This is why I’m very antagonistic towards the modern liberal certitude that states that one should only befriend or be romantically involved with someone exactly the same age, social class and mindset as you. Sounds like a waste of a life.
Yes, it is creepy when men only date 19-year-olds, but if that were the only critique I’d not be writing this now, would I? (That’s the excuse critique. I’ll tell you what’s really going on.)
Two different things are happening. One is that it’s better for consumerism, marketing and propaganda if people only form friendships and relationships with those near the same age and other demographics. Predatory capitalism operates more smoothly if so. People are more predictable. The sharks can feed more easily.
The second is that it’s a way of (for mostly women, but sometimes men too) of reducing competition for partners — restrict the age range of the search space by social disapprobation, the non-logic goes, and you stand a better chance. Like a lot of things in the friendship and romance market (which can be surprisingly similar), it makes little sense but I’m proclaiming what is, not what should be or what would make anyone’s life better.
I’ve been lucky to have dated and befriended people of all ages as I have myself aged: dated older women when I was young, and befriended them, too. One of my closest friends in the army was a guy over 40 when I was 20, as well, though I usually find myself in friendships with women rather than men.
And when I was in my mid-30s living in Florida, I befriended a 19-year-old daughter of one of the women I worked with; talk about seeing things from a different perspective that I was at that point in my life quite far away from. We had fun watching a lot of horror movies together over those few years, and I learned just how different and hostile in many ways the world for young people had become via her direct witness.
There are a whole lot of ways we can resist neoliberalism or at least snub our noses at it. One way is to befriend people who aren’t like you, who are not exactly your same age, your same political beliefs, your same income bracket and your demographic doppelgänger.
I know it makes the pseudo-liberals cry, but that’s all the more reason to do it.