I seem to be having a McCain kind of evening. I think I will blame it on the rain, which seeped into my brain and prevented me from being able to construct a sentence in my class that began with "There"--it took me three times to get the right spelling.
Plus, I find it depressing that my eharmony contact requests thus far are of the old-dude types (to whom I'm a comparative whippersnapper! So call that a silver lining). I mostly don't care at all about getting older. We all get there if we're lucky, and so far I love the wisdom and general refusal to put up with nonsense that comes with it--plus I plan on going all European, sexy sophisticated, aesthetically speaking. Catherine Deneuve, rather than Cindy McCain, if you catch my drift. But dealing with the dating pool in an abstract manner like this (as opposed to meeting people in other contexts one-on-one and getting to know them as individuals) really brings out the trends. I.e., the dudes my age want the younger women, the older guys feel it's perfectly appropriate for them to be similarly hunting for women who are not their contemporaries. I have a friend who's about ten years older than I am, gorgeous, blonde, and we went to a fast dater singles thing a couple of years ago--I think one guy out of the 20 we met chose her, and a good chunk of them were her age or older.
This is not to say that age gaps don't work (absolutely, they do!), but, again, I'm speaking about general attitudes rather than about individual. When you're dealing with the aggregate, it tends to reinforce one's perceptions of women having a sell-by date, even if you're not someone who buys into that.
Yes, it's irrational to care one way or the other, particularly if you really are dealing with anyone who feels that women are unattractive/not good for birthin' past a certain age. Jerks! Who cares what they think! But, you know. Everyone single person must adore me, even the assholes I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.