Tuesday, February 26, 2008

age is just a number. ha!

I don't know if it was because he was a younger man, or the fact that he's a Republican that got everyone so excited about the boy in the last post. I always joke that I'm either very hip and cool or horribly immature since most of my friends are at least ten years younger.

I'm rushing around getting ready for the trip and wrapping up some projects and I'm feeling a little 'written out' so I'll leave you with the advice column that my friend David sent me. The writer sounds suspiciously like me....maybe I'll meet a nice sheep farmer in Ireland.

Ask Lynn

By Lynn Harris

Dear Lynn,
I am a 46-year-old woman; I take care of myself, but I do look my age. "Cute" might best describe me. My question? I simply cannot attract a man my age. They're either 10-20 years older or 10 years younger.

This has been happening since I was old enough to date. Why is it that a man my age won't have anything to do with me? My self-esteem has taken a huge blow and now I'm afraid I've become obsessed with this. I scan the wedding announcements regularly and find several couples my age getting married. I can't help but notice that they all look close in age. I realize the midlife crisis thing might be going on (both for me and for the guys), but that's not what I see on the streets. What I see is, couples — close in age — enjoying each other's company.

What's wrong with me?

– Feeling Rejected

Dear Feeling Rejected,

Some of what you are experiencing may in part be a function of your demographic, or — to use a word that really should never be used at all — your psychographic. That is: It's common at midlife to want to feel young, and a common way of attempting to preserve one's youth is to date someone younger. So the fellas who are your age are looking for younger women, and the fellas 20 years older than you looking for… you. At the other end of the spectrum, well… here's to you, Mrs. Robinson.

Of course, there are plenty of people in their 40s who find people their own age, so what gives? And how do we explain your observation that this age weirdness has, for you, been happening all along?

I know you're going to argue with me here, but it's partly your perception. You know the red car phenomenon: When you are thinking about buying a red car, you start to see red cars everywhere, though in reality you're just noticing them more.

I'm guessing that's what you've been doing since you were a teenager—noticing the guys not your age even more than the ones who are your age.

I'm not saying there isn't a pattern, but it's possible that you may have made choices, even unconsciously, that keep this pattern consistent. Like, not flirted with someone your age because you were too busy noticing that someone twice your age was flirting with you.

Let me ask you one question: Why does a potential mate have to be your age in the first place? Yes, I know: so that you two feel that you're at the same stage of life together. But you know what? There are plenty of, say, divorced 36-year-olds well-established in their careers and identities, and there are plenty of never-married 56-year-olds who are still casting about. Age tells just part of the story. I'd give some of these guys a chance. Consider which attributes you're looking for in someone "your age." Stability? Lack of game-playing? Well-traveled? Then allow yourself to see them in someone else.

Also, though I do believe you didn't invent this pattern out of the clear blue, I would like to suggest that it serves you—if only to "explain" why you're still single. My hunch is that what you're really asking is not "Where the heck are all the men my age?" but rather, "Why the heck am I still single?" I know that can be a terribly vexing, self-esteem-challenging, and lonely-feeling question to be asking, year after year, and I wish all single people could avoid that.

So don't make it about meeting people your age. Make it about meeting people, period. People who share your interests and sensitivities, not your birth year. I'm not saying meet people who are not your age, I'm just saying to make it not about numbers, but about feelings, flirting and fun. You might be surprised at the number of men who do turn up.

Lynn Harris is co-creator, with Chris Kalb, of the award-winning website, BreakupGirl.net and author of the new comic novel Death By Chick Lit. A journalist and essayist, Lynn also writes about gender, dating, and culture high and low for Salon, Glamour, The New York Times, and others. In her spare time, she enjoys being married.

1 comment:

Jamie Dawn said...

It's the countdown before the big trip!!
What fun you're gonna have!!!!!

Cute column. Are you SURE you didn't write in that question?

I say date those younger fellas.
The older guys would NOT be able to keep up with your schedule. They'd get tired just reading the entries on your calendar. You know, stuff like 29 holiday parties and trips to Ireland.