I'm back... well, I never really left. I've continued to ponder and wander the world of Singledom in shock and awe at the experiences and sights that have unfolded around me. The learning curve has been steep and harsh, but thrilling nonetheless, if not to learn about the dating world than to learn a little more about myself and my role within it. Here's a wee recap of previous entries, in case you've missed one or are eager to relive the awkwardness...
MTB Dating Diaries: Part 1 - An introduction to me, nude photos and two fuckwits
MTB Dating Diaries: Part 2 - Intimidation, confidence and two more fuckwits
MTB Dating Diaries: Part 3 - MTB Hoe Bags, dating jargon and more delightful fuckwits
MTB Dating Diaries: Part 4 - Sex
MTB Dating Diaries: Part 5 - Find out what my ex's say about me
When it comes to dating, is age really just a number?
It’s a natural thing for humans to default search for a mate around their own age, and why wouldn’t you? It’s easy to assume that you’d both be at a similar maturity level and be looking for similar things in life. A common unwritten rule is to date within a five-year age range of your own – or so I’ve heard – and yet, I know successful couples with at least a decade between them. So, do these couples prove the rule to be nothing more than bullshit, or are they just unicorn exceptions to it?
If I’m going to wander down “age avenue”, it’s only fair for me to disclose that I am 30 years old. I’m ok with that, despite how people have told me that it’s not ok to live alone with a cat at my age because people will talk – Thanks, Nana.
So, when it comes to dating, how important is age? And are we restricting the search too much when we set precise parameters that ultimately could cause you to miss out on Mr/Miss Right?
Why can’t I have my cake and eat it?
You know how they say; “Money – Work – Relationships” – you can only have one or two at any time but never all three? Well, you can apply a similar anecdote to dating as well. We all seek different things but for me, it’s roughly the following:
“Personality - Looks - Age - Location” – I’m only allowed two.
I’ve met awesome potentials who I’ve fallen for… but they live forever away. Or someone who’s a total fittie with a body like wow, but utterly thick as shit. Someone who’s charming and yet, wonderfully inappropriate. It’s so goddamn frustrating!
It’s Tick Tock in the Egg Shop
Being a 30-year-old woman, living on her own with her cat, it’s often assumed that I’m looking to bake up some mini-humans. I’m getting on. I’m a woman in decline and, obviously, I must have the need to replicate myself in a child form because my eggs are dying. It’s fine, I can see why some people would think that, after all, in a relatively short period of time, the norm went from women having children in their early twenties, to now, where women are having their first child later on in life – hurray for feminism.
Personally, I’m not thinking that far ahead. While having a family one day would be nice because let’s face it, mini-me’s would be sick as shit, it’s not really on my radar right now. I love riding my bike, I’m passionate about my career and I’m not even sure I’m responsible enough – keeping Gomez happy, healthy and alive is a genuine daily achievement.
The other assumption that I’ve found of women over 30 is that we’re more experienced and we know what we want, and dare I say it, we’re more stubborn? I don’t think that’s the case though. Of course, being alive on this planet will give us some more life experience over say, a perky 20-year-old, but the term “experience” is vastly broad in itself. If anything, I’ve chilled out a great deal over my twenties and all the petty drama and bullshit that went with it, I now just don’t fucking care. So how does this all translate into the dating world?
Toy Boy or Sugar Daddy?
When it comes to the age of a potential partner, I rarely ask. Unless it’s plastered on their social media profile or it comes up in general conversation, I kinda like not knowing their age because I don’t want to fall into a stereotyping trap of; “oh, you’re 21 so you must be too immature for me” … or, “oh you’re so much older than me, you’re nearly dead”.
And this leads me neatly into some dating success stories – ish - of sorts.
Mr. 9 years my junior
Admittedly, I didn’t know this guy’s age until it was too late and I found out he was 9 years younger than me. I was a little surprised and quickly questioned the actions that were most definitely going to happen that night, and yet, why should I have cared how much younger he was if there was attraction? He was single, legal and consensual after all…
Despite the banter, jokes and young lad front, this guy had somewhat of a level head on his shoulders and beneath it all, I fleshed out some non-dickhead qualities. We had some pretty alright dates in some nice places... so, what was the catch?
