Posted in Blog on June 22, 2013
I heard that dating is supposed to get easier once you reach your thirties. The people you meet in your +/- three years age bracket are allegedly more mature, and that combined with the fact that you are hopefully more financially and emotionally stable than you were as a twentysomething is purported to be a winning formula.
Maybe that’s true for some people who managed to escape their twenties unwed. However, dating in my thirties for me has not been filled with the spontaneous romantic getaways, wacky meet-cutes, and limitless pool of interesting prospects that “Friends” promised me it would be when I was younger.
No, dating in your thirties is less a thrilling jungle adventure and more a barren wasteland of disappointment and despair. Here are just a few things I have noticed:
1) A lot of men I meet now have been divorced. This is not necessarily a flaw. People get married too young, or they settle down with the wrong mate because they feel like they are at the age when getting hitched is expected, and those relationships predictably crumble. The issue with divorced men (and probably divorced women, though I don’t have the same anecdotal evidence) is that your ex-wife fucked you up. I know you don’t think so, I understand you don’t see it, and that’s okay. I’m not here to fix you. Just trust me. Your ex-wife did a number on you, and until you identify what parts of your new personality are knee jerk reactions to the damage inflicted by your ex-spouse’s particular brand of insanity and extract that bitterness, you are not suitable for an adult relationship.
2) It is difficult to find a guy who can get behind liberal feminism. This might be a byproduct of living in the South, but I have to admit, I didn’t have much better luck on this front when I lived in Kansas City. We don’t have to agree on everything, that would be boring, but there are some fundamental issues that not only won’t I compromise on, but if you disagree with me, I can only assume it is because you’re a racist, homophobic, misogynistic screwball. For instance, no, she doesn’t share some of the blame for what happened because she went out dressed like that. You get the idea. When I was younger, it was easier to find men who identified as radically liberal. I know as I’ve aged, I’ve only gotten more and more lefty, but the opposite seems to hold true for men. Really, you think you’re dating a normal guy, and then you discover he voted for Mitt Romney.
3) Guys are freaked out by cats. I am starting to get the impression that dudes aren’t actually freaked out by cats but afraid of what it would mean for their masculinity if they admitted, at the very least, cats don’t really bother them or-gasp-they kind of like the kitties. For some reason, this wasn’t a problem when I was in my twenties. But as soon as you hit thirty and have more cats than heads, suddenly you’re the crazy cat lady. Whatever. If talking to your cats all day, sometimes wondering if you have slipped into an alternate dimension where the cats are keeping YOU as a pet, then I guess . . . you know what? I’m starting to see this one now. My bad.
4) If men realize you make more money than them, they only have two reactions, and neither is good. The first is easy to spot and so pathetic it makes me want to hurl. Ladies, we can spot a golddigger a mile away, can’t we? The other reaction is vulnerable insecurity followed swiftly by acting like a total jerkoff to prove who wears the metaphorical pants. I don’t think I’ve ever once brought up my paycheck during the dating process, but men can sniff this out. I’m not sure how, maybe based on the sheer number of cats I own they deduce I must be doing okay for myself. I earn an average salary, but the truth is I don’t give a shit about money one way or another, and I do not know how to comprehend or handle men who do. I guess if I want to find a long-term relationship, it probably should be with someone who thinks about money a little more than I do, but the older I get, the more having a modicum of success is a threat to men who feel like they haven’t reached that point. Or worse, a beacon for con artists who think they can weasel their way into your heart and bleed you dry.
5) Men want you to meet their dumb parents. Why? Why is this now so bloody important? Under the age of thirty, guys didn’t have any desire to bring me home to mom. To this day, I’m not sure if that’s because I was unfit for parental consumption when I was younger and am more presentable since I’ve cleaned up my act or if men themselves change as they get older and put more value on family. Bottom line, I’ll meet your stupid parents when and if we both agree this thing has a future.
6) Too many men are trying to recapture their youth. So they put on age-inappropriate clothes and head to clubs or college bars to hit on girls who think they’re old and gross. I can’t fathom this behavior. My twenties were fun. It is a miracle I survived them. Growing up is not a bad thing, and suddenly reverting to a frat bro is not endearing. You look silly.
7) Like most people, men want to feel needed. Unfortunately, if you are a woman in her thirties, living on her own, who has never been married, chances are you don’t actually NEED a guy for anything. If having a man was a necessity, I would have died years ago. To me, that should make a relationship more fulfilling, not less. Isn’t it nice to know someone is attached to you for no other reason than they like you for exactly who you are? Apparently, for guys, the answer is no. That’s not enough. I don’t know how to feign neediness, nor do I have the energy for it. But I don’t need you to kill spiders. I’ve been doing that on my own for a while, and again, I have two cats. Ain’t no spiders alive in this crib.
8) I think I have become virtually undateable. This is a depressing thought. I’ve been on my own for a long time and prefer it. When I’m not at work, I’m writing. I give up a lot of Friday and Saturday (and every other -Day) nights to stay home and write, and I am perfectly content with that. It seems like every other guy I date thinks I spend too much time doing “nothing.” As if they’re solving the human genome while I’m cruising Twitter. Also, I think swimming in the ocean is “close enough” to taking a shower, and at the risk of seeming unadventurous and boring, I’m not going to go out partying until the wee hours of the morning. I’m too old for that nonsense. There’s nothing about me that your dumb mom is going to like, and I’m probably never going to call you to clear my plans or invite you along if what I want is to be alone. I think golf is nothing but an excuse to drink at ten a.m. and act like a sexist asshole, and I will straight up kick you out of the house if you try to make me watch anything involving storage warring, rednecks, fishing, or cooking. I wouldn’t date me, and I think a lot of men who fall into the same category as me, who have not been married and have big dreams and passionate pursuits, are just as inflexible as I am. No healthy relationship can function like that. Everyone says I’ll make room when I meet the right guy. I’m simply not convinced that’s true, or that there is a “right” guy, or that I would have the ability to identify him if he miraculously came along.
On the bright side, there are advantages to dating as you get older. I mean, I can’t think of them right now, but I’m sure they’ll come to me. Maybe when I’m forty.