You might think it’s weird that Dennis Quaid is engaged to a woman who’s almost half a century younger than he is—and by “you,” I mean I. It’s me. I am she who thinks.
Look, I know we’re all adults here—and by “we,” I mean 65-year-old Quaid and his 26-year-old fiancée, University of Texas PhD student Laura Savoie. Still, it weirds me out that Savoie is 39 years younger than the Parent Trap star, and that she’s younger than Quaid’s oldest son, Jack.
I feel conflicted about this, of course. I mean, I’m very happy for Savoie, just as I am for any young, hot genius who makes good on my long-term life goal of marrying a wealthy older man. But then I consider Quaid’s side of things, and I think about all the reasons why these guys can’t seem to make things work with women their own age, why they might be drawn to someone younger, hotter, less powerful, and perhaps less complicated to be with. I remember how much our culture values and devalues women based on our fertility and how disposable we become when we cannot bear a man children. And then, I come to the startling realization that people 39 years younger than me aren’t even alive yet, and I feel compelled to run towards the nearest knife block, jaw unhinged, ready and willing to devour its pointy contents.
Am I justified in being so judgmental? Not really, but I did manage to track down some very scientific data that makes me feel a whole lot better about being such a heinous bitch. A study published last year in Science Advances found that, on straight dating apps, men’s desirability peaks at age 50, while women’s peaks at 18. And according to some Dutch social psychologists who studied men’s and women’s perspectives on romantic age gaps back in 2001, women, like myself, tend to prefer having partners who are close to their own age, while men are open to fucking and marrying a wider age range of women, especially women younger than them, especially as the men themselves age.
This is particularly true of men over 40, the researchers said, which might explain why Quaid keeps marrying women in their late 20s or early 30s, no matter his age. In case you’re not familiar with the actor’s marital track record, Quaid:
- married his first wife, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School star P.J. Soles, when she was 28.
- married his second wife, rom-com legend Meg Ryan, when she was 30.
- married his third wife, real estate agent Kimberly Buffington, when she was 31.
- proposed to his probably fourth wife, PhD student Laura Savoie, when she was 26.
He keeps getting older, but they stay the same age? Hmmmm! Fascinating! Hand me my chewing knife!
Less scientifically, we might consider the classic “half my age, plus seven” rule. The rule is pretty self-explanatory: You can’t date someone younger than half your age, plus seven. Half of Quaid’s age is 32 and a half, plus seven, is about 40. Savoie is nowhere near 40 years old—she’s not even half of 40 plus seven! Therefore, it’s weird. Even without this rule, it’s still weird!!
- Men should date women who are around their age.
- If a man is going on a date with a woman who is younger than his son, he should not.
- If a man is, in general, he should not.
Hope that clears this up.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.