The Etiquette of Trans-generational Marriage–when older people and younger people marry each other

Trans-generational marriages

A trans-generational marriage is a marriage where there is a significant age and/or maturity disparity between the two parties. When an older man is dating a significantly younger woman, he is, for the most part, regarded as a “dirty old man” and she, a “gold digger”—until the couple is officially married. Thereafter, he is simply regarded as an older husband and she, his young wife—unless, of course, he is extremely wealthy, in which case the young wife retains her pre-nuptial characterization, only intensified. In the much-less-visible cases of significantly older women dating younger men, such women are regarded as “cradle-robbers” or “cougars,” and their young men are viewed as gigolos—until marriage, at which point the women are labeled as “nymphomaniacs” and their young husbands, “opportunists.” Where the older women are exceedingly wealthy, their post-marriage status reduces to “fool” and their young husbands’ are elevated to “shrewd.” But regardless of the scenario, the institution of marriage tends to impart an overall degree of dignity, no matter how minute, to such relationships. In many societies today, men are not able to marry each other. So for the most part, when an older man forms an intimate union with a younger man, their relationship tends to be described by outsiders as one between a “sugar daddy” and his “boy-toy.”  And in the jurisdictions where same-sex marriages and unions are legally recognized, the sugar daddy/boy-toy characterization tends to continue into the marital phase of the relationship, though with an elevated sentiment—especially when the older man is not exceptionally wealthy and/or the young man not exceptionally beautiful.

When an older person marries a younger one, the onus is on the older person to make concessions for those age-consistent characteristics of the younger spouse that may present challenges in the marriage. In trans-generational relationships, the older spouse is at once parent and spouse, and the younger person is both child and spouse. The fact is that the older person has already lived through the stages being experienced by the younger; and just as the older spouse, in his younger years, should have had the opportunity to experience life, so should the younger. To do otherwise would be the equivalent of telling a pre-teen that he should not eat candy because sugar is bad for his teeth, or asking a teenaged boy not to masturbate. The major challenge of trans-generational marriages is that neither spouse is fully prepared to deal with the maturity level of the other spouse. But between the two, the greater responsibility for accommodation falls upon the older for the reasons presented above. Very few older spouses, however, are confident or self-assured enough to endure the emotional challenges that are likely to arise in trans-generational marriages. A good beginning-point for tackling such challenges, however, is for the older spouse to revisit his life when he was the age of his younger spouse. (See above, “The Social Evolution of a Gentleman Within His Lifetime—An age-line”). The ability of the older spouse to empathize with the younger spouse is crucial to the success of the marriage. And the younger spouse must be willing to sympathize.

Though relationships evolve, the impetus for many trans-generational relationships is sexual attraction and an admiration for the vivacity of youth on the part of the older spouse, and financial security and respectful admiration on the part of the younger spouse. But it is oftentimes those very things that can complicate such relationships, for the longer the marriage endures, and the older the older spouse becomes, the less sexually compatible he becomes for the younger spouse. And the more financially secure the younger spouse becomes in his own right, the less relevant the financial security provided by the older spouse becomes. So, like a candle burning from both ends, such is the nature of many trans-generational relationships. And while the financial security issue tends to be less divisive where there is true love between the parties, the sexual incompatibility issue tends to intensify with time: A 20-year-old is more likely to find a well-preserved 45-year-old sexually attractive than is a 55-year-old likely to regard a well-preserved 80-year-old as sexually attractive.  And if the younger spouse is anything like the older spouse, when the older spouse is in his 80s, the younger spouse will be sexually attracted to people 20 years younger than he/she—people in their 30s, not people in their 80s. The solution in such circumstances, therefore, is for the older spouse, again, to make the accommodation, thereby allowing the younger spouse to satisfy some of his sexual needs outside the marriage. And the older spouse should also do all within his power to maintain his physical appearance and mental health. It is the responsibility of the younger spouse, however, to ensure that his extra-sexual relationships do not intrude upon his sexual, emotional, and spiritual commitments to his spouse; his extra-sexual relationships cannot rise above the level of hedonistic sex (See chapter, “Sex in the 21st Century—No Holds [or Holes] Barred!”) if the integrity of the marriage is to be preserved and nurtured. In addition, recognizing the dignity of marriage, it is incumbent upon the younger spouse to ensure that his/her interest in extra-sexual relations be openly discussed with his/her spouse (The older spouse should be quite capable of comprehending that interest since it was those very trans-generational sentiments that led to the formation of his/her marriage.); that there be mutual agreement; that the extra-sexual relationship be handled with utmost discretion and respect so as to preserve the dignity of the marriage and that of the older spouse; and that the extra-sexual relationship never take precedence over the duties and responsibilities of the spousal relationship. In cases where mutual agreement cannot be achieved, the younger spouse must honor the wishes of the older spouse since sexual incompatibility in the later years of marriage should have been anticipated at the formation of the marriage. Such is the proverbial marital bed made by trans-generational couples, so the younger spouse must be prepared to lie (no pun intended) in that bed. The moral of the story, then, is that trans-generational marriages, though not impossible, are exceedingly complicated. And very few people possess the level of maturity required to commit to and maintain happiness throughout such unions. It would behoove a gentleman, therefore, to exercise extreme caution before entering a trans-generational marriage or union.

