By Count Friedrich von Olsen
In recent weeks and months, I have taken quite a beating for having unabashedly confessed my preference for older women. It has not always been so; the simple truth is I have my entire life been most enamored of women near, or very near, my own age. It is true that as a lad, or more accurately a tyke, I had something of a crush on my governess, who was, most likely two decades or thereabouts my senior. But for the most part, the girls that caught my imagination were essentially my contemporaries. It is a mathematical fact that given my advanced age, my contemporaries are now older women…
It is not that I do not have an aesthetic appreciation for the beauty of youth. Indeed, I am not blind to that. But there is a beauty to age, as well, if one is inclined to discern it. Moreover, for me at least, there is an importance attached to being able to converse with a women if I am to spend any but the most fleeting of time with her. Thus, she, and I, must have something to say and something to discuss. If I were to again be put in the position of being one on one with a 20-year-old woman – or a 30-year-old woman – as on occasion in recent times has happened, I am afraid I am at a loss as to what we would actually say. I fear that there would be just about nothing that I could say to her that she would have even the slightest interest in. And while I am sure that there would be something or other that she might say to me that would be meaningful, even though we might speak the same language, I am not sure I would understand it, given what passes for today’s vernacular…
So, as I said, a few of the guys were giving me a hard time for my professed partiality to older women and try as I might, I was not able to acquit my prejudice. So, I turn now to someone far more articulate than I to make that case. It seems that a young man once informed Benjamin Franklin that despite his libidinous desire for women, he was deathly afraid of marriage, even though getting married might seve to quell his libido. Mr. Franklin wrote him a letter, urging him to overcome his fear and find a matrimonial partner. Along the way, in recognizing that the young man might not heed his advice, Mr. Franklin told him that if he were to continue to carry on outside the bounds of wedlock, he should find an older woman to dally with. In so doing, Mr. Franklin made the points I believe explain, at least in part, my own feeling in this matter. So, here, without any further embellishment, is Mr. Franklin’s letter…
June 25, 1745
My dear Friend,
I know of no Medicine fit to diminish the violent natural Inclinations you mention; and if I did, I think I should not communicate it to you. Marriage is the proper Remedy. It is the most natural State of Man, and therefore the State in which you are most likely to find solid Happiness. Your Reasons against entering into it at present, appear to me not well-founded. The circumstantial Advantages you have in View by postponing it, are not only uncertain, but they are small in comparison with that of the Thing itself, the being married and settled. It is the Man and Woman united that make the compleat human Being. Separate, she wants his Force of Body and Strength of Reason; he, her Softness, Sensibility and acute Discernment. Together they are more likely to succeed in the World. A single Man has not nearly the Value he would have in that State of Union. He is an incomplete Animal. He resembles the odd Half of a Pair of Scissors. If you get a prudent healthy Wife, your Industry in your Profession, with her good Economy, will be a Fortune sufficient.
But if you will not take this Counsel, and persist in thinking a Commerce with the Sex inevitable, then I repeat my former Advice, that in all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones. You call this a Paradox, and demand my Reasons. They are these:
1. Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stor’d with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreeable.
2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do a 1000 Services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old Woman who is not a good Woman.
3. Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produc’d may be attended with much Inconvenience.
4. Because thro’ more Experience, they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather inclin’d to excuse an old Woman who would kindly take care of a young Man, form his Manners by her good Counsels, and prevent his ruining his Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.
5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.
6. Because the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her for Life unhappy.
7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy.
8thly and Lastly They are so grateful!!
Thus much for my Paradox. But still I advise you to marry directly; being sincerely Your affectionate Friend.