You're free to make your own choice when it comes to dating
Q: I am a healthy, reasonably attractive and fit, 50-year-old, single gentleman. I am often told I look like a man in his early 40s. I enjoy an excellent job and earn a comfortable income. I rarely date, but when I do, I seem to meet and date younger, attractive women. I have had no success with women near my age, and I have found many to be irritable and malcontents.
This greatly offends my friends' wives, female co-workers, and my sisters and mother. I find I am the recipient of a lot of unsolicited advice and mean-spirited barbs. I expect this middle-age female angst and jealousy, and I let it roll off me. I have slowly reduced my circle of friends and family to a select few as I don't need this treatment, nor do I need to explain my tastes in women. What is the best way to handle this behavior?
Older Gentleman Dating Attractive Younger Women
A: When you find the occasional middle-aged woman to be a malcontent, it's probably about her attitude.
When you find the occasional attractive younger woman to be a good match, then it's probably about her suitability.
When the occasional woman gets offended because your date is young and attractive, then it's probably about her issues.
You find middle-aged women to be malcontents. You generally prefer younger, attractive women. Your preferences have offended roughly every woman with whom you have professional, social and familial contact. (Do you have any female friends, by the way? Or does your contact with women fall into two categories: romantic, or unavoidable?)
You're entitled to indulge your taste in women, to offend those who disapprove, and to avoid those you offend.
You're also free to say you date "rarely" — then to cite failure with women your age, then to make reference to "most of the young ladies," which together suggest you date plenty, which arguably undercuts claims to success. It is, after all, your yarn to spin.
If, however, you're going to spin that yarn to support a conclusion that women are either hotties or hags, then please know those hags are entitled to the opinion that this isn't about them — it's about you.
Ideally, they would decline to feed your bias, and keep their opinions to themselves. Unless, of course, you ask for it.
If the invitation says 'no gifts,' it's okay not to bring one
Q: What do you do when an invitation says "no gifts, please," but at least one person will show up with gifts anyway? Do you abide by the host's wishes but then look like a doof compared with other guests? Get a smallish gift so you don't look like a doof, but then risk annoying the host?
To Gift or Not to Gift
A: Be the doof who figured the host must have meant it or wouldn't have written it.
If you have reason to believe someone is keeping score despite the no-gifts directive, then that just gives you even more reason not to play games, and just take the directive at face value.
For what it's worth — though it is best to respect the host's wishes, no host should be "annoyed" at a well-intentioned gift.