 

 

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The Rules for Same-Sex (Man-to-Man) Dating

When Boy Meets Boy

By the middle of the 1980s, a little over a decade after the 1969 Stonewall Riots, same-sex relationships had left the confining environments of the closet and the underground club and had made their way onto backstreets and alleyways across the Western World. And with that coming-out emerged a set of social rules for same-sex dating aimed at maintaining dignity and decorum in an activity that—had it been left to the devices of couples comprised of double doses of testosterone, machismo, and ego—would have been transformed into veritable business transactions rather than genteel interaction. (After all, dating is supposed to be fun, romantic, or, preferably, both—not an exercise in dinner table accounting.)

So, when a young man takes a romantic interest in another young man and invites him out on a date, the same general rule applies:  inviter pays for invitee, including the tip. End of story. And if one date turns into multiple dates, tabs should not be kept as to whose “turn” it is to invite whom next. If that is the case, just go dutch from “jump street,” become business associates instead of lovers, and forget about dating!   Again, dating is supposed to be fun, romantic, or, preferably, both.

 

And there are other rules for man-to-man dating:

-When a man approaches a stranger at a bar in order to engage conversation and a pleasant conversation ensues, it is incumbent upon the man who made the approach to offer a drink; however, when both men have been previously introduced or are friends, the man who was first situated at the bar should offer the drink, the rationale being that he is the “host” of sorts, welcoming his friend to the bar.

-A gentleman seated in a restaurant waiting for his gentleman-date to arrive should rise in order to greet his date as he approaches the table.

-When both men enter a restaurant together where there is a maître d’ stationed at the entrance, the maître d’ will lead the way to the couple’s designated table, followed by the invitee, and then the inviter. Upon arriving at the table, a properly trained maître d’ will pull out a chair for each gentleman and may even assist each gentleman in positioning his chair once seated.  When entering a restaurant where there is no maître d’ or waiter to show patrons to their seats, the inviter-gentleman should lead the way to the table of choice, followed by the invitee-gentleman. Upon arriving at the table, the inviter should pull out a chair for the invitee, but he should not assist the invitee in positioning his chair once seated (as he would be obliged to when accompanying a lady). Once the invitee-gentleman is properly situated, the inviter should then pull his own chair and seat himself. When exiting the restaurant, the invitee should proceed first, followed by the inviter, the rationale being that there are no more preliminary courtesies (such identifying suitable tables and the pulling out of chairs) that the inviter must extend to the invitee.

-When ordering from the menu, each man is expected to indicate his own choices to the waiter or waitress.

-After sitting, if one man must take leave of the table for any reason, the remaining gentleman should not stand upon his friend’s departure from the table or upon his return. (Of course, when a gentleman is dating a lady, he must stand upon her departure from and return to the table.)

– While walking together on public streets, the inviter-gentleman should walk on the curbside, for he is in effect the host of the evening, and had the date taken place in his home, he would have been obligated to attend to the needs of his guest.

-The inviter should open doors for the invitee as well as permit him to enter and exit revolving doors and elevators first. If both men are sharing a car, the driver, regardless of his inviter or invitee status, should open the door to the vehicle for the passenger-date, closing it after the date is safely inside the body of the vehicle. Immediately after sitting, the passenger-date, before securing his seatbelt, should reach across the car and open the door of the driver.

-And the end of each date—no matter how long the relationship has endured or how frequent the dates—the invitee should thank the inviter for the outing, following up the next day with a handwritten thank-you note, a special electronic message, or telephone call.

When gentlemen date each other, each man must be especially mindful to be gentle and attentive to the other.

