I have recently started a relationship with a younger woman. I know, this sounds like typical mid-life crisis fodder but I assure you it is not. I had my mid-life crisis fling a while back when everything was out of proportion and my ego, my self-doubt and my own sense of who I was and where I belonged. I was confused, angry and full of fear.
Much has changed since then. I have started a true friendship with someone special, someone that I did not expect to have in my life, someone young, beautiful and yes, complicated.
The major complication comes from my having to brush up against the herd of new millennium Alpha Males whose numbers are vast, who grew up in the gym and who have seen too many beer commercials. So, yes, this is the dilemma of the over 40 males who are still vital, somewhat attractive and able to sustain a relationship with younger women: Younger Men and their expectations, desires and offerings.
So here I offer some reasons why in the world of the Alpha Male, the Beta Male (my own title for the guy you see on the street, too young to be Norman Fell too old to be Justin Timberlake and the guy that Johnny Depp is becoming, the man Bruce Willis is, not Dr. Phil nor a retired sports star, but the Beta Male, he who lurks in the corners of our national psyche, smart, assertive, slightly aged but no worse for wear) holds sway.
The Gym. I mentioned this to start, it seems that our singular Alpha Males who roam the herd have placed the sculpting of their bodies above the sculpting of their souls as the top prerequisite for existing. Like the objects they crave: the car, the gym bunny, the titles and accolades they seek, Alpha Males seem to feel that they too also have to be an object. The Beta Male can have a similar gym body, it seems that in this Beta Male's midlife, I have the shoulders and weight distribution that I desired 20 years ago, but here's the kicker; my soul has been shaped and sculpted by time and circumstance and yes experience. So, there's an edge here. The Alpha Male has gotten the body ahead of schedule and is flummoxed that it is not enough, the Beta Male sees it as a gift and combines it into his over-all gestalt.
The Power of Now. This is a great edge. The older Beta Male has most probably gotten all that striving and driving and anxiety about the future and stuff out of his system. I look at my current relationship in the moment, the present moment, not where it will be next week or next year, but right now. So every nuance in the ebb and flow of human contact with a female does not set off a reverberation of future causation and angst. Beta Males go with the flow because they already know where it leads.
Listening. In my current relationship, I listen and make note of all that I hear. And most of it is not in conversation. It is in the way she pads across the kitchen floor or sings in the shower or laughs at my jokes. Yes, this is sappy and silly but it happens instinctively in Beta Males because gosh we are older and truly appreciate every subtlety and sound of life and living that we might not be around much longer.
Television. TV goes out of its way to make the Alpha Male feel right at home. He's on the cover of GQ, he's on the Man Show, he is pandered, prodded and pulled in every direction as on TV. But in the real world, he is stuck in traffic, hates his boss and is subject to the same laws and mores that everyone faces from time to time. The Beta Male, by now, knows the lay of the land and knows who really does the heavy lifting in the world: his fellow Beta Males! Beta Males are better in bed. Yes, experience counts. I will not elaborate here because we Beta Males operate by a strict code of honor never to give away our Beta Secrets.
The average Beta Male is descendent (or ascendant) from an Alpha Male. This is sort of a reverse evolution thing, but the Beta Male is not a degenerative aspect of the chain of survival of the species. Rather, the Beta Male can help insure that survival by being where the Alpha Male is headed when he finally learns a few lessons from stubbing his toe once too often on the end table of life. The Beta Male finally gets it right and either starts over and makes society better or has more children or uses all his powers for good and not for watching the Superbowl.
The French said it. In France they say that the best formula for a relationship between a man and woman is that the woman be half the man's age plus 8. This is exactly the ratio I have in my current relationship. The benefit of the age difference finds its focus in the fact that we both have reached the point where we are in need of change, value the balance of the energies between us and laugh at our shortcomings. I am coming into the most influence and power that I have ever had in my lifetime, she is experiencing the same in her own way.
So that's just the start of my Beta Male saga. I have learned that there are vast advantages in experience and common sense -- once that common sense has been knocked into me by experience. Is my relationship with a younger woman some sort of reward? Not really, she just happens to be a person that I have found a great deal of common interests and artistic ambitions with at a time when we both need to explore them. The Alpha Male? The ones who still call her or ask her out or see her in ways that I have long since forgotten? Well their noses can be pressed up against the glass of human nature and society's vagaries a little longer, there's a lesson in there somewhere.