I’m an ageist.
There, I said it. I didn’t know I was an ageist until last week because, outside of professional sports, I had never previously discriminated against the elderly.
But now I am.
And the real beauty is that almost EVERYONE qualifies, so basically, depending on the situation, I now potentially discriminate against every single person on Earth. Except babies. They’re cool.
One of my oldest friends (not in an age sense; in a friendship-length sense) is female. We talk about everything.
And I just found out recently that one of her best friends who is our age (35-ish) is married to a guy who is 50-plus.
And my gut reaction was: “That’s gross.”
Then she told me about how all her girlfriends will get together and sleep over at their house, where this wealthy older man “spoils” all these attractive women, 15 or more years younger than him.
“He’s yummy,” she said, just before explaining that he goes to bed before 9 p.m. every night, and spends all his mornings reading the paper in bathrobes that cut off mid-thigh.
My natural, instinctive reaction was revulsion. I don’t know that I can adequately explain or defend it. It’s simply how I feel.
When this wife was born, the husband was a sophomore in high school.
When the husband graduated college, the wife was in first grade.
Chew on that, outraged people who might feel like debating this.
It’s totally gross. Like this, but less awesome:
The Dating Math (Pre-Marriage Edition)
In school, your “dating” options are limited.
In grade school, you’re mostly stuck with boys and girls in your class and a few randoms you meet through other channels.
In high school, the girls’ options open up to all four grades (and later, college guys), while the boys generally are limited to just one grade up and back.
While our college years represent the closest thing to “real life” any of us experience throughout our schooling, the age thing tends to play about the same as in high school, though women tend to have more upward mobility—age-wise—than guys.
For example, it’s not unheard of for a 19-year-old sophomore girl to date a young professional man who is 23 or 24 (and I’d even recommend it for those looking for stability—more on that in a minute), but you almost never see a 19- or 20-year-old guy with a woman much older than he is.
In the Department of Overgeneralizations, you’ll discover a few laws of human nature (that I’m totally making up on the fly because I believe them to be generally true and the furthest thing from actual law.)
Boys and young men are constantly hoping to, or actively trying to, have sex with the girls in their life to whom they’re attracted. Which is often several.
Girls and young women are constantly hoping to find someone who will fall in love with and marry them, frequently misinterpreting sexual interest as potential love interest and ultimately spawning the “Boys are Mean™” and “Men are Pigs™” movements.
I don’t believe there to be many males who spot a female from across the room and say: “Ooooooohhhhh! I want to marry THAT one!”
It tends to be more like: “Oooooooohhhhhh! I want to nail that one!” and so the male tries to court the female hoping to get laid. And what sometimes happens in that courting process is that the male will decide the pain of losing that female is greater than the “benefit” of his independence and will eventually choose her to settle down with.
So you end up with a lot of girls who are obsessed with Disney princess movies and romantic comedies marrying men who know jack shit about what real love is. They just know they’ve agreed to stop having sex with other women and to give up most of the weekend keg parties and other bro-hobbies for the rest of their lives. Five to 10 years later, half of them divorce.
It’s a sad story.
Now, please allow me to slightly contradict myself.
The Older Guy Contradiction
So. Ladies. New rule. Unless you’re absolutely sure you have an exception to the rule (and there are always those, too), then you should never be dating anyone who isn’t about five years older than you if you’re between the ages of 20-30, because almost every under-30 male you know is still similar to a child from an emotional-maturity standpoint.
From about third grade on, girls have a five-year emotional maturity advantage over boys.
Many girls are so eager to “fall in love” and get married in their early 20s, so they accidentally con young men who don’t know how unprepared they are into agreeing to marriage.
The girl thinks she’s getting a husband just like her father or the men (who aren’t real) she sees on TV.
The guy thinks he’s signing up for a permanent girlfriend like he currently has. He thinks: “Life’s pretty good! We have fun with our friends and we hang out all the time, and the sex is great! Sure, I can do this forever!”
Neither side is being disingenuous. It’s just that no one teaches us how completely insane and outside reality that type of thinking is, and I’m not sure we would have listened even if they’d tried.
If you’re a 25-year-old female, you need a 30-year-old male to even have a chance to be on the same emotional-maturity level as you. It’s a gap that pretty much closes after age 30. Many guys figure out in their early to mid-30s (whether married or single), that the lifestyle we lived in our youth doesn’t bring sustainable happiness, and that “freedom” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I wish girls weren’t in such a hurry to get married. I wish young men were smart enough to communicate why it’s too soon. They simply don’t know they’re still apes, because we all lie to ourselves.
The Dating Math (Post-Divorce Edition)
I was online dating for a short time right after my wife left because I’m a stupid moron.
You can filter out online-dating profiles based on a variety of criteria. For example, every single woman with no children filters out guys my size (5’9”) and/or guys with children (I have a young son).
Whatever. People are allowed to date whoever they want. The moral of that story is simply that online dating is bullshit. Write that down.
I’m at a funny age, even though I suspect there are literally millions of people just like me out there (thirtysomethings with kids who don’t like being single very much). We just have a hard time finding one another, so we online date and then wish we could set ourselves on fire afterward.
The dating math for guys my age and with circumstances similar to mine is sort of interesting.
Under the right circumstances, I could meet a 28-year-old who has never married and wants to have children. Whoa. Or I could meet someone with a couple kids who has two or three years on me.
If I decided I wanted more children, something would have to happen pretty damn fast for it to be mathematically feasible, considering I’m not dating anyone, nor do I even really know any single people.
I remember being 21 and thinking that 21 year olds would ALWAYS be attractive.
And I guess, physically, maybe they always will be.
But years have a way of morphing you on the inside. And now it just sounds wrong and unpleasant.
There isn’t a 21-year-old on the planet I can see myself wanting to talk to for any great length of time (and that’s just 14 years’ difference!), and even if there was, there aren’t any 21-year-olds trying to get with Graying, Thirtysomething Guy with Kid™. Just not happening.
Which is totally fine. I’m merely walking through the mental exercise of dating someone about 15 years younger than me.
I feel like we all need to agree to keep it within a 10-year window throughout our adult dating years. Seriously.
Can we agree on that? I feel certain we can’t.
I’m sorry, ladies. I don’t care that he buys you Porsches and unlimited spa days. At some point, this is just going to get awkward. I can’t quite put my finger on when, but I’m pretty sure I’ll know it when I see it.