 

The History (and Etiquette) of Dating

For a 21st-century young man in the industrialized world, dating is as much a part of life as is indoor plumbing. And like indoor plumbing, perhaps unbeknownst to the modern-day gentleman, the concept of dating is a relatively recent invention.

By the late 17th and most of the 18th centuries, the Age of Reasoning (ca. 1670 – 1790), led primarily by French intellectuals and quickly embraced across all of Europe, championed the notion that reason, rather than dogma or blind compliance with tradition, should govern behavior and bring about reform.  Some of society’s most venerated customs were challenged, the tradition of arranged marriages being one. Thus, courting, the forefather of dating, was born.  Perhaps inspired by the medieval-era literature of 500 years earlier, which included themes of courtly love and chivalrous comportment, 18th-century courtship involved a young man who, having captured the fancy of a young lady of his social class, would be invited to her home for a social visit supervised by her parents and observed by her siblings.  If the interest proved mutual, additional invitations would be extended to the young man, culminating, hopefully, in his asking the young lady’s parents for her hand in marriage. Because courting occurred primarily in the home of the female, it was a “gyno-centric” ritual.

By the late 1700s, the Industrial Revolution was underway.  And nation by nation, led by the British, the agrarian, farm-dwelling world became increasingly urban as agro-laborers moved into the cities of Europe and America seeking more lucrative employment opportunities in mills and factories. To accommodate the great urban migration, modest housing was constructed. The typical tenement dweller, having left his family and bucolic environment to make his way in the world, lived in a simple flat that was not conducive to impressive entertaining. So the newfound city dwellers started inviting their romantic interests to public outings:   Concerts and picnics in public parks, dances, restaurants, and the theater, for example.  Thus, dating was born. Unlike courting, however, which was supervised and on the female’s turf, dating was unsupervised and controlled by men since they paid the expenses associated with public outings. By the first decades of the 1900s, with the coming of the automobile and the additional private mobility it afforded, dating became even more established as a way of life.  And by the 1920s, with the sexual revolution which resulted from unsupervised urban living, arranged marriages and courting had become things of the past in most of the industrialized world. Dating was now the custom by which people sought and found suitable mates. By the 1930s and ‘40s, with the rapidly increasing popularity of the cinema, partly because of its relatively modest entrance fees, dating expanded to accommodate people in their teenage years. And as young women increasingly left their homes in pursuit of university educations, dating became even more widespread. By the 1940s, most college women, without any help from their parents, would, upon arriving on campus, find themselves an “S.P.” (“special person”) while in pursuit of a B.A. and an M-r-s.  With the 1970s came the concept of the “blind date,” where two people, “site-unseen,” would be introduced by a mutual, unofficial, matchmaker-friend with the hopes that the newly introduced would take a liking to each other and venture off into their own dating relationship. And by the end of the first decade of the 21st century, “speed dating,”  in response to the ultra-efficient culture spawned by the age of technology, had become a part of the social construct:  Professional dating agencies, based on personality-profile data, would select 10 or 20 “personality matches” or “compatibles” for presentation to a “client” in one “sitting” during a rapid-fire, single-elimination-style series of five-minute-long “interview-dates” where the client could quickly and efficiently assess all the “potential partners” in less time than would normally be required for one traditional date, thereby saving considerable time and money while simultaneously eliminating the need for “morning-after” phone calls.

Dating—A Means to an End

While the goal of courting was decidedly marriage, dating has always been more open-ended. And almost from its inception, it was bifurcated into casual dating and serious dating. Casual dating assumes many forms, from the “hook-up,” which generally begins with a ritualized, prelude-type outing—whether to a movie, a local bar for a drink, or a dinner, for example—and ends with a tacit or outright request for sex, to dating where two people simply enjoy each other’s company in public. Serious dating, sometimes referred to as “going steady,” is more akin to courting. After compatibility has been established (oftentimes as a result of casual dating), serious daters spend time together with the idea that the relationship might evolve into marriage, remain as-is indefinitely, or exist for as long as both parties consider the relationship mutually satisfying.

But whether casual “hook-up” or a much more serious dating relationship, what is critical is that a gentleman—especially when dating a lady in her late 20s or in her 30s, for whom marriage may be a priority—be immediately open and truthful about his intentions and desires so as not to mislead or be misinterpreted.

 

Wayne James’ Manly Manners Receives Rave Reviews from Publishing Industry’s Foremost Critics!

