Sunday, August 26, 2007

Age Ain't Nuthin' But A Number?

Well, no...I don't believe that. However, I'm rethinking my standards regarding dating and age. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think dating older women would be best for someone like me. I don't like games, relate to people my age or act like most people my age. People my age have, pretty much, always irritated me.

I read an article last week, I think it was, that basically said that the 20s are the new teens. People in their 20s are delaying relationships and careers, and are engaging in more reckless behavior than before. Translation: the trend of taking longer and longer to mature continues. After all, there was a time when teenagers would get married and have families...and that was expected of them.

Now, I'm not always the most mature cat in the cradle. But one of the bonding points between my most arrogant friend and I--and I'm arrogant, as well--is feeling superior to people our age because we don't act or think like them. We even had shirts printed that say so. I like young people for their sense of fun, but those young people nowadays tend to be in elementary school. Kids think the simplest things are fun whereas teens and 20-somethings seem to think the only ways to have fun are alcohol and sex--both things that can be pretty, even. And, really, how wrong can it be to feel superior to some of these people when they include idiots like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie? No, non-celebrity 20-somethings might not be quite that bad, but it's not really from lack of trying, I don't think.

I have never related to people my age. I was the youngest in my family, and my closest sibling was approximately 6 years older than I was. Plus, I had one of those "popular" families, i.e. everyone in my family was popular in school, and my parents were known and respected where I grew up. I wasn't like this--I was picked on, at least prior to high school. It set the stage for how I feel about my peers today, especially women, but I also know that I was picked on because I wasn't like other kids, ever. So, because my sisters were popular and because they always had friends around, I spent more time with these older people than I did with kids my age. In high school, I could have real conversations with teachers about things they never should have been talking to me about. And now my mother and I talk about things that most parents don't talk to their kids about. In fact, whenever she needs advice she usually asks me. And this is someone who is over 30 years older than I am.

So, I don't know why I never thought about this before. I have always been deadset against dating older people. This is despite the facts that they have always been the ones I've had the easiest time talking to and the ones I've always liked talking to the most. And while I'm still not all that keen on the idea of dating an older man...I'm definitely starting to change my mind about older women. And the more I talk to older people, the more irritated I become when I have conversations with people in my age range, such as my naive friend Nikki. There's just a difference in the substance. I get so tired of talking to Nikki about guys, jobs, people at school and hating law school--or talking about school, period. There's life out there.

I think other kinds of differences exist when you start something with someone who is significantly older or younger, and that has always been the issue I was stuck on. And I still can see that these two people are almost bound to be in very different places in life. I still think that matters. But what also matters is just like with any other relationship--the fit between you and the individual, the comfort, the common interests and the compatibility. And I now see that those things can exist between an older person and a younger person. It just depends on the two. Certainly not every younger person could date someone older and vice versa. I used to be one of those people who would look at couples with age differences and say "What do they have to talk about?" How could I ever have done that when all my life I've had plenty to talk to older people about?

In all honesty, it's an insult to the younger person, because we tend to think younger people can't carry on a conversation of any substance or importance. And then we insult the older person by wondering why a younger person would value aging over youth. Why want someone who is 40 when you can have someone who is 25?

But here's what my friend Angel has taught me without even knowing it:

An older woman has a totally different appeal than a younger woman. Both have something to offer--they are just different things. An older woman can be hot--and I'm not just talking about physically. And part of her appeal can be that she is older. This is not always the case, but there is just something classy and sophisticated about some older women. Younger women generally just can't give you that. They don't want to play the games that younger women tend to. They are established in their careers, and they know who they are. They've accomplished/done cool, impressive things. They're not going to just talk to you about hair, makeup, outfits and other shallow things. They make you behave better because you're worried that they might be a bit out of your league.

So, there's more of a "wow" factor there, and it's sexy. If you can get a woman with all that, plus you two feel comfortable with each other, have good conversations, are able to treat each other as if you're on the same level, you have things in common and where you both are in life lends itself to a relationship with each other...well, at least the younger person could be getting a much better deal than with dating someone their age.

Two things for me that are still problematic, though: my family and the uncertainty surrounding my career. I would feel a lot better dating someone older if they had their career established and I had mine established, as well. Otherwise, I really would feel she was out of my league, and I definitely would feel that much younger in comparison, that much more immature and unequal. I guess maybe I understand men now who don't like making less money than the women they date? The family thing...ugh, I can hear it now. I don't know what would go worse: coming out, or bringing someone older home. The one thing I really hate that my family does to me is treats me like I'm stupid sometimes, and this would so be one of those times. The older woman would be "taking advantage of" me, as if I didn't have the brain cells to resist someone because they are older. Furthermore, I wouldn't want her to be thought of in that kind of way, either.

Thinking about my family is enough to make me happy that Angel is not a viable romantic option for me, because I would not want to subject someone like her to dealing with my family. Angel is one of the best people I've ever met, and I really can't stand the thought of anyone thinking or saying anything bad about her. And no matter what Angel has done and will do for me, my family would forget it all in a second if I brought her home. They are critical and suspicious people, and there are too many surface differences between us...such as age and race...and then there'd be the sexuality issue, too. Yet, it's kind of funny that whenever I meet someone that I'm constantly like "ME TOO!" with, it's always a non-black person--usually white--and often an older person. I've started thinking maybe I should ask Angel what are the white surnames in her family to see if we could be related!

Furthermore, I've always felt that I should have been born around the year Angel was, long before I met her. I think I should have grown up in the 80s. I love that decade, particularly musically. I should have been able to fully experience that time, rather than have been in elementary school. When I think of the fact that Angel was a teenager in the 80s, that's just another "wow" factor, like, "Oh, man! I wish I could have been a teenager then, too!" But it's also a bit creepy, like I've become really good friends with--and am crushing on--someone who was graduating high school when I was starting elementary school. Hmmm. I mean, we're both adults now, but it's still an odd thought...