In My Fair Lady (based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion), Professor Higgins asks why can’t a woman be more like a man? But these days, the sentiments underlying that question are more likely to be reversed.
In this article, a 50 year old woman laments the behavior of men.
There seems to be a gender imbalance, vis-a-vis [appearance]. All the women I know are tolerant of middle age showing itself in a chap. We quite like a late flowering, in fact: the silvering, the smile lines, the coming of bodily sturdiness.
By contrast, she notes that 50 year old men favor younger females:
It’s true that men don’t see me any more. It’s sobering to walk down the street observing how the 50-year-old men behave, paying attention to what they’re looking at as they stroll along. They are not looking in shop windows. They are not looking at me. They are looking at women half their age.
The suggestion is that men are somehow more superficial and really inferior. Women are after substance; men are after looks. And so, why can’t men be more like women?
But this story is a mirage – a false tale that our age seems to repeat.
The conventional wisdom is that men of all ages like attractive and younger women, while women like tall and successful men. No doubt there are many exceptions, but since we are talking generalizations, these seem quite accurate.
And our author seems to admit as much. She is not interested in younger men. She writes: “It’s the 55-year-old, slightly rumpled silver foxes that I stare at, the tall well-travelled well-used ones. But they don’t see me.” [Italics added.]
Our author admits to the tall. How about the successful? Well, she does not quite admit to it, but I am thinking that the “well travelled” is a reference to a sophisticated, successful man.
If this is true, then our author is no less superficial than the men. Height is simply a physical feature that is unrelated to substance. And while success often is the result hard work, it does not mean that the man is a better partner.
What would our author say to a short man, who is not economically successful, but is a good man – a man of character? We can hope that she would be nice to him, but I am guessing she would overlook him as much as the silver foxes pass over her.
The point is that both sexes like what they like. And often what they like is not substance, but form. Our current culture seems to recognize this about men. But sadly it is overlooked as to women.