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Why are Asian women heightist and Asian men ageist - Part 2? By Alpa Saujani

When it comes to finding a life partner, it could be argued that single Asian women are 'heightist’ and single Asian men are 'ageist’. With the Asian dating game already full of complexities and challenges, doesn’t it beg the question whether it’s time to take the gloves off and find a happy medium between the battle of age and height amongst men & women? I hope you enjoyed reading part 1 of this article, which discussed why Asian women are heightist but it’s now time to turn the table and look at why Asian men are ageist. How did this prejudice arise, and how is it potentially impacting your search for a partner?

Firstly, you might be surprised to learn that some men do not even know why they want to meet someone younger. Yes, you’ve read that right. I’ve lost count of the number of times professional men have been lost for words, during their personal matchmaking interview, when probed why they only want to meet younger women. It appears it’s so far ingrained into their psyche as the norm that they have never recognised, or questioned this belief, which no doubt has been instilled from birth. If we look at the age gaps between couples of our grandparents and parents era, commonly the males are a few years older than their spouses. This is just the way it was expected and socially accepted. Though it would be reasonable to state that during this time, it was not an exclusive practice within the Asian culture but also the norm for Western society. Nevertheless, times have changed, we are now in a Modern era. Let’s say John brings home a girl 5 years his senior, his parents are not likely to make a huge deal out of it, compared to the fireworks that would probably be going off at Raj’s house, if he did the same. Unfortunately, the potential backlash of going against the grain is still a price many are not prepared to pay. The net result, often men will choose to date younger women in order to avoid conflict and conform to their parents and society’s ideals. Is that just cowardice and somewhat illogical on the part of supposedly intelligent and modern thinking men?

Staying with the Asian culture, there is still a stigma attached to older unmarried women, particularly those aged early 30s and upwards. Yet single men of a similar age are not casted with the same aspersions. For example, a female is blamed for being too independent, career focused and picky, thereby questionably good 'marriage material’ otherwise surely she would have been snapped up by now. Whilst men are commended for their ability to stand on their own two feet, praised for their successful careers, which qualifies them as great 'husband material’ with a licence to be 'picky’ over their choice of partner. This manifests itself in men intentionally seeking younger women as they are perceived to be adaptable and good catches that have not been 'left on the shelf’. Thus, making them better marriage material. So who should be held culpable for this archaic mentality? Men? Their parents? Or perhaps it’s just another 'bylaw’ born from the Asian culture still ignorantly being passed down the generations?

Casting the Asian culture aside, it would be unjust not to point out that some women in fact prefer men of a similar or slightly older age. Men tend to mature later than women do, so an older man is more likely to be on a similar wavelength and at the same life stage, thus increasing compatibility. An older man is also likely to be more established and stable making him a better provider for a future family. Add to that he is more likely to be refined, the finished article, compared to a younger man with less life experiences, it’s easy to identify the appeal. So perhaps at some level, women could also be considered ageist themselves.

Tick-tock, tick-tock yes that’s the sound of the biological clock; another common reason Asian men use to justify their reason for being ageist. No one can deny the biological clock but whilst it’s a well publicised fact that woman’s fertility rate starts to decline after the age of 35, various research over the last 10 years has brought to light that men also have a biological clock that starts to decline at this age, albeit at a slower rate comparatively. Here are a few interesting findings that I found from various researches:

"Women whose partners were 35 or older had more miscarriages than those who were with younger men, regardless of their own age. The men's ages also affected pregnancy rates, which were lower in the over-40s". Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/jul/07/health.children

"An age gap can make a difference, too . If a woman's partner is at least five years older than her, she has less chance of conceiving within a year than if her partner is the same age. That's the case whatever the woman's age. Source: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a564598/dads-how-your-age-can-affect-your-fertility-and-your-babys-health

It’s certainly gives you food for thought but on a notably positive note, in the last decade more women have been giving birth in their 30s and early 40s than ever before. Take Tania Sullivan famed for having a large family, at the age of 37 she recently gave birth to her 12th child and no doubt will have a few more before the decade is out. Meera Syal had her second child at the age of 44 and let’s not forget Cherie Blair who gave birth at the age of 45. Therefore, it’s not all doom and gloom, so perhaps it is time to be more open-minded and widen the net. After all, those who also live in glass houses should not throw stones. Related to the biological clock, some men are put off by the prospect of dating older women as they potentially risk being in a relationship that is excelled and not allowed to grow organically due to the woman’s desire to start a family. But I guess this all comes down to perception. If you’re a guy aged 30 upwards, you’re probably looking for the same things as these women, albeit at a slightly slower pace. Bearing in mind that fertility also affects men, and you probably want to be healthy and energetic enough to raise & play with your own children, is this really a bad situation to find yourself in?

