Ain’t No Thing but an Age Thing
Maybe age is only a number, but so are your height, weight, salary, and the number of drinks I’ve had. While none of those things determine why I date someone, it’d be lying to say they didn’t factor in at all. Especially that last one. Yet, recently, I’ve noticed people around me caring more about age than before. My friend Caroline is dating someone 12 years older than her, and I found myself wondering what age gap is “acceptable” to most people.
In general, age only comes up in cursory conversations, when people mention the year they graduated or when they talk about birthdays. However, when someone goes out of his way to avoid the age question, it makes me wonder if I should be thinking more about it.
I had a lukewarm few dates a few weeks back with this guy I figured to be in his early 30’s. He knew how old I was, because he had asked me early on, but I couldn’t say the same for him. One night, we were out with my friends when one of them casually asked him what year he graduated college, thinking they’d have something in common to talk about. Not only did he not answer the question, but he completely skirted around it by blatantly changing the subject with no explanation. Now that I think about it, he must have been closer to 40 … or more? I didn’t see him again after that. If he thought he was too old to be dating me, then who was I to argue?
Perhaps the reason women are drawn to older men is because they’re searching for a sense of validation. It’s the Freshman-Senior syndrome, just like in high school. When you’re a freshman, dating a senior, you have three more years of approval than everyone else in your year. Or at least that’s what you want to believe.
I wish I could tell my seventeen-year-old self now that dating a 30 year old did not make me more mature. I must have thought that by association, I was older than I really was, and consequently, more interesting. Because being older always makes you more interesting, by nature of all those extra years you’ve had to do interesting things.
I didn’t used to think there was a limit to the age gap for me. I like to believe that if I fall in love, then none of that stuff will matter. But now, I think it’s more important for two people to be comfortable with each other, and for whatever reason, age makes people very uncomfortable. So I think, at least for the time being, I’ll stick to dating 80’s babies.