Manly Manners:  Lifestyle & Modern Etiquette for the Young Man of the 21st Century by fashion designer and former U.S. Virgin Islands senator Wayne James is garnering stellar reviews from the publishing industry’s most discerning critics.  Besides offering comprehensive instruction on etiquette-book standards such as table manners, men’s hygiene and wardrobing, and thank-you letters, the 840-page treatise (volume one of a trilogy) also provides sound advice on subjects as varied and unexpected as how to delicately suggest an enema to a sex-partner prior to engaging in anal sex, what to expect when attending a Japanese funeral or a Persian wedding, and how to conduct oneself when granted an Audience with the pope or visiting a gay sauna (with or without rentboys). And the author’s effortlessly elegant, witty writing-style is generating critical acclaim: “Sophisticated, amusing and entertaining” (BlueInk Review); “Emily Post…would likely tremble in her petticoat at some of the subjects James takes on” (Foreword Clarion); and “…the author provides a polymathic description of the world for people who wish to experience it to the fullest in a gentlemanly fashion” (Kirkus Reviews) are just a few of the compliments that have been paid to date.

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“My aim was to write a book that speaks to the times,” James said.  “As such, topics once regarded as taboo or unsuitable for etiquette books are discussed openly and unapologetically.  How could I, in good conscience, write a book on 21st-century men’s manners and not give guidance on bullying, same-sex marriage, surviving police detention and incarceration, and international customs and faux pas?  The world has changed, and so must books on manners.”

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Author Wayne James on hilltop overlooking Trunk Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

The book’s foreword is written by Baron Peter von Troil of Finland and Sweden, whose maternal family line has been connected to the author’s family since the 1870s—for six generations.  And carefully placed throughout the book are illustrations, lists, and charts, all of which converge to make Manly Manners user-friendly and engaging even to young adult readers. An extensive index facilitates the navigation of the volume, and the book’s tone is decidedly egalitarian and inclusive.  “Any young man can cultivate himself into a gentleman,” James said. “Manly Manners provides a comprehensive roadmap.”

Published by the iUniverse Division of Penguin Random House and distributed by Ingram Books, Manly Manners:  Lifestyle & Modern Etiquette for the Young Man of the 21st Century (ISBN:   978-1-4917-9427-2) is available online at  www.Amazon.com , www.BarnesandNoble.com , and www.iUniverse.com and in bookstores worldwide in hardcover, paperback, and e-Book formats.

 

 

Manly Manners by Wayne James Receives a Laudatory Review from Kirkus

 

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Kirkus Review

…James’ encyclopedic knowledge of many topics, his ornately mannered prose, and even his winking tone of self-aggrandizement (each chapter has an epigraph attributed to James himself) are all effective contributions.

 

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Debut author James offers young men advice on how to comport themselves in this self-help guide.

For fashion designer and former U.S. Virgin Islands senator James, proper behavior and presentation are the signifiers of a true gentleman. This book, modeled after classic etiquette guides, such as William O. Stevens’s The Correct Thing (1938) and Amy Vanderbilt’s New Complete Book of Etiquette (1963), seeks to provide up-to-date instruction for contemporary men while also attempting to “chart new territory, in some instances addressing topics that would have been regarded as taboo by previous generations.” In chapter after detailed chapter, James offers comprehensive insight into the etiquette surrounding hygiene, sex, table manners, bathrooms, conversation, dating, entertaining, dressing, going out in public, traveling, and even planning a wedding. The author covers everything from the correct order for guests to enter a formal dining room, to how to fashion an improvised bidet, to what a gentleman should do if he finds himself sexually aroused during a therapeutic massage. With many accompanying diagrams and lists—including the Wayne James Continuum of Human Sexuality, the Seven Elements of Internal Beauty, and dossiers on various cultures around the globe—the author provides a polymathic description of the world for people who wish to experience it to the fullest in a gentlemanly fashion. That said, the book is more than 800 pages long, including the index, and characterized by an unrelenting tendency to catalog things. The chapter on planning a wedding, for example, could be a book by itself, with a 44-page section dedicated solely to properly addressing invitations. Even the acknowledgements at the beginning of the book take up 16 pages. (What’s more, this is only the first book in a planned trilogy.) Even so, James’ encyclopedic knowledge of many topics, his ornately mannered prose, and even his winking tone of self-aggrandizement (each chapter has an epigraph attributed to James himself) are all effective contributions. Etiquette is ultimately about appreciating the rich tapestry of human experience, and James enthusiastically delights in its minutiae.

