I was in the men's section of a department store in downtown San Diego when I first saw her. She had almond-shaped eyes with lashes that seemed to go on for days. She noticed me looking and smiled. Before I knew it, she had walked over and commented on how good I looked in the suit I'd been trying on. She was 44. I was 22.
She was my first-older woman, that is-and we ended up dating for about a year. But the age gap was just too tough for her. She thought I was too young to build a relationship with. And at the time I was.
Although it didn't work out with her, ten years later my interest in older sisters persists. I am 33, but I date women who are 10 to 15 years my senior. They're irresistibly attractive. I've always felt this way, which probably explains the crushes I had on a number of my teachers in school.
Mature women tend to appreciate the more settled qualities in men. They want a partner who listens, who can sit and have a long conversation with them over a cup of coffee. And I enjoy that, too.
I have tried to date younger women, but they want drama or a bad boy. With older women, I don't need to have a thug mentality to be appealing. These women appreciate honesty and intimacy. And so do I. Besides, some of the women my age tend to be materialistic and unwilling to explore new things. They're worried about the bills I'll pay or the clothes I'll buy them. I don't want a little girl. I want a grown woman.
Don't get me wrong. I love to give gifts. I have purchased flowers and jewelry for the women I've dated. But it wasn't the gifts that kept them interested. Older women tend to appreciate the tenderness, the patience and the time you spend with them. I give them all of that.
I also like the emotional intensity of being with someone older. I like to be stimulated mentally, and mature women have shown me that it's okay to be who I am. They've taught me that it's important to keep growing but that I also need to take life in stride.
Now let's be clear-I am interested in the visual package. But instead of sporting long, black locks, the object of my desire could have a head full of silver hair or a thick, voluptuous body instead of a rail-thin model-like figure. To me, it's a sexy mark of distinction, and I'm attracted to how they carry themselves.
My mother has some reservations about my preference for older women, but she's never said, "André, what you're doing is bad." Of course, she'd prefer that I find someone my own age, but I'm a grown man and she's never been one to tell me what to do with my life.
And my friends? Sometimes they ask, "Is it the sex?" or "Is she your sugar mama?" I've never asked a woman for money, and I'm not looking for a mother figure either. But it's true that when a man is younger and at his sexual peak and a woman is older and at hers, the combination makes for some intense sexual encounters. Older women have a greater sexual appetite, they're more comfortable with their bodies, and they're more assertive than younger women.
Unfortunately, I haven't had a significant relationship with an older sister for a couple of years. In the meantime, I've decided to focus on my education. But I'm waiting for the day I'm again blessed with an older woman's companionship. Until then, I'm practicing one of the lessons I've learned from these relationships: patience.
André James is an aspiring poet and a student in Birmingham, Alabama. Have comments on this essay? E-mail André at email@example.com.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Deramus