Real men have a “pleasant” personality, apparently. It’s not like some men are just more reserved because that is the way God made them, or that God made men less emotionally expressive than women overall. This is funny because later on they say a real man should be able to handle life’s hurdles logically. He also has to be able to accept correction…from his prospective wife or women in general. Or feminism embracing pastors.

“…expresses himself with intelligent words rather than using “street talk”. (Proverbs 17:20, Titus 2:6-8, 1 Peter 4:11, Ephesians 4:29)”

“Real men” own a thesaurus. Not to say I’m against men speaking in a decent, educated manner. Well-spoken men don’t necessarily have women crawling all over them though.

With all that said, this is a pretty decent set of suggestions, all with biblical context. You can read the whole thing here. However, we have to consider reality. Men are told they have to be perfect and amazing to capture a “Daughter of the King”, they do their best, and they are sneered at in favor of Bad Boys who absolutely do not adhere to this list or any other Christian list. That is, until all the young women aren’t so young anymore and want a baby above all else. To reiterate what I said at the top of this post, men like this or at least realistic versions of this, do exist. Some of them post around here. The problem is not their rarity, it is the fact that women blatantly ignore them.

I guess the TL;DR version of this is: Lists like this do not help. Men are constantly being beat on by our churches to be perfect, and women already have lists of expectations that are unrealistic and don’t match up with who they’re dating anyway. So give it a rest. Encourage men and tell women to be realistic instead.


Fit Friday 5

How did you get moving this week?

Only two rides again this week, but I’ve started doing maneuvers with Maya during our cool down walks and I’m consistently remembering to get her to do back raises. NSR and I on the other hand are having trouble remembering to do our walking.

What was your go-to healthy food item or meal?

More blueberries. I did some investigating into lower carb alternatives to cow’s milk for NSR’s protein shakes. Water works ok for them, but isn’t preferable. Almond milk appears to be the way to go.

What are your plans for next week?

Going to try for three rides next week. Start including more maneuvers and possibly do some hill riding.

What song got you moving?

(This song with its contradictory/paradoxical themes more or less captures my attitude towards life. [And my questionable taste in music])


WH: For the Love of Blueberries

I have so little impulse control when it comes to fresh berries. I could never do one of the U-pick places, unless they charge me for at least an extra pound to account for all the ones I ate while picking.

Maybe I need one of these classes.

Edit: Oh, and don’t think I’m just posting this for laughs either. Having a working knowledge of Monty Python and a box of Pocky on me at all times got me more attention from guys than anything else I ever did.


MS: Breakfast Quiche

When I finally acquired a pie dish this recipe was the first thing on my mind. It’s very simple and is one of the only ways I will eat eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of chopped cooked ham (or bacon)
  • 1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell

Directions:

Put the pie shell into the pie dish. I just use a pre-made one since I don’t eat crust. Sprinkle the in the cheese and put the meat on top of it. You can substitute bacon for the ham, but if you do be sure to leave out the salt. Beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together and pour over the ham and cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Substituting bacon makes the quiche a bit thinner, meaning you can probably cut down the bake time by a few minutes. Ideally the quiche should be a fairly moist and not at all brown on the top.

 


Fit Friday 4

How did you get moving this week?

I only managed to get in two rides this week due to thunderstorms on Sunday and being sick as a dog on Monday. However, I have been remembering to get Maya to do back-raises before each ride.

What was your go-to healthy food item or meal?

Blueberries and cherries. It’s the season for both around here. Can’t wait for the blackberries to get going. Maya loves them too.

What are your plans for next week?

Going to try for three rides next week. Maybe think about increasing the length of rides too.

What song got you moving?


MS: Glasses

It’s time I did a fashion post again, and what better topic for me to tackle than glasses? Being a bespectacled gal myself, I am often annoyed by the sentiment that glasses make a girl look ugly or unfeminine simply because she wears them.

The fact of the matter is that is far from true. Our perception that women with glasses are ugly ducklings who will transform as soon as they ditch the glasses is mostly created by the media. We see it in movies like the Sabrina remake or the first Princess Diaries movie. We see the male version of this in the Superman franchise. But let’s stop to think about this for a minute, what do those glasses all have in common? Big, thick, dark rims and giant, face-distorting lenses. It’s not the glasses, it is the style of glasses.

Different styles of glasses communicate different things, which again, we mostly get from media. The media gets it from various unconscious associations between shapes and dispositions.

First, my cardinal rule about glasses: Glasses should not distort, disguise, or distract, but should enhance your face.

Second, if you are hoping I will justify women wearing hipster glasses, leave now because I will disappoint you.

With that, we shall now talk about rims.

Particular rims styles carry some specific associations. Obviously ones that were popular in certain times periods will evoke that time period.

