Now, while it’s lovely to see how many similarities there are between the generations, and we’ll get to that in a minute, unfortunately, or let’s just say interestingly, men and women differ when it comes to their cross-generational attraction to the opposite sex. Males, from 16 to 66, all seem to be attracted to women who are firmly on the “pre-” side of menopausal. While women’s taste in men ages as the women do — 20-something ladies lust after Liam Hemsworth look-alikes, while middle-aged women pursue Pierce Brosnan types — guys, from greasy to gray, all want Scarlett Johansson.
Back to the good news. My 14-year-old daughter actually wants to hang out with me! We watch Orange Is the New Black together, she loves my old Blondie records and punky T-shirts, and we follow each other on Instagram, with little judgment on either side. Now, I loved my mom — she was kind and not critical when I went to school in frayed cutoffs and thigh-high rainbow socks — but we had nothing culturally in common. I listened to Earth, Wind and Fire and watched Linda Blair in the TV movie Born Innocent while she played Bach and tuned in to The Secret Storm. But generations today — millennials, Xers and boomers — have melded together, and we have much more in common than not.
Yet interestingly, increasingly similar as we are, how we define ourselves can be dividing. While boomers and millennials report being equally forgetful, for those under 35, it’s mere “forgetfulness.” We boomers are stuck with “senior moments” and the prospect that we’ll be wandering the streets looking for Elvis (or Prince) within a week. My friends have always marveled at my complete inability to recall anything: names, faces, jokes. Some love it because they could tell me the same story over and over and I’d laugh anew each time. But what used to be cute and ditzy is now a cause for concern. And they look at me nervously, hoping I have a good long-term care plan.
In addition to sharing a propensity for brain farts, both the groovy baby and Lady Gaga generations travel, read and laugh a similar amount. And believe me, laughing is important as one ages. I find as gravity works its magic, resting bitch face has simply become my normal face, so I have to be more careful about anger and grooming. For example, if someone doesn’t pick up their dog’s poop, I try to gently say, “I think you forgot something.” I don’t want to give them angry Grumpy Cat face. And now I have to make sure to brush my hair because it doesn’t look like I have sexy bed head anymore. It just looks like I’m homeless.
And speaking of sexy, let’s get back to that pesky little fact: Men crave young flesh. Straight guys can look like Fyvush Finkel and still get to date Mary-Kate Olsen. There’s the occasional Madonna or JLo with their boy toys, but they’re the exception and not the rule. The downside to dating babes? They tend to want babies! Ask 73-year-old Mick Jagger (Mick’s due in the winter) and his 69-year-old band mate Ronnie Wood.
It’s rousing to think that little Junior Jagger or Wee Wood will still share more in common with Mom and Dad than we did with our folks, including lusting after 20-something females well into their twilight years.
Nora Burns is a founding member of the comedy groups Unitard and the Nellie Olesons and also performs comedy solo. She will perform her latest show, David’s Friend, in New York this winter. She has written for Paper magazine, TimeOut New York and TheaterWeek. Nora lives in New York with her husband and two kids.