Posts Tagged ‘age’

Why age disparity in relationships matter

Monday, February 27th, 2017 | Religion & Politics

On average, men choose to marry women slightly younger than they are. But for would-be dads, this can have a profound impact on family life.

Most people enter relationships with people of a similar age. In western culture this is normal, and indeed doing anything other than this is considered abnormal. However, in different cultures, and at different times, this as not always been the case.

If we look at the 2013 US survey data, we find that a third of heterosexual married couples are within one year of each other. It is not an equal curve on each side though. Women are far more likely to marry older men. In 20% of marriages the man is 2–3 years old, and in 13% 4–5 years older. Compare this to 7% and 3% for women being older.

This makes sense. OK Cupid data, as documented in the book Dataclysm shows that men prefer younger women, and up until the age of 30, women prepare a slightly older man. As many relationships are formed before the age of 30, the older man younger woman setup is likely to have the broader appeal to both parties.

Why is it important, though?

I think it is important because it contributes to the imbalance of women staying at home to look after the children while men continue working. For would-be stay-at-home dads and passionate career women, this is not a desirable situation.

People who are further along in their career earn more money. Nothing controversial there. This means that if you enter into a relationship with someone a few years older than you, on average, they are going to earn more money than you.

When it comes to starting a family, it would be nice to think that childcare could simply be divided as you see fit. However, this is simply not the reality that most of us live in. Many of our decisions are driven by economic factors. That is to say, there are bills to pay and we need to earn enough money to pay them.

Therefore, when it comes to starting a family, many people are faced with the decision of giving up the father’s wage or giving up the mother’s. Unfortunately, for many would-be full-time dads, giving up their own higher wage is not financially viable for the family.

Exactly what can be done about this, I am not sure. You could say that if you want to be a stay-at-home-dad you should marry someone older, or in a more lucrative career than you. However, as most of us know, love does not work that way.

Getting old

Friday, October 26th, 2012 | Life

Today marks the first anniversary of my 25th birthday. Thanks to the spread bet I placed, that means £100 in my pocket, and an additional £100 for each year after that I survive.

Car insurance for young drivers

Saturday, May 26th, 2012 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

Recently, there has been news coverage regarding the cost of car insurance for young drivers.

Everyone is asking how we can bring down the price for young drivers. Nobody seems to be asking whether the price is legitimately high because that is just how much it costs, but lets ignore that obvious question and assume that the prohibitive costs for young drivers are an issue that needs to be addressed.

If so, one easy way to bring down the cost for young drivers would be to ban insurance companies from discriminating based on age.

What way, everyone would pay the same regardless of how old they were. Of course, insurance companies would still be free to charge people higher premiums based on their driving history – if you’ve had an accident you pay more, if you have no claims you pay less. But it stops the companies charging people more just because of their age alone.

You can argue that it makes sense to make young drivers pay more because they are more likely to have an accident, but this is not a fair system. Why? Because it is entirely unfair to the young drivers who do drive safely. Why should they pay more for other people’s reckless behaviour?

This is almost the same situation as it was with insurance companies discriminating based on gender, and this has now been recognised by the EU and will be illegal from the end of this year. You can’t charge someone more for car insurance because of an arbitrary characteristic, such as gender or race.

People get angry when they think about young drivers costing them more money on their insurance premiums. But this isn’t the case! Young drivers don’t cost you any more money. Only reckless drivers do. A young driver who never crashes and doesn’t claim on their insurance doesn’t cause your premiums to go up. Whereas a 50 year old who does crash, does cause your premium to go up. To blanket blame an entire demographic because of the actions of a minority is both ludicrous and morally wrong.

The one argument I think might carry some weight is the argument that it is fair to charge young drivers more because we’re all young at one point and then we all get old, so everyone gets the same fair deal in the end. However, I’m not sold on this being a better solution than banning age discrimination altogether, in which everyone gets the same fair deal, all the time.

Age of consent

Friday, December 23rd, 2011 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

Recently, I wrote about a theory that had been put to me, suggesting that we should align the age of sexual consent and the age of voting. I founded it difficult to come up with arguments to refute it.

But there is a problem. If you just put the age of sexual consent up to 18, kids will probably just have sex anyway. It’s not like people really pay that much attention to the law as it is. Indeed, some people make the argument that the age of sexual consent should be lowered.

Of course, that isn’t necessarily an issue. Maybe you just lower the age of voting to 14 as well, but then we would probably all agree that that would be pretty crazy. Still, once you agree that people can do more harm with sexual activity than they can with voting, how can you argue that the age of consent should be lower than the age of voting?

