Age difference doesn’t always matter
Some of us have dated well outside our age range. The rest live by that old code, half your age plus seven. But who came up with that? I’m not sure. Heard it at a bar once. Never since.
When I was 21, I dated someone on the cusp of 33. Unknowingly. We met at a club on New Year’s Eve. Danced. Kissed. He told me he was 25. Gave a convincing performance.
He didn’t even need bar lighting to look younger. I was incredibly attracted to him. Practically magnetized. But after two dates, he called me and confessed his true age. To me, the numbers didn’t matter.
But the lie did. Somewhat.
He could’ve been up front. Instead, he succumbed to insecurity. Fatal. The phone call didn’t feel like a confession. It felt like a breakup, and a signal that he needed time to work through some issues. Those days, I dated widely. But I tried to avoid liars.
We didn’t speak again. Too bad. But look, this isn’t a public shaming. People understandably feel insecure about their age. Even when they don’t need to. We have so many rules about what counts as appropriate.
These rules are bullshit. I mean, for the most part. The one about not fucking people under the age of 18, I support that one. Please don’t cite my blog in your statutory rape trial.
But on a purely theoretical level, it’s odd how our attitudes toward age shift over time. A hundred years ago, a man could openly court a 14-year-old without issue. A 12-year-old could work in a coal mine. That freaks me the fuck out. Doesn’t it you?
Legal issues aside, we judge people all the time for dating outside the acceptable age range.
Dating someone is a personal decision. Plenty of people prefer to date within their decade for different reasons. Propriety shouldn’t influence your love life. Fearing what other people think about your choices will only fence in your heart and diminish your relationships.
One of my best friends dated someone 15 years younger. He was 35. She was 20. Their love was legal. But people had problems with it.
One of those people happened to be my fiance. He couldn’t stop talking about them. How “wrong” it was. Me? I suspended judgment.
You can’t champion sexual liberation arbitrarily. By all laws, nothing stopped them from dating. Or fucking.
Here’s the real shocker: the girl’s parents were okay with them dating. How fine? They took us all out to dinner on a regular basis. They celebrated love, regardless of age.
The girl herself? She passed for 25, easily. She spoke French. And Italian. She knew more about art history than the average grad student. Her confidence was…unsettling.
This girl was so mature, she almost made me believe in reincarnation.
Her maturity stunned me, but it shouldn’t have. I’d met a handful of “kids” who dazzled with their wit, charm, and intelligence. The smartest student at my high school was a 13-year-old girl. Somehow, she’d already passed out of every single AP course except Chemistry.
This 13-year-old girl fucking tutored me in AP Chem. And I wasn’t judgmental. I was grateful. I got a 4 on the exam, thanks to her. And we became friends. She acted more mature than 90 percent of our student body. Of course, intellectual and emotional maturity live on different levels. This girl knew all about the periodic table.
Other kinds of chemistry? Beats me.
Assholes use this kind of reasoning to justify statutory rape. We’ve already covered this. But I just want to be extra clear:
Don’t use my blog post as an excuse to seduce underage girls.
I’m writing for the people who worry about the difference between 21 and 30. Listen to me, they’re just numbers. You might live happily ever after. Or you might part tomorrow. It has almost thing to do with your age. I know because I’ve loved deeply across the age spectrum. My biggest heartbreaks happened with people my own age.
The most immature partner I ever dated was only one year younger. He almost dumped me over a board game.
Honestly, I’m a little surprised that I’ve partnered up with someone exactly my age. Like exactly. Same numerals. But that’s just a coincidence.
Once, I dated someone five years younger than me. I was 24. He was 19. We met at a coffee shop. We eye-flirted for a few minutes. He looked early 20s. He gave me his phone number. We went on a date. After the first refill, it became pretty clear he was an undergraduate.
But he’d entered college as a junior. That’s right. Thanks to AP and other programs, he blew into the university with more than half the credits needed to graduate. I’ll admit, he was fucking smart.
And freakishly mature.
There was just one problem. Not with him. With me. I felt like a cougar. We went on some fantastic dates. We went to an art museum. His idea, for godssake. And I spent about 25 percent of the time staring at his butt. Hashtag Cougartown.
My friends tried to give me advice. A cacophony of nonsense. So I had to go with my instincts. One night, after a long walk on our pristine, scenic campus, he moved into kiss me.
For one hallucinogenic moment, I gave in.
Emotional fireworks. My heartbeat accelerated. We gripped each other hard, and held on for life.
Then I pulled back. Why? My mind wouldn’t accept that my soulmate could exist in the body of a 19-year-old. He didn’t fight me. We just hugged each other a few minutes and then walked back to his car. We said goodbye. We knew we’d see each other again, but not in the same way. I actually ran into him three or four times after that, as friendly strangers. Nothing more. And then I met someone else. Update. Restart.