There is also a concern that the older you are, the more set in your ways you become, making adjustments and compromises more challenging. For these reasons, men prefer to date younger women as they are perceived to be flexible, less work and more fun. Perhaps there is some truth in these beliefs but the reality is that for any long-term relationship to work, flexibility and compromise are essential from both men and women, regardless of age.

There are both logical and illogical reasons why Asian women are heightist and Asian men are ageist. Notably, the desire to be with a tall man and younger woman are born from cultural conditioning. What’s also perhaps interesting is that as a generation of modern Asians, we are all intelligent enough to know that height has absolutely no bearing on the mental or emotional connection that we’re all seeking in a relationship, yet we give it such high importance and arguably to our detriment. Whilst age perhaps does have some impact on this connection, we’re equally smart enough to know that compatibility is likely to be higher with someone of a similar or slighter older age due to shared commonalities. However, we continue to seek out taller and younger partners, completely overlooking masses of people who could be equally, if not better life partners. If you’ve been seeking a partner for a while, you’re already aware of how challenging it is in the dating jungle. Therefore, does it not make sense to call a truce and cast the height and age prejudices aside? By tweaking your tick list you may just get a different result; give shorter guys a chance and date women of a similar or slightly older age. Because let’s be honest here, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that these tick boxes still haven’t yielded you your desired results but perhaps it takes a genius like Albert Einstein to point out that "Insanity = doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results..."

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On the dating site I use, I would estimate that for 97% of Asian men, their preferred age range is their own stated age.  Another 4.99% will deign to consider women up to their own age.  For the rest of the population, I would conservatively estimate that 80% have a number HIGHER than their own age as their preferred maximum.  This demonstration of Asian men's overwhelming relative ageism is very unattractive.  At least in this regard, Asian men have only themselves to blame for the phenomenon of Asian women dating and marrying non-Asian men in such numbers.
Thank you all for your comments:

@Anon - I completely agree, we do need to be more open-minded and look at the bigger picture because life is short and when you create additional challenges to reach your desired goal, there is only one person who is ultimately missing out!

@TJ - Whilst I agree that divorce rates are lower in the Asian community amongst our parents generation, it is a different story for our generation. I do not have the official statistics but I am basing this on the demographics of members and guests of Tantric Club. I also do not believe that by being with someone taller, or younger guarantees a better success rate of a marriage lasting. It all comes down to compatibility and arguably being with someone of a similar age, means that you are more likely to have similar life experience and thereby increasing compatibility.

@Milady - I agree that there are many stereotypes grounded in truth but in my opinion these sterotypes change, if people and attitudes change. Similarly, we all have values and beliefs ingrained from childhood, which do not necessarily always serve us well in adulthood. It’s only when we are challenged, or stop to reflect and recognise that something is not working, are we able to change these values and beliefs. I also agree with you that some women may prefer older men as they are more mature etc which I have highlighted in paragraph 4 in the article. I also appreciate that women may not find shorter men attractive but if you already have a preconceived idea, you're unlikely to try and give him a chance. For example, I have always liked and enjoyed chocolate ice cream. When I got to the shop, I have tunnel vision, I do not even look at the other flavours, I always go for chocolate. But can I really claim not to like other flavours, which I have never tried?

Interesting article but as you say if ideas are ingrained, can they really be challenged? There are many stereotypes that are unfortunately grounded in truth. 

It's about the overall package - have you considered that women may not find short men or younger men attractive? Or that these men just doesn't meet our expectation of maturity or masculinity?
Certainly is ingrained -- but is that a bad thing? Divorce rates are much lower amongst Asians than Western couples...or in 20 years will we regret that we didn't break free of these artificial barriers...?? Food for thought...

A good article to read on my commute home. Over the last few years, I have come across men and women who point out the need to have a taller man or younger woman with exactly the same reasons you mention, clearly dismissing any attribute towards the emotional and mental outlook of an individual who may prove to be a great life partner. This is not restricted to just the Asian community. In my opinion, a little education is needed to be more open-minded about such situations and taking a look at the full picture of a person. because in life opportunities come once and if you are lucky you may just get a second chance. 


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