His Take questions are answered by our panel of smart, opinionated, and funny dudes.
I am not particularly interested in guys my age because marriage is the last thing on their minds. Many are in school and will be for the next few years, and many live at home or with roommates. We aren’t a good match because we are just in different phases of our lives.
Over the past year, I have asked a few guys out ages 28-31. The first few dates went very smoothly until they asked my age. Each date said “22? I thought you were 25-26!,” then never called me again. I don’t think a 6-9 year age difference is a big deal. It’s not like my dates were old enough to be my father. But they all got hung up on my age and I can’t figure it out.
In a guy’s mind, how big of an age difference is too big? Am I doomed to be single until I turn 25-26 because no one will accept me at age 22? — Old Soul
Brian: When I was an extremely attractive 22-year-old, having already landed a hotshot job working for the coolest writer in America and his editor, I thought: “Nobody my age can handle my unmatchable coolness and bank account approaching four figures. Perhaps I should try the older ladies. They’re more likely to appreciate my worldview and the excellence-by-association that is working for a guy whose books line their shelves.” (This is obviously back in the day when people owned bookshelves that were being used for something other than plants and dusty framed photos).
The problem with shutting yourself off from the immature 22-year-olds around you is that you are an immature 22-year-old. There is no such thing as a 22-year-old who is ready for marriage and that includes you and Brian Fairbanks at age 22, who definitely thought dating older women would allow him to simply fast-forward (yes, these were the VCR days too) through those ugly, drunken, hookup-filled, waste-of-space early 20s and cut to settling down. But I never got married and I wasted quite a few years with older women whose issues I overlooked because they were older, wiser, and hot. What they were not? The one thing I needed: someone whom I could grow older with because they had already been there in a lot of ways and patted me on the head like a child.
It sucks to be 22 and want to get married and to know that most guys are enjoying a culture that tells them not to get married quickly and to sleep with as many girls as possible until they get tired and plump. They will find that they missed 95% of the great girls out there, including you, because girls like you won’t be single for long. Not even till they’re 26.
So, go date. Date ’em all. Date the 22s and the 33s and (okay, maybe not) the 44s. If your guy friends are out playing the averages, going on 1,000 dates to get laid, then you go on 1,000 dates… to find someone who doesn’t care that you’re 22 because they’re only 22. Or 33… or…
Drew: I am not a licensed anthropologist. However, I am confident in stating that, throughout history, the male species has demonstrated an unequivocal willingness to date 22-year-olds. Maybe it didn’t work out for you with those few guys, but, if my unlicensed research is correct, you’ll have plenty more opportunities. So just try to enjoy yourself along the way. Also, in an attempt to be taken more seriously by the anthropological community, I have translated* your letter into hieroglyphics. This is what it looks like:
Guy Friday: No, you’re not doomed to be single. But I also think you need to recognize that, just because YOU think you’re in the same “phase of your life” as these older guys, doesn’t mean they agree with you. I mean, I’m 30 now, and I’ve gone through several different “phases” since I graduated law school five years ago, and even more since I graduated undergrad nine years ago (and that’s the first time I wrote that out, so excuse me while I cry a little for my youth). And that’s OK; we all want what we want, and that’s life. But very few great life partners come before you have had a lot of unfruitful first dates, so keep the faith and remember that, while you may have been a professional for a while, you’re still only 22 and you have TONS of time ahead of you.
One other thing though: It’s not like I’m offended, but I want to challenge your notion that people still in school or living with roommates aren’t in the “same phase” as you. While I was in law school, I was actively trying cases and working, as well as having classes, and I lived with roommates because I was single and frugal. Had I been in a relationship with someone, I’d have lived with them, but why pay more rent for less space than I could get sharing a 2-bedroom/2-bath? You might consider at least cautiously dipping your toe into the “people your own age” dating pool, because you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find.
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