Cross Generational Dating and The Hook Up Culture


( By Oyunga Pala) A 70 year old pastor, was caught in a lodging in broad daylight with the wife of one of his congregants. Pastors getting caught with their pants down is no longer news but the allure in this particular story was the woman’s age. The straying woman was in her mid-30s and she was married to a 40 year old man. The wife’s husband got wind of the affair and arrived with his posse, TV cameras in tow and busted the couple. The elderly man was dragged out by his shirt collar as he endured slaps to his face. The aggrieved husband was so annoyed, he demanded dowry reparations for damages caused to his ‘investment’. I am not making this up.

Nonetheless, the fury was reserved for his wife. He descended on her with blows and kicks whilst trying to strip her at the same time, I suppose to further humiliate her. She was not a submissive woman and resisted the assault as she gave him a piece of his mind in the ensuing struggle. While the onlookers agreed that pastors have gone rogue and that the wife was out of order, it was the wounded husband who bore the brunt of the social scorn. How could he have been scooped by a guka? As expected, social media commentators deduced that the man was an outright failure. In a society where sexual prowess is a highly rated symbol of masculinity, news of your wife’s affair with a man 30 years your senior, casts a man in very poor light. The younger man obviously failed to appreciate the reality. As men grow older and more prosperous, they tend to start dating younger because they enter the field with the clear advantage of experience.

I recall an incident at a house party in some plush Nairobi neighbourhood years back. The crowd was composed of glamorous upwardly mobile executives, majorly in their 30s and a good number were still in the singles club. The women were fairly reserved as the men fought to rank themselves into an imaginary hierarchy of importance. Then a senior citizen walked in, a man clearly past his sixties and a known playboy who owned oil fields. He rolled in his sleek machine that was visible from the lounge and all eyes shifted in his direction. Men know competition when they see it.

The former loud mouths retreated into the shadows under the pretext of ‘needing’ a drink. The car was undoubtedly a superior piece of engineering, oozing with class and designed solely to leave the female admirers gasping. A Jaguar gives its owner an unfair advantage.

Needless to add, several of the women in the room suddenly started angling for the senior citizen’s attention. Traffic to the bathroom increased tenfold. For all the talk we hear about ‘dirty old men’, isn’t it amazing how widely they are tolerated. Hiding behind the façade of female independence, are a bunch of financial strapped girls who would not be adverse to ‘doing girl’ for economic gain.

Some women have no qualms chasing men of power, even if it means starting off as mistress number five. The important thing is to have your foot in the door. The competition can be dealt with later. The popular notion is that money compensates for a man’s flaws. Generally speaking, women have come to realize that in these precarious economic times, a straying husband beats a broke one hands down. For many women, love translates to security and the man who provides sufficiently will remain viable.

On the other hand, societal judgment is harsh when the younger man shacks up with the older woman. Women cannot have what men have and dirty old ladies are only tolerated if they are white and their boyfriends are motor-mouthed, scrawny, dreadlocked, former beach boys.

In our patriarchal society, mature women fall in the motherly bracket of respectability and are expected to have gotten over lustful pursuits following childbirth. So, inter-generational dating remains a challenge for older African women. While, there is no shortage of men under 30, willing and ready to do ‘handsome’ for economic gain, the women involved in illicit liaisons with ‘boys’ have to employ very elaborate cover up tactics to preserve their reputations.

These scenarios are the telling signs of a new dilemma of our modern society. Since young people can no longer meet the unrealistic expectations of their peers, both male and female have gone shopping for love and security from partners old enough to be their parents. There is no patience or discipline required to cultivate a solid relationship or marriage these days. This is the instant gratification generation. The hook up culture. They want it all and they want it now.

No wonder, 70 year old pastors are still getting caught chasing tail.



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