Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Sam: The Silverback Thing

In African packs of gorillas there is one dominant male. He is older, bigger and gets all the young nubile lady gorillas while the youngans wait in the wings. He is the Silverback. The Australian Film Ten Canoes, shows how some aboriginal tribes take the same approach, the old fella gets lots of wives, including the youngest and best looking.

I think the Silverback thing is alive and well in London today. Look at men who hit their mid-life crisis, they buy a Porsche and start trying to date 20 year olds. It is surprising the ones who can be successful.

One of my clients in his 40s intellectually wants a mature worldly woman, yet is consistently attracted to women in their early 20’s. A variety of studies have also shown that women are attracted to older men with power and resources, while men are attracted to women at their fertile peak.

Now this whole Silver back thing has interested me intellectually, but for the first time I have actually experienced it.

I was out dancing for a mates birthday and noticed what seemed to be a 20 year old flirting with me on the dance floor. Later I noticed another very attractive 20ish year old giving me some really blatent green lights inviting me to chat her up.

Both times I pinched myself, checked to see if there was hollyoaks look alike standing next to me, as these were the type of girls who wouldn’t have even given me a second glance in my early 20s. If I didn't study flirting body language as a living I would have dismissed it out of hand.


There is a real temptation to snipe at the sad old man and the silly young girl. But now, (highly suspiciously when hitting Silverback age) I’m starting to wonder if it really is a bit of a natural biological phenomena and secretly wished I used some grey hair dye in my 20s.

Are Silverbacks really attractive? And are there any other Silverbacks out there who have noticed the same thing?



18 comments:

lilithgirl said...

Oh, Sam, now you've got me started... (good luck on my love-age-rant ;) )

Yes, older men can be very attractive. Maybe not for their looks, but there is so much more to a person!
I am in my early twenties, my new love is in his late forties. 27 years of age-difference (Mind you: he is not rich or powerful. Actually I think I have more money at the moment. This is very important, I'd hate to have a sugardaddy!)

The attraction is in his personality, but also in his age. He is so much stronger (mentally), more experienced, emotionally balanced, more open minded (and way better in bed!). He doesn't freak out from stuff that would scare younger men, like past experiences or oddities in my sexuality. Life has thought him to accept things and people for what they are, instead of trying to change them.

He loves me for who I am, in a way that no younger man could in their hunt for "better". And I love him for that. That's the attraction for me.

(I kind of hope that this whole story has eased peoples minds towards the cliché a bit. He is not a sad old man, I'm not a silly young girl: I just know what I want.)

Anonymous said...

I'm in a similar situation - i'm attracted to older men, always have been, and for almost exactly the same reasons. I could keep typing but i think you covered it pretty well lilithgirl!

Ys said...

It's probably cos guys mature so slowly these days. All the guys I knew at 25 still acted as though they were 18 :/ I was lucky and found one of those very rare guys: one who is younger than me but just as mature! (I'm not sure I snagged the only one in existence but it is possible ;D) I've mostly always been attracted to younger guys ... No deep reason why; it's just always worked out that way.

Lily Lane said...

I've always been attracted to men who were considered a little older than what a girl of my age should go for. As I've gotten older the age gap has widened.

At the moment I wouldn't say I really go for full silver backs, but silver flecks are definitely in.

lalita said...

I only go for younger pretty boys. They are so much easier too manipulate, they have greater stamina and they are still romantic, not having been through a major break up/divorce yet.

thene said...

What Ys said. There's nothing a girl in her late teens wants less than a boy in his late teens - I regressed a little as I turned 20 and so achieved parity with my male peers, but before that, yeah.

Gorilla Bananas said...

Young females have their good points, but they don't half take it out of you. Especially if they come into season at the same time.

Silicon Limey said...

I asked a young female friend about this last night. She said that she'd tried the silverback thing and it was fun for a while. Older men were better in bed, less neurotic and generally have a more affluent lifestyle.

The downside? Saggy balls and lack of stamina, plus not being able to comfortably go out with her friends.

butterflywings said...

I just wonder what two people who are way apart in age, by which I mean over say 5-7 years, have in common.
From conversations about childhood TV, first CDs/tapes (yeah I am JUST old enough that it was a tape!) bought, music listened to as a teenager and student...to the things you want out of life. Like someone above said, if one person is still into clubbing all night and the other gets tired, what's the fun in that?

I just suspect that the younger woman and older man thing plays into sexist stereotypes. I mean, you never see an older woman and younger guy (or if you do, it's a big joke).

Society says that men have the power and control, and obviously the guy being (a lot) older suits that perfectly.

Anonymous said...

A lot of what butterflywings suggests as a problem with Silverback relationships could be used to suggest marrying foreigners is a bad idea. Which is silly, obviously. Not everyone's conversations are like an edition of "I Love 1995". There's, you know, other stuff people might prefer to talk about. Books, travel, politics, philosophy, art and so forth, none of which is so age-specific.

Anonymous said...

In answer to your question:

No :(

lilithgirl said...

"if one person is still into clubbing all night and the other gets tired, what's the fun in that?"

Well, not so much of course! But age-difference doesn't necessarily mean that this is the case. Being in a different phase in your life can also happen with people your own age.

What many people seem to forget, is that relationships are between two consenting adults who prefer being together over being with someone else or alone. This is a positive thing which can overcome many differences, including age.

And... lack of stamina?!? I didn't get more than four hours of sleep tonight, that enough for you all? ;)

"Society says that men have the power and control, and obviously the guy being (a lot) older suits that perfectly." How is that obvious? I really don't see!

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a member of the male half of the species, i do hope that girls realise that older guys go through the whole younger women relationship thing to get them through their mid-life crisis, divorce or whatever little doubt they're having about their life as a way to make themselves feel young again.

I don't doubt that true love can bridge the generations, just as long as you know where they are in their life and what their priorities are.

The whole thing is a bit cringy, but, you know, each to their own.

blowpipe said...

My last gf was 17 years younger than me.We had plenty to talk about.both artists,love music,reading,movies.We were a new library to each other,a different cinema.The age gap didn't bother me or her.We fancied each other and had a lot in common.We didn't give a toss what anyone thought;we loved each other,and if friends wanted to get arsey about it,then they weren't very good friends.Just like any other couple,surely?
If a young girl is giving you the green light,I'd say go for it.Regret something you did rather than something you didn't.Be realistic about the nature and future of the relationship.Be aware she is the exception and not the rule.
I think a lot of criticism and mickey taking is rooted in jealousy.Your mates might crack gary glitter jokes at you,but would they really turn it down themselves?

jordan bailey said...

There are a lot of girls who are looking for a daddy. Not a sugar daddy, always, but someone to handle all life's problems for them.

A relationship of equals works best, but very, very few people go for that.

Lily Lane said...

I think the same can be said of men and boys; that a lot of them are looking for a mummy. For a long time though this hasn't manifested itself in a trend of men seeking out older women because social conditioning around femininity has made it easy to find mummy qualities in young women too. Since the motherly expectations of social conditioning have decreased though, we have seen the "toy boy phenomenon"... shudder*...


*Not shuddering at toy boys; shuddering at the endless need for boxing and labelling. Thankyou, trash mags, for yet another one.

Anonymous said...

Nice one jordan, your last sentance sums up everything important about this debate.

You pretty much made nailed what I was trying to convey two posts above you. :)

amaretto said...

Nice read. I'm in my late thirties, and I do find younger women more attractive, and silverback or not, I would go with blowpipe - I would love to be in a relationship with a younger girl.