So, what are we do to then? Do we just live with the contradiction that it doesn’t make sense to have a higher age of voting than sexual consent, accept it doesn’t make sense and settle with a logically inconsistent but ultimately pragmatic approach? Maybe that in itself is logical justification? I’ll throw it open to the floor…

You have to believe me, I am over 18

Thursday, December 15th, 2011 | Tech

No, this isn’t another ridiculous situation at Sainsbury’s, I’m talking about the “please confirm you are ana adult” boxes that are constantly popping up on my iPhone, 4OD and BBC iPlayer.

I understand that such apps probably need to confirm that I am over 18 for legal reasons. The problem is that they ask me every time. I’m sure that my date of birth is somewhere in my profile, and even if it wasn’t, the app could prompt me to enter it once and then have done with it.

But it doesn’t, my 4OD app continues to prompt me to confirm I am old enough every time I open it.

Now, even if you accept the idea that a child could steal my iPad and decide the first thing they want to do is watch some video that isn’t appropriate for them on 4OD and hence they need to confirm it every single time, why can they broadcast such shows on TV without requiring such a mechanism.

The answer is the Watershed. After 9pm at night you can broadcast much more filth on TV. But if you’re going to argue down that line, given my device knows what time it is, why can the app not stop prompting me between 9pm and 5:30am?

The age of maturity

Saturday, November 26th, 2011 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

Ben brought up an interesting topic in this month’s Humanist Community of Leeds meeting. The topic was the discrepancy between the age of sexual consent and the age at which you can vote.

I’ve heard the argument before, and similar ones that I don’t buy in to – for example, you can pay tax at 16 but you can’t vote until you’re 18, therefore it could be suggested it is unfair that you pay tax to a government you can’t vote for.

I don’t find this a credible argument because you don’t necessarily pay tax as a way of gaining a vote in democracy. You’re vote in democracy is a guaranteed right, even if you’re not paying any tax at all – it simply isn’t available until you’re ready to make an informed decision. The reason you pay tax is primarily to pay for public services such as hospitals and schools, which you almost certainly have been making use of at the age of 16.

The argument for having a different age for sexual consent and voting is a less clear cut one though. Indeed, Ben made a very powerful argument that I think may be winning me over.

The reason we don’t let people vote until they are 18 is because we’re worried they would vote for the wrong political party – a lot of them might vote for the Monster Raving Looney Party, or the BNP, or the Greens, or one of the many other fringe parties and being the pretentious grown up real adults we are, we don’t approve of such free spiritedness.

But it’s very hard to make the case that they can do more damage with a vote, than they can do by having sexual relations.

Actually, having a vote probably won’t make any difference. Voter turn out is low in young people anyway, let along even younger people and at the end of the day, it’s only one vote and there are lots more people aged 18 or over than there are aged 16 or 17.

Sex however, can be quite damaging. Initially it could appear this is primarily damaging to themselves which is perhaps why we allow it (whereas voting for the wrong political party would be damaging to society and is therefore not allowed), but of course sexual relations can be incredibly damaging to society.

Unwanted children are a huge problem because they don’t get properly parented and therefore become out of control kids and eventually grow up to become criminals, breaking into your house and filling up those prisons that your tax money pays for. Not to mention the possibility of ending up in care, which our tax money also pays for.

In fact, one of the biggest reductions in crime has come from legalising abortion[1], simply because most of the unwanted pregnancies that would have previously been born and grown up to become criminals are now getting aborted. Unwanted pregnancies cause problems, as do STIs which are also prevalent with young people who engage in regular exual intercourse with multiple partners.

Therefore, giving how damaging it is in society, it is very difficult to justify having a higher age for voting than you do for sexual consent.

Middle aged

Friday, November 4th, 2011 | Life

Last week, I reached middle age.

Most people wouldn’t consider themselves middle aged, but when you lead the kind of lifestyle I do, 50 seems a good innings to reach. That said, most people consider middle aged to be above what it is anyway – average life expectancy is 78, that means middle age is 39. So if you’ve hit 40, you need to stop kidding yourself 😉 .

I spent most of my birthday lounging around before finally getting up at 2pm, having done some extensive research as to whether UK Border Force is as good as Nothing To Declare: Australia’s Front Line. Turns out, it isn’t even close.

I would like to thank everyone for their birthday wishes, cards and presents, it’s all very much appreciated!

Sainsbury’s, guardians of all that is good

Saturday, May 14th, 2011 | Thoughts

A few weeks ago I went into Sainsbury’s, accompanied by my girlfriend Elina, who was there to keep me company as I did some personal shopping. We were throwing a soirée that evening, so included in my long list of food was a bottle of champagne.

I got to the checkout and scanned everything through on the self service checkout. I had to call an attendant over because, as usual, the system went a bit crazy and my bags needed “verifying.” While he was over there I asked him to approve my alcohol purchase.

