(In France.) Another guy old enough to have danced naked at Woodstock stared incredulously at my alternative rock CD collection ("I've never even heard of any of these guys," he said, waving around a Pearl Jam CD) and asked if I had any Kenny G or Jimmy Buffet.

A guy who has spent the past 20 years in a well-insulated rut will make you tell his astounded buddies about the time you were in "a whaddya call it? " You may have the feeling that your relationship now qualifies as his official Walk on the Wild Side.

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A man who came of age in the 1960s, before the women's movement exploded, when his (more likely than not) stay-at-home mom did the cooking and cleaning, might have to work hard at accepting the fact that his life won't be just like his dad's.

A man who came of age in the 1970s or '80s doesn't think twice about being married to a woman with her own career, or splitting the household chores with her.

While years of relationships may teach a man to be a better partner, there's also the danger that he's learned to view women as gold-digging, untrustworthy sluts, parasitic leeches, or nagging harpies. Younger men carry far less of this bitter emotional baggage.

(Maybe he's carrying a grudge about one woman who done him wrong, but it's probably his mother.) They see women as wonderful, exotic creatures with many treasures to offer.

Maybe women feel that because girls have a head start on maturity back in the seventh grade, our emotional and spiritual equals must forever be at least five years older than we are.

Whatever part of the conventional wisdom they buy into, American women find it easy to summarily reject younger men. They could be denying themselves the most wonderful relationship of their lives.This rush to the altar in the under-30 set has been denigrated (mostly by the over-30 set) as a spate of "starter marriages." Ultimately, I think the divorce rate will probably be the same as the break-up rate of the "just living together" generation, but I must say that it's infinitely more pleasant to listen to men who don't consider commitment to be a dirty word.As creepy as the done-it-all, Warren Beatty type of older man is the one who hasn't done anything.This is the guy who's missed so much in his years on the planet that being with him makes you feel embalmed.I stopped dating a 48-year-old television executive when he labeled me a "maniac" because I said I sunbathed topless.Staying over at a younger man's place may mean a breakfast of cold pizza and Mountain Dew, but at least you won't be offered Mylanta and Metamucil with your OJ.