JENNIFER FEVER: Older Men, Younger Women by Barbara Gordon

JENNIFER FEVER: Older Men, Younger Women

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A garbled potpourri of slick sociology, personal soul-searching, and extensive, half-examined interviews and anecdotes on the subject of midlife men's purported lust for younger women; by the author of I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can (1979). Gordon begins with the personal, not to say the solipsistic: while bathing in a health-club swimming pool one afternoon, Gordon notices with distress that the older men around the pool are ignoring her and gazing wistfully at a shapely, golden-haired sprite in her 20s. How come? Does this mean that after working for decades to achieve mental health, feminist autonomy, and personal power, 50-ish, single Gordon is washed up as far as men are concerned? The answer, she tells us, with the drums of revelation beating beneath her stuttering prose, is both yes and no. After conducting interviews with scores of midlife men and abandoned midlife women, as well as with young ""Jennifers"" who have stolen midlife men away, Gordon concludes that a not necessarily inevitable combination of bad marriages and special insecurities in some midlife men (read: impotence) causes a flight to ""new life"" that has been taking place since the time of King David. To fill out the scenario, Gordon interviews gay men (do they experience ""Jeffrey fever,"" too?) and older women who have taken younger men as lovers. (Surprise--older women like the same things about youthful lovers that older men do: young flesh, optimism, energy, um, youth. They also dislike the same thing: money-grubbing.) In the end, Gordon reassures us, the healthiest men are happy to stick with women their own age. Unfortunately, no new life (scarcely a single new thought) here--despite a promised massive publicity campaign that may turn this brass accounting into gold.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1988
Publisher: Harper & Row