I’m 24 so on the boarder line of whether you really need to ID me even on a Check 25 policy, but he decided to, to which I quickly produced my driving license clearly showing I was no less than six years past the date in which I was legally allowed to buy alcohol.

That would have all been fine, but Elina, who was hovering behind me, not actually helping me in any way with my personal shopping, was then asked to produce ID. She didn’t have any. As such, I was declined the sale of the alcohol.

Now, I don’t mind carrying round ID, even though for me to be under age you would have to believe that I looked seven years younger than I actually am. While that’s quite a nice complement, there is no way any rational human being would look at me when playing guess the age, and think “that man is probably about 17.” Not least of all because people who are under 18 and are trying to get hold of some alcohol to go drink in a park somewhere don’t buy champagne. But I’ll overlook this, let’s pretend it’s a sensible policy.

When it really does get mental, is when everyone who is with me has to carry ID as well. As it happens, Elina is 23, but what if she wasn’t? What if she was 17? Does that mean that I shouldn’t be allowed to by alcohol with my personal shopping?

I put this to Sainsbury’s customer service team. They gave me a prompt but fairly nondescript reply, going through their policy in vague detail stating that…

If a group of customers go through the checkouts together, all may be asked to provide identification. If any member of the group is unable to provide ID when requested, we will be unable to complete the sale.

…and ending with…

Sometimes it can come across as over-zealous but it’s really important that colleagues don’t risk age-restricted products being used by anyone underage.

This argument, simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny however. Requiring everyone who goes through the checkout, even if it is just one person actually buying anything, to produce ID in no way limits the sale of alcohol to people underage because as only the person buying something is actually required, everyone else can just wait outside.

I could easily come along with some underage, make them wait outside, go in and buy nothing by alcohol for them, come outside and give it to them and Sainsbury’s would have effectively just sold alcohol to someone who is underage, according to their thinking.

Yet, when I come through making a purchase for myself, clearly as part of my weekly food shop, clearly not for underage drinkers to get drunk because it wasn’t White Lightning or Sainsbury’s Basics Table Wine, I am unable to complete my purchase because, for perfectly understandable reasons, Elina wasn’t carrying an ID (or money, or anything), because she wasn’t buying anything, she was just keeping me company.

In such situations I could of course just ask her to wait outside while I go in and do my shopping. This is probably a valid option if you don’t consider the idea of her coming to keep me company and then spending most of the time waiting outside the store, beyond ridiculous.

But of course this isn’t always an option – take for example a mother who is doing her weekly shop and wants to buy some alcohol. Her kids genuinely are under 18 and she can’t just leave them outside on the street while she completes her shop. To me, this seems like discrimination as their policy is clearly victimising a specific group here.

I asked them what their policy was for such situations in my original email, to which they ignored it, so I pressed them for an answer in my response. This is what they said…

We have to leave the judgement to ask for ID up to our colleagues, as it is them who can be prosecuted and fined for selling alcohol to underage customers. It’s important to note it’s also an offense to sell alcohol in the knowledge it will be passed on to someone underage, which is why we look for ID from the whole party.

If you were shopping with your daughter we would hope that our colleagues would use their judgement, but if they were unsure they would err on the side of caution and ask for ID.

So their policy seems to be that they don’t have a policy, but train their staff to ID people as often as possible, even at the risk at denying perfectly legitimate purchases or discriminating against people with children.

Fair enough (well, not really), that is their policy, but I disagree with it because I think it because I don’t believe that it actually prevents the sale of alcohol to people who intend to give it to underage people but I do believe it unfairly targets legitimate customers and even implies criminal behaviour when they suggest I could be buying alcohol for someone who is underage.

So I asked for the contact details of who I could write to, to express my concerns about the policy. My request was declined.

I’d like to be able to provide you with the contact details you’ve requested, unfortunately, this isn’t possible. The Think 25 policy wasn’t a policy created by one person or a group of people, it’s an initiative that Sainsbury’s as a whole has created and it’s something we all stand by.

As mentioned, this policy is supported by the British government and as such, we feel confident using this system.

So far, I’m not impressed. Supermarkets have a reasonable duty of care, and this seems way past the line of reasonability to me.

Happiness, coming and going

Monday, September 1st, 2008 | Friends, Thoughts

I really enjoyed Saturday night. Sat in a car park in Castleford eating some kind of chicken wrap.

But as myself and Becky talked the night away we arrived on the scary fact that we are approaching 22. Making our next landmark birthdays 30! I’m almost 30! That’s so old, so amazingly old. I mean, you’re actually past it by then, on the downward slope, your life effectively over. How scary is that?