How to Be Friends with a Younger Woman

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I used to be the youngest in the crowd. Now, I go into an alcohol-serving establishment fully aware that I could have birthed at least half of the barflies sitting around chugging beers.

To highlight my ineptitude at hiding my age, I once even acknowledged (in public!) that I remember the moon landing.  A sympathetic “No Way!” accompanied the immediate deletion of my contact information from my date’s phone.

Thankfully, this dichotomy between young and old has not been an issue in one of the most significant relationships of my life. In fact, our nearly 20-year age difference is rarely a hindrance to any of our adventures or conversations. (OK…there was that ONE time I had to explain that a Day-Glo color is what we called neon colors in the ‘80s.)

But more than any other relationship I’ve enjoyed, this May-December romance has been the most rewarding. Probably because it’s not a romance at all. It’s a sisterhood. A sisterhood where I’m happy and honored to play the role of older sibling.

So I’m here to tell you that you CAN have a successful relationship with a younger woman. You just need to remember a few rules in order for it to work:

  1. Accept that she will always be hotter than you. Your time came and went. You had your chance. Wake up. You’re 50, not 30. And you will never look 30 again.
  2. Listen to HER play list when you’re together. She knows what’s happening now. You don’t. You can listen to ABBA when you’re alone in the car.
  3. What is obvious to you is an epiphany to her…because she hasn’t lived it yet. Celebrate her naiveté. It’s fun to see the world through less skeptical eyes.
  4. Take fashion advice from her, but don’t shop at the same stores. (See #1.) Find an age appropriate parallel to the fashion trends that she is rocking.
  5. Celebrate her shoe collection without revealing the bunions you’re currently shoving into your Birkenstocks.  CFMPs are totally worth it.
  6. Answer her questions honestly. Not easy when queries include “Do you do butt stuff?” But if she’s asking you, it’s because she trusts you.
  7. Compliment her and celebrate her successes with sincerity. I treat my girlfriend with the same love and admiration as I do my daughter. I take pride in seeing her confident and beautiful and kicking ass.

And Voila! Before you know it, you’ve gone from dancing stiffly next to each other as strangers in a Zumba class, to being the two uninhibited divas up front grinding your groove things to Pitbull music, to providing hope and cheerfulness to each other through the darkest hours of your lives, texting nightly about your boyfriends, sharing inappropriate memes and goofy quotes, and ultimately serving as a bridesmaid at age 52 in her fairytale wedding.

So, yeah. This May-December thing is a good ride…even if I’m not the hottest one in the relationship.

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