A comprehensive and idiosyncratic guide to male etiquette in the modern world.

 

 

Wayne James’ Manly Manners Receives Coveted “Starred Review” from BlueInk Book Reviews

BlueInk Reviews

To reflect the changing mores of young men in 21st century society, Wayne James has written a refined, yet topically edgy etiquette book covering not just table settings and wardrobe essentials but once-taboo sexually charged topics.

James, a Virgin Islands native, notes that he was “long groomed in the intricacies of polite society” from an early age. He attended Georgetown law school and, soon after, became a prominent New York fashion designer of upscale women’s clothing. In 2008, he was elected senator of the Virgin Islands.
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Written in a sophisticated, yet conversational voice, much of the book (first of a trilogy) offers engaging information covering everything from table manners and wedding planning to building a gentleman’s wardrobe, with asides on the history of ties and skivvies. Other subjects range widely, from having an audience with the Pope to avoiding multicultural faux pas to proper etiquette when detained by the police and incarcerated. (It should be noted that James has personal experience, having been indicted in 2015 for allegedly embezzling funds and committing wire fraud while serving in the legislature. In the book’s Acknowledgements section he thanks his “fellow inmates” for their friendship.)

Most eye-opening, perhaps, is James’ willingness to address in frank detail sex-related subjects, such as proper hygiene for the genitals (gently wash the glans and inside of the foreskin with a mild soap and water) before inviting fellatio and considering a cleansing enema before engaging in anal sex. He also clarifies etiquette in gay bathhouse cubicles, where one can participate in anonymous, noncommittal sex. A cubicle’s door position is key, James explains. While a closed door means “do not disturb,” a wide-open door means  “Voyeurs welcome (to observe from the threshold.) And the more, the merrier!”

The book is highly informative and enhanced with detailed diagrams of place settings and the like. While the index offers quick reference, the table of contents is too spare, excluding the complexity of topics—but that’s a quibble.

The book’s explicitness regarding behind-closed-doors behaviors clearly marks this as a read most geared to open-minded young men. They will find a wealth of solid advice that is variously sophisticated, amusing and entertaining.

BlueInk Reviews

 

Wayne James’ Manly Manners Receives Five-Star Review from Foreword Clarion

Foreword Clarion Review–5 Stars

This exhaustive guide brings back the gentleman’s code for a generation in need of a refresher.

Manly Manners, by notable designer, lawyer, and bon vivant Wayne James, is a refreshing reminder that manners can be sexy and exciting, and are mandatory for a man who hopes to move up in the world. Instead of belaboring old points such as which fork to use or whether to hold the door, James focuses on what manners are for: not only to make things fair, but to make good things even better.

 

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Emily Post, considered the defining voice of modern etiquette, would likely tremble in her petticoat at some of the subjects James takes on. For example, “If a man is about to actively engage in anal sex—a subject that would never have been discussed in a book of etiquette of the last century—is it impolite for him to offer his sex-partner a disposable-bottle enema?” James also covers wedding planning, entertaining at home, job interview etiquette, and wardrobe essentials. At more than eight hundred pages, Manly Manners is exhaustive, but not exhausting to read.

“Where there is possibility to help, there is a responsibility to help,” James writes, which is a good motto for any aspiring gentleman. Goodness, honesty, and correct action are his watchwords. Manners, he says, are not a sign of subjugation or inferiority; rather, they convey respect when they are used, in any situation.

The writing is lively and fun, more reminiscent of Peter Post than Florence Hartley. James observes:

It is easy to be on good behavior at a baby shower, a funeral, or the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club; but when rushing to work on a blisteringly cold February morning, or when exhausted at the end of a rigorous day at the office, or when trying to get through a long, slow-moving queue at a security checkpoint at an international airport, many people tend to “relax” their normal standards of good manners and assume personalities somewhat like food-aggressive animals.

Manners as presented in this guide stand to ease difficult times for everyone. The book is designed for a generation of men who were not taught etiquette—a generation eager to read the latest how-to-get-laid guide while skipping over the basic nuts and bolts of human relationships. James knows that there’s more to relationships than just carnal knowledge, and he eloquently lays out the best paths to improving communication and conviviality.

Is it rude to suggest that Manly Manners be required reading? Wayne James brings back the gentleman’s code for the young man who knows that being a gentleman is more than simply wearing a suit.

CLAIRE FOSTER