While chatting with a friend back on the East Coast today, we got onto the topic of age. The old adage “age is nothing but a number” may ring true in some situations, but in dating? Age is actually a lot more than a number. At least in my experience.
I am 23 years old. I have been 23 years old since December. And I already feel so much older than 21 and 22-year-olds. So much so, that I told Ok Cupid and Tinder not to pair me with anyone younger than 23. Here’s why:
21-year-olds are an entirely different breed than my mature and elegant 23-year-old self. They just started drinking legally. They are probably (hopefully) still in school. If they’re not in school, I hope they get to go at some point. And if they already graduated, they’re way too smart for me anyway. They should look toward MILFS or professors to fulfill their romantic urges. But I digress. The majority of 21-year-old daters are in their junior or senior year of college. I graduated from college almost a full year ago. We are in two totally different worlds. Their world consists of puking at frat parties. My world consists of resisting the urge to puke on hipster douchebags at neighborhood bars. We’re just too different.
22-year-olds are not so different from their 21-year-old friends. They have been drinking legally for a year now but still get more reckless than I can handle in my old age. I know this for a fact because I was one of those 22-year-olds, puking tequila on my friend’s jacket and spitting brownie bites on bouncers. It wasn’t a good time. No one wanted to date me then, and I certainly don’t want to date the male version of that mess now.
I’ve come to realize that I can only be with someone who is in his post-college life. I think that’s fair, as I’ve moved beyond my own college life and feel far too old to go back. Attending my school’s homecoming was proof.
So I can truthfully, positively say that my minimum age requirement is 23. But what about the maximum? This is a whole different issue.
The oldest guy I’ve ever had any romantic anything with was 32 (if you count him shoving his tongue down my throat as romantic). He was also Australian and kind of a stud, so I let the age gap go. And then he was an asshole, so it ended after just one day. Good riddance. If a guy is 32 years old and is down to hook up with a 22-year-old, something may be off. I should have realized that at the time. But he was Australian! He had an accent! But when I told him his flirtation was getting to be too much, he passive-aggressively unfriended me on Facebook. Who’s the immature one now? He was an older guy parading as a baby douche.
So after this weird experience, I decided anyone over 30 is definitely too old for me. 30-year-olds get married. They have married friends. They own houses. They pay for dinners when they go out with their parents (sometimes). I am just not on that level right now. When I find out someone my age is getting engaged, all I care about is the size of the cake. I am not nearly old enough to see the value in a lifelong partnership. The party is all that interests me. Weddings rock. But matrimony itself? Pass (for now).
The most recent date I went on was with a guy named Rob. He’s a Lyft driver and those dudes are usually cool, so I decided to answer his Ok Cupid message. There we were, a week later, getting coffee in West Hollywood. Well, I got coffee. He got a green tea that he didn’t like and then he got a peanut butter and jelly flavored smoothie. He made me try it. If I develop herpes, now you all know why. We got to talking and it came up that he was 27. When I told him I graduated from college in May 2013, he could not get over how young I was. Considering a film executive asked me if I had kids and a husband during a recent job interview, I suppose I come off as pretty mature. So the news of my age really seemed to creep this guy out. Actually, if we’re being truthful, his 27 years creeped me out too, mainly because he looked 15. We talked about his drug use at Burning Man and then left. We never spoke again. I’m fine with that.
These experiences have made me realize that ages 23-26 seem just right to me. I think this has something to do with 27 being my “scary age,” as many people become settled in their careers and love lives at that point. I just don’t think I can handle someone talking about their friends’ weddings with me on the regular. I also live in a rented apartment and am still on my parent’s health insurance. I am not really an adult, so I absolutely cannot date one.
Age is nothing but a number in some cases, but in dating it’s a life landmark. It’s great that some people don’t care about their partner’s age, but I just can’t help myself. I mind the age gap. If anything, I’m glad I realize this now because I can tinker with my online dating preferences to make sure real adults or babies in their late twenties don’t come after me. After all, they probably don’t want to waste their time with someone who only cares about wedding cake and not wedding bliss.