Greaseglasses

Only wear these to theme parties. Source: Grease

But what do thick rims, the ones typically shown in these movies evoke? These women are shown as nerdy, unfeminine, clumsy, childish, and potentially as workaholics. Why? Well, think about it, these days the main reason a woman has thick rims on her glasses is because she might break them or is not aware of what looks good on her face. Thick rims disguise and distract from a woman’s face. Especially if they are a bright, garish color. Thick rims add too much weight to the face and can interfere with expressiveness. Note how in the picture above, the girl wearing glasses looks angrier than she is probably meant to, because the rims block her eyebrows and replace them. Thick rims add a lot of harshness to the face, you can’t not notice them. They distract from the wearer’s actual features by painting big windowsills around the person’s eyes, dividing them from the rest of the face. The thicker and more attention grabbing your rims are, the less people will remember your actual face.

Thicker rims can create a sense of childlike curiosity, but this only really works if the lenses also make the wearer’s eyes look larger. However, with that childlike look will come the inevitable assumption that the wearer is clumsy. This is because thick rims help keep glasses from getting broken, which a child is more likely to accidentally do.

Thinner rims are far more suited to the female face, because they contribute a daintier feel and don’t interfere so much with expressions. They direct an onlooker towards the wearer’s eyes without boxing the eyes in. Thinner rims act more like eyeliner, especially when paired with the right color and lens shape,

Lens shape is another important aspect to consider when one selects a pair of glasses.

At one end of the spectrum we have round glasses.

johnlennon

John Lennon in his famous hippie glasses.

Round glasses are closely associated with John Lennon and Harry Potter fans, or Modern architects if they have really thick rims. The circular shape is strongly associated with hippies and pseudo-intellectuals (Ones that are especially large are associated with hapless maids). They will make you seem easygoing and self important all at once. They will also draw attention to (but not exaggerate) any bags you have under your eyes, and may suggest you got them from smoking too much of something. Those with rounder faces may want to avoid them, since they will reinforce the roundness of one’s features. All that said, rounder glasses do add a gentler, more well meaning look, being more feminine of a shape overall.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have square glasses. Okay, rectangular, I don’t think legitimately square glasses have ever been worn by anyone.

Carl from Pixar's Up.

Carl from Pixar’s Up.

Undeniably masculine and very harsh, unless paired with very thin rims or no rims at all, rectangular glasses will not look good on a feminine face. If the wearer has no squareish features, the glasses will clash and stand out too much. If the wearer does have squarish features, such as Carl up there, they will reinforce them, making the wearer look more masculine. Rectangular glasses are usually associated with stricter, more authoritarian intellectuals. They add an air of humorlessness and exactness. This shape is not for the fainthearted, a permanent, cheerful smile is needed to offset the shape.

In the middle is the much easier to wear, squarish oval.

The most common glasses shape.

The one of most common glasses shapes.

This shape looks good on most faces, and manages to cultivate the best aspects of rectangular glasses without so much of the stigma. It still evokes the intelligence and a certain measure of the strictness, but leaves behind the majority of the humorlessness. However, a good smile will still be needed to accompany these, because they still do evoke the slightest hint of annoyance. In anime these are often worn by the studious sidekick of an ever so slightly annoying hero. The annoyance normally coming from the hero not listening to their intelligent suggestions. These glasses will enhance the eyes better than rectangular glasses, being closer to the actual eye shape. They add a little respectability and sophistication to the face and are good for women who look a bit younger than they are.

Towards the more circular side, we have the highly wearable and feminine oval.

An extremely common glasses shape, and for good reason.

An extremely common glasses shape, and for good reason.

A much kinder and gentler shape, these are my personal suggestion for most women (the shape, not the brand). Oval glasses are highly successful due to the fact that they closely mimic the shape of the eye and the eye socket. It makes the glasses seem extremely natural on the face. They add the intelligent look that glasses generally have, and add a friendliness due to the bottom half of the rim being shaped similarly to a smile. The top half of the rims imitate the curve of the resting eyebrow, bringing in that easy-going aspect of the round glasses. Overall they are cheerful and feminine, keep the rims thin and you probably have a winner.

There are also aviator glasses, but unless you have bifocals or trifocals and therefore need them, I would not suggest them. All they do is exaggerate the bags under your eyes and make you look old.

Determining what size your glasses should be is easy. Keep them close to the size of your eye socket and try to avoid having them extend too far beyond the edges of your face.

Color is more difficult and highly subjective. A more neutral, metallic color tends to be the best bet. However, if you wear a particular accent color a lot I would suggest trying to match that.

Chiriko from Anohana. Source: Meganekko Daily.

Tsurumi Chiriko from Anohana.
Source: Meganekko Daily.

This character’s red glasses work because they go with her tie and shoes, otherwise they would be a bit too bright. Bright colors can suggest an outgoing and vivacious personality, or can make it seem like you are trying too hard. Neutral colors are more reserved and serious. Colors of course have their own symbolism, which you need to pay at least a little attention to. Primarily you should consider whether the the color looks good on you personally.

That is my guide for selecting glasses that will look good. If anyone has suggestions I’d be glad to hear them, and if you have questions I’ll be glad to answer them.

Not all men like a woman with glasses, but if anime has taught me anything, it is that there is a subset of men who like glasses very much.

Hasebe from Servant x Service.

Hasebe from Servant x Service.