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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.

(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.

The serially cohabiting older man sees dodging the bullet of matrimony as a badge of honor."This is nothing compared to the long lines during the oil crisis," I say to my husband, Bronson, as he pulls into a particularly crowded Mobil station near the Holland Tunnel. Or could it be caused by something as shallow and immediate as a woman's not wanting anyone to think her date is her younger brother or, God help us, her son? People were siphoning fuel from their neighbors' cars in the dead of night! She's older than he is, you know." Does our culture's collective discomfort with a reversal of the usual younger woman–older man dynamic come, as scientists suggest, from a deep-rooted evolutionary instinct that drives women to choose the wiser, older, more powerful alpha male over the untested young buck? I look at him, stunned that he could forget such a big part of 1973. You'd really dig it." Or "Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins! We've been together for seven years now, and I'm so used to considering Bronson my peer that I often forget about our 13½-year age difference. In the beginning, if I wasn't thinking, Is he too young for me? someone else was thinking it for me—and blurting out, "Hey, have you seen How Stella Got Her Groove Back?

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