Old Man Spring

For most of us, this year's St. Patrick's Day came with its usual pint-guzzling merriment and went with its ritual head-splitting and stomach-turning hangover. But for one Irishman, as it was amply reported, the party was just getting started. Pat O'Brien, of Insider fame, kept rubbing his shamrock for weeks to come. Until he did—on your voicemail (and to anyone who has yet to listen to this poet's eloquent musings, he gives Yeats a run for his money).

As I listened to O'Brien join the ranks of such geriatric predatory icons as Bob Barker, Bill O'Reilly and Marv (Yesssssss!) Albert I wondered whether I would ever date a Pat O'Brien. Not him specifically (he's obviously totally out of my league), but someone his age.

Now that Saved By the Bell: The College Years have come and gone, I've realized that there are dateable people out there over the age of 22. Who knew?

An eligible bachelor (or bachelorette) can be 25 or 65. So where to draw the line? How old is too old? And what really happens when our lives start echoing a sorry episode of Gastineau Girls?

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I put these questions out to my friends, and lay back (the lady of leisure that I am) waiting for their answers with bated breath. Before I knew it, stories came pouring in faster than Demi, Ashton and Bruce became America's favorite nuclear family.

As it turns out, the geriatric sort are quite appealing to us young, wide-eyed fillies.

Unfortunately, the geriatric sort also have this pesky habit of lying about their ages. Apparently "32" means "37" and "40" actually translates to a cool "46." Much like switching Fahrenheit to Celsius, the age conversion formula involves a series of equations that only makes sense to Steven Hawking and a few well-educated meteorologists.

A close friend of mine recently began dating an older gentleman she met through work. "It's not about how old they are," she told me, "it's really about how old they look." She's right. With the miracle of Botox, Peter Brady and Seth Cohen could be fraternal twins.

She happily reported that the sex with the 42 year old stallion was the best she'd ever had. I was impressed, and almost sold, until the gorgeous brunette called me late one night from the stallion's bathroom on the brink of hysteria. Apparently she had reached for soap and instead of an agent for washing up, she found an agent for getting it up—Viagra. Chillin' right there on the counter.

It turns out a Viagra in the hand is worth two in the bush.

She checked the label, and sure enough the drug was prescribed to him. Unlike the Viagra-ingesting boys she encountered in college who tried "experimenting" with extended erections, this was for real. This golfer's handicap wasn't on the green, but between the sheets.

A second friend had a similar experience. The 30-something hip-hop loving, baseball-cap sporting stud she met at a bar seemed young in style, heart and mind. But the hair on his head sprouted solely due to a Rogaine dependency. She decided to overlook this detail only to discover that he was stunted in other ways as well. Mr. Man had been someone's lowly assistant for the last ten years (a job she held herself with hopes of being promoted) and didn't even have a savings account. It seems the reason he was dating 22-year olds was because he was 22—plus 15 years. When he asked her to borrow 20 bucks to start up his 401K "thingy" she slipped him the cash and made a run for it.

Dating "up" in age is not always an unsavory experience. Many reported learning a thing or two from their seasoned lovers—whether it's about wine, politics, relationships or careers, a few extra years can amount to a whole lot of wisdom. And much of the time an older mate means a well paid one, which can be enticing. Especially when paying rent and eating food can seem like mutually exclusive activities.

Sometimes an age difference can have health benefits as well. Just this week, Buenos, the world's oldest living monkey, died in Japan at age 53. Her keepers point to a late-in-life love affair with a younger, sprightly monkey as the secret to her longevity. For all of you out there hoping to "make a difference" here's your shot; bone somebody old.

In that spirit, I'd like to conclude with some fitting words from Yeats himself:

"An aged man is but a paltry thing,
a tattered coat upon a stick,
unless soul clap its hands and sing."

At 57, Pat O'Brien's soul is still a-clappin' and a-singin'. And so to Ananda Lewis I say: screen your calls.

To the rest of you, remember, an older mate can be aged to perfection or just turned sour. You'll never know until you take a sip.

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