15 Jul 2024
Dating in the city: the Tigger-like qualities of the young
Community Dating Expat Dating Lifestyle

Dating in the city: the Tigger-like qualities of the young

Do young Swedish men harbour secret dreams of dating an older woman? Sassy Stockholm singleton Claire Duffy on age, the importance of experience and the days when one could still go dancing without a brassiere on.


I was flicking through a magazine, when something caught my eye. An article proclaimed that, when it comes to online dating, any woman over 30 must accept that she will be messaged primarily by the ‘young at heart’ brigade, insisting that all men of “prime datable age” (i.e. able to go for a romantic walk without a zimmer frame) are only interested in women of “prime datable age” (i.e. able to go dancing without a bra, without knocking people out).

Well that’s depressing. And not quite true, in Sweden at any rate. When I first signed up to the dating site, I hesitated a bit over the age range to specify. I knew that I’d be mostly interested in meeting men in their mid-late 30s or so, but then I wondered if I was cutting off potentially lovely 33 or 40 year olds, or 31 or 42 year olds. So, given that part of the object of the exercise was to broaden my dating horizons, I decided not to specify an age range and prepared for an onslaught of messages from men old enough to call my Dad “son”. And I did receive a few of those.

One guy was the spitting image of Björn Ulvaeus, and as a lifelong ABBA fan that was very nearly enough to make me date him.

Sadly the tone of his messages suggested that he wouldn’t take kindly to a request for him to show up wearing psychedelic bell bottoms, so I wished him well and sent him on his cyber way.

There were, however, many, many, more messages from what I can only describe as whipersnappers. Boys. Youths. Strikingly beautiful ones to boot, many of whom looked as though they should be posing for Greek statues rather than trawling the internet for women with wobbly bits and no patience for bars where the music is too loud to talk. It is true of course, that had I met any of these young bucks I may well have been confronted by a defensive balding dude with a paunch and missing teeth, but a) the pictures were sort of realistic despite the beauty, all dorky self conscious selfies; and b) the messages had an endearing Tigger-like quality, all overflowing compliments and exclamation marks that I’m not sure a defensive balding dude could accurately replicate.

I couldn’t help but question one or two of them. Upon a particularly sweet email which made me want to reach through the computer and pat his head, I messaged back to ascertain that he had noted my age. He replied that, yes! He had! He thought I was beautiful! And he liked women with maturity and experience! He hoped I would give him a chance. Sadly, as I couldn’t bring myself to go for a drink with someone who was being born while I had braces, I did not give him a chance. Another announced that he hoped I could teach him things in bed.

Goodness me. After a disturbing image of myself standing at a chalkboard in the buff handing out detentions, I did not give him a chance either.

While the risk of my date turning up on a skateboard isn’t for me, I did feel that it says something rather positive about the men (and boys) of Sweden. A quick straw poll of my guy friends here confirmed that most of them have dated a woman at least 5 years older at some point, citing emotional maturity, experience and security within herself as plus points.

I rather like living in a world where emotional maturity is at least as desirable a dating quality as the ability to go dancing without wearing bra, without knocking people out.


Claire Duffy


Claire is a writer and filmmaker originally from Scotland who moved to Stockholm in 2011 for no particular reason.  She is fond of snow, pickled things and very tall men, so it’s working out very well so far. 



  • Helen 15 Jul 2013

    Entertaining as ever Claire! Keep them coming.

  • Don 16 Jul 2013

    No man will turn down a chance of a root with a half decent looking woman when their options are low.

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