To folks who live in the more liberal communities of America, this will come as no surprise: research is showing that many women find themselves falling in love with other women once they hit their mid-30s. Anecdotally, I feel like I’ve seen this phenomenon play out pretty frequently, but Lisa Diamond at the University of Utah has actually done the long-term research.
Before any of the homophobes out there start saying how this proves that sexual orientation is a choice, these “late-life lesbians” had no homosexual feelings or experiences until that one person came along in their thirties that made them feel unadulterated, innocent LOVE once again. It was not a choice, it was a change.
I’m warning you now, I’m about to devolve into a screed against Men™ that will no doubt send many of you into a defensive posture, and make me look like a self-loathing fool. It will also paint me as shapist, and absolve women of all relationship responsibility. But I’ve always maintained that if I were a chick, I’d be so enraged at our culture that the mere act of tolerating dudes would be a daily exercise in vessel-popping restraint..
The article at top wonders aloud about these changes in attraction: “Now the puzzle is to figure out why… and how to explain it developmentally.” My response is: don’t overthink this. Let’s take a look at your typical male-female dynamic upon reaching the age of 40.
• Biologically, the female is entering the last stage of childbearing, or has decided to forgo the whole birthing experience. Either way, the man is no longer of imperative sexual use. We might not listen to our caveman ancestry, but our subconscious does – and early mankind rarely lived past the age of 27. A woman’s subconscious at 40 is probably asking why she’s still putting up with some dude.
• Around this time, men fill with water and beige-hued gelatin; their wobbly masses begin to calcify into armchairs and racism; they lose their hair and transfer it to their back and ears; they begin their journey that ends at the YMCA locker room as an 80-year-old obese, pink, distended homunculus. And what’s more, they don’t give a shit.
However, if the woman were to allow herself to fall into the same level of disrepair, the man – and indeed, the rest of the world – would treat her like a bubo-infested carrier of the Black Death. So she generally keeps in shape, does the small things to remain presentable, and keeps her doctor appointments.
But here’s the kicker: as the man morphs into this blob, he begins to make more money and wield more power than ever. She, however, begins to lessen in earning potential and cultural influence. What part of this proposition is remotely attractive?
• The man is also beginning to become more rigid in his belief system, less flexible both physiologically and emotionally, and more prone to hang on to infantile notions of How He Thinks The World Works. Typically, the women, in Professor Diamond’s words:
“…have more diverse relationships. Their life patterns change. Their careers change. They often become more expansive in their thinking, more open-minded… those sorts of things can create a context in which a woman might have always had that capacity to become attracted to women, but might never have had the opportunity until she reaches a certain stage in her life.”
I mean, come on – at some point, this is just math. Guys just bring so little to the table. I’m not disregarding the nice paycheck many men bring home, and the (still inequal) partnership they provide with kids, but remember, we’re talking about the love relationship between the woman and the man, the ineffable quality of a woman’s heart, and the unknowable origin of our deepest desires. Given the evidence, it’s kind of amazing so many women stick it out.
And yet, they do. Many do so because most of you guys are actually awesome, or because the women are just not susceptible to having their sexual orientation changed, and still genuinely love a man’s body, a man’s company, the smell, the rough feel. But if that infamous blog entry from a few months back is any indication, something is not working for a lot of anonymous readers.
The lesson? I dunno, maybe it’s just a cautionary tale to guys. Put simply, GIVE A SHIT. Take care of yourself, stay elastic, avoid ruts and work past your resentments to find your partner again. You may be funny, and god knows that counts for a lot, but… well, never mind. If you’re funny, she’ll probably stick around forever.