When Camaraderie is Possible Between Man and Woman - The Charm of the Middle-aged Man - A Friend With Whom One Can Think Aloud - The Limitations of Adonis - The Instinct of a
Woman for Her Master
""There is nothing more delightful than the beautiful camaraderie which can exist between the middle-aged man and a woman. Here you find none of the shilly-shallying of youth, but the well-balanced attraction of mind for mind, where true sympathy and understanding often blossom into devotion before either the one or the other has fully realised the true significance of the pleasant path upon which they have drifted.
At such times the uninitiated express surprise. " I always thought she admired Mr. Blank ! " they exclaim, mentioning one of the younger and apparently more attractive men of the community. The wise shake their heads, "We thought so until ' he' came along," mentioning the name of the older man ; "but how fascinating he is ! "
The charm of the middle-aged man is unquestionable. When once a woman has come under the influence of such a personality, she may be inclined to consider the world well lost for love." The adage, "An old man's darling," hardly seems to apply to the case ; she has not so much the desire to be petted as to acknowledge herself the disciple of a natural leader. It is the man himself, not his physical attractions or what he is or what he has, but the tout ensemble which has fascinated the woman.
The man of mature years seems better able to understand the complexities of a woman's nature, and thus he wins her trust. As a friend, he is more unselfish, and the greater the strength of his personality the more he becomes her guide, philosopher, and friend. As a lover, the older man seems thoroughly to understand her little feminine shortcomings, and with the delicate tenderness which the strong man will invariably show to the weaker and more highly strung nature, he will admire her perhaps all the more for her faults as he recognises the humanity of them.
A woman instinctively feels more at her ease with the man of mature years, and relies upon his judgment almost before she has appreciated fully the fascination of his character and exceptional powers. She realises that here is a man with whom she may be perfectly natural, and with Emerson she may say of this man: "Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal that I may even drop off those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought." Would any woman care to "think aloud " before the younger man ?
So, in literature as in life, we often find the spell of the older man more potent. The younger man is quite satisfied with the purely material, the older man has realised the utter worthlessness of the material without that elusive element in nature which we call the spiritual, the enduring link of mind and spirit.
It is the man who claims a woman as his mental mate who possesses her true devotion, and the older man is often able to do this because he has not endeavoured to win it. His experience of life makes him interesting, his sorrows and struggles have made him more sympathetic. This adds to his fascination, for it touches a part of a woman's nature hitherto lain dormant. Adonis, with the fair hair and debonair manner, has only appealed to her through his physical charms, and not to the dominant lasting force behind - that mystic something which we call the mental.
It would be folly to say that a woman cannot love Adonis, for there is a spontaneous unity of souls that are not mated in one sense, yet may be partially satisfied with what the world calls love. She may remain satisfied, if she does not develop. A woman may be quite pleased with Adonis as long as she requires nothing more than a good partner for the latest Viennese waltz. Let us hope that if her development is to come, it arrives in time to send Adonis packing.
The man of mature years has learnt that although a pretty face has its charms, to be happy he must possess the soul as well. When a woman loves him, he, as a rule, has appealed to the best in her. There is an understanding with " heart and brain," and sympathy is the unbreakable bond which links them. The grey hair may become white, the alert, kind eyes dim, but the woman who is under that spell will treasure every year, every moment she has spent with him.
A true woman rejoices in the knowledge that she possesses " a master," and the older man often impresses her with the fact that he is truly the man to whom she may look up as such. The young man only succeeds, as a rule, in touching the personal vanity of the woman. The older man does more. He has sought a comrade, a true " pal " in every sense of the word, and she has responded - almost unconsciously. It is not the passionate response of hot, impulsive youth, but rather the mature judgment of the highest part of her nature.