Wanted: a woman with a mind of her own
Steve, who declares himself 57 going on 29, is separated from his wife of 30 years, and lives in Burgundy where he has a holiday company teaching classic French cookery and wine appreciation. As you might expect from someone who is living the dream, this bon viveur and member of the rock’n’roll generation has no time for insipid women.
"Age is not a factor for me", says Steve, "I'm into the person, but hopefully age might have brought some confidence to a woman, so that she can see herself as a person in her own right, with her own values. I'm looking for an equal, I'm fed up with the gender thing."
As a retired head teacher, Steve's former work life was full of decisions, and now he doesn't want to have to be the one calling the shots all the time and bearing responsibility for them.
Women who stay silent about their wants and needs, but expect men to be expert mind readers are also unwelcome in his life, "For the baby boomer generation, too many women are stuck in the 'quiet little woman' mode. Women should be treated as equals and they should behave as such.
"Also why can't a man and a woman be friends? Does everything have to conditioned by the opposite sex agenda? Surely there are many women who can enjoy conversation, discussion and other's company without resort to the stereotypical attitude of; 'men only want to talk about sport' and 'women shouldn't really indulge in 'academic' talk."
Many women squander fortunes on potions to erase the lines of time, but in Steve's opinion certain lines can actually enhance a woman's beauty. "I find that I am attracted by the eyes of a woman most. The windows of the soul? Maybe. But the sparkle, the laughter lines, the clarity and the use of the eyes, in conversation or generally tell you so much and are the key to me wanting to know more.
"The second feature is the mouth. The smile lines, the up or down turn of the mouth, the general shape. Down turned mouths are not attractive, I look for signs of someone who has joie de vivre, who can enjoy life and doesn't have to take it all so seriously and the mouth tells you much of that. Coupled with the eyes it is either the beacon to encourage further interest or the warning off!"
Personality-wise, although Steve says that what he might find attractive in one person might not be the same as in another, but a possible wish list might include a woman with an intelligent sense of humour, who takes care of herself and is confident and comfortable with herself.
Also, he advises, "don't necessarily think that all men are after one thing. Men and women can be friends on an equal basis and if something else develops, that's all well and good. At the end of the day, we are individuals first and men and women second - but you can still have a lot of good fun with each other."
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61-year-old ex-graphic designer, Mike, has just one thing to say to women his own age: "lighten up!" By which he means, stay in shape, dye your hair blonde and don't take yourself too seriously.
Although he sounds like he's describing a bubbly blonde ingénue, Mike would nonetheless choose a woman his own age over a young one. "I don't want to be talking to them about Hancock's Half Hour and Round The Horne, and have them saying 'who's that?' I certainly wouldn't want anyone more than five years younger than me, it would make me feel threatened when I looked in the mirror and faced my own wrinkles, it needs to be a level playing field."
Being a guy who appreciates elegance and femininity, turn offs for Mike include full-on feminism, too much jewellery or make up and big hair, "Make it simple and tasteful" he pleads. Like Steve, Mike is no fan of pastel shades either, but reserves most of his venom for chintz and worst of all, ski pants, for reasons best known to himself.
"I also hate it when people dye their hair black and you can see from their faces that it shouldn't be that dark - that spooks me out - but grey hair is the biggest turn off I can think of."
As far as Mike is concerned, if the past is another country, it should be Australia, "I don't want people shoving their grandchildren down my throat every three seconds, or boring me repeatedly with all the disastrous relationships they've ever had. Leave it behind, move on" he urges.
"Well preserved is probably the best word I can think of for what I'd find attractive in an older woman," he says, "but not just that, I like women who are mentally alive, who read books, play sport, listen to music, go to the theatre - let's not go gently into the night quite yet. In fact, it would be great if, for example, I could teach her how to play tennis, and she could show me how to be a better cook."
Neediness is not attractive either, "I've got to be left alone to read a good book if I want to, without the temporary lack of communication being perceived as a threat."
Overall, Mike is a fan of the older woman, saying, "Older women are also often more tolerant, well informed, more widely travelled - and usually better lovers too!"
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