By Jane Glenn Haas
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, 84, used Twitter to announce his Christmas Eve engagement to Crystal Harris, 24, who was December 2009's Playmate of the Month.
"When I gave Crystal the ring, she burst into tears. This is the happiest Christmas weekend in memory," Hefner tweeted.
There is a 60-year age difference between the two. Not to mention a mansion or three. All of it adding up to Hef saying how thrilled he was that he "got her love."
"And on her Twitter account she said she loved him, too," says Jamie Beckman, sex and relationships writer for SheKnows.com.
Hefner's move, on Crystal, bodes well for boomer women.
Twice divorced (he filed for divorce from second wife Kimberley Conrad in 2009), he has been quoted extensively saying marriage was no longer a goal for him.
Instead of marriage, Hef relied on relationships. His latest, to Playmate Holly Madison, 32, was well-documented on the reality show The Girls Next Door. In 2008, Hef said, "I love Holly very much and I think we're going to be together the rest of my life. But marriage isn't part of my puzzle. It's not a personal thing — I just haven't had much luck with marriages."
Relationships writer Beckman says Hef's change of heart might be tied to looming mortality.
"He's got to wonder how his life is going to end. And he wants a relationship," Beckman says. "Photos of him and Crystal made me think of Anna Nicole and the tycoon she married.
"Maybe he doesn't want to keep the Playboy image as he ages."
And this bodes well for boomer women, as I said.
If love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage, as the old song says, then there's still a chance to get that Playboy mansion, ladies. (Although I don't think many of us are interested in a guy with a 60-year age difference. Sooner or later, that's got to turn itself into years of caregiving. Hef can afford to hire someone to change his diapers but for most men, it's the ol' high school sweetheart doing the task.)
Sure, there are always men who skew younger, as Beckman says. "But the majority of people want an emotional attachment with someone who makes them feel good, someone who is more their equal."
Put Hef's nuptials in the same context as a SeniorPeopleMeet.com report that says 26.2 percent of boomers say they are refocusing their efforts to find a companion in 2011. A survey by the dating site reports 30.2 percent of the 50-plus crowd are looking for love.
And, wow! There are a lot of senior people to meet. The oldest boomers turn 65 this year. Plus the boomers are playing on a sex field Hef invented but surely never existed for him at 65.
"The playing field is more level, with men and women working today," Beckman says. "The fact that women have more financial freedom is very freeing."
Women, cougars anyway, can pick younger men. Younger men who might be looking to inherit their own mansion.
"I think sexual freedom for women is constantly increasing," Beckman says.
Wow! Freed women and cheap Viagra.
Beckman says Hef always sang the praises of Viagra and how well it worked. "Several ex-bunnies said when they went to sex parties with Hef he always popped Viagra around midnight," she says.
As the old song goes, it's never really over 'til it's over.
Jane Glenn Haas writes a blog with attitude, "Why Almost Everything Gets Better After 50," at janeglennhaas.com.