Firstly, from the aforementioned list, the location box was most certainly not ticked. He was also somewhat of a ghoster. Whether he knew it and he was being a cock, or he didn’t know it because he was naïve, I don’t know but its behaviour such as this that came across uncertain and inexperienced with communicative etiquette.
Mr. 6 years my junior
What started as a casual friendship later evolved into a little bit more. I couldn’t really fault him; nice, caring, attractive... His company was easy going, which is good, right?
Now, I know the term “man-child” applies to a majority of men to a varying degree, but I very quickly began to feel like more of a mother in some ways with an increasing sense of dependency on me. I like my space, I like me-time and sometimes I like to just hang out with Gomez and be left alone.
While he was the total opposite of a ghoster – with incessant messaging – he didn’t do anything wrong. He was killing me with kindness, smothering me with it. I know, I probably sound like such a cunt but to me, a good relationship is when two individuals come together, with the keyword being individuals. You both maintain your own lives, friends, hobbies and freedom, none of which should be binned off entirely for someone else – obviously, compromises are made.
Mr. 3 years my junior
What started out as a confident personality, oozing self-assurance and focus soon began to crumble away to an extremely immature nature. I don’t mean immature in a silly joking way, but in an emotional way.
It was like, on paper, this guy seemed to have his shit together, be relatively independent and quite content in life having worked hard to earn what he had and still maintained a drive to achieve more in life. I liked that. However, after a few trivial things occurred – dear God, I cannot tolerate liars – he couldn’t handle being wrong, being proved a twat and most of all, getting caught. Personal constructive criticism was a no-go and a truly childish hobgoblin reared its ugly head. I quickly come to the realisation that the qualities I first found attractive were nothing more than a façade and behind it was just a little boy playing grown-up. Fuck that drama, I was out.
Mr. 18 months my senior
From the outset, the location box was most certainly unchecked with his residence being in fucking Narnia. Because I knew this straight up, I told myself to just enjoy the new phone-friend I had to fill the empty nights with, and that was going to be that. Until the inevitable subject of meeting up came to fruition. Fuck.
Fuck, because this entity living on my phone suddenly became a real person and the trek from Narnia was, to me, a considerable effort to burst the cyber bubble. Before a plan was hatched, a direct and mature conversation took place to establish boundaries and to thwart any intent.
His visit to the real world was met with nerves that quickly settled as boundaries were most definitely respected, awkwardness subsided and with no hint of guilt or resentment to add a bad taste in my mouth. Our lagged digital relationship translated seamlessly into the real world and relief, intrigue and feelings of want began to inhabit. A wonderfully refreshing and rarely experienced circumstance that I pondered; was this the behaviour of a more experienced older man or simply, a characteristic of a good human?
What is a dating success though?
I used to think that a dating success would ultimately result in a relationship. Either my standards of the term “success” have significantly plummeted or I’ve broadened my perspective of the notion – let’s go with the latter, shall we?
Success can take many forms in the realm of dating. Obviously, it could result in meeting “the one” or it could be as simple as plucking up the courage to message someone first. For me, I’ve come to find that success can be just having a really nice chat with someone who actually takes an interest in me.
Success is that sickening bravery it takes to hit the send button of a message you’ve rewritten several times to someone you’re making the first move on. It can be asking someone out on a date and just being stoked with yourself that you were brave enough for the briefest of moments to ask.
Success is whatever (or whoever) ignites a nervous excitement as slumbering butterflies in your stomach begin to stir. Even if that string of flirtatious messages goes nowhere at all, it’s nice, it brought you pleasure, hope and optimism that you won’t be alone forever – as so many of us singletons fear. For me, I find these little wins confidence inspiring, even if they fizzle out, it was nice whilst it lasted.
So, when it comes to dating, does age matter? Well, yes and no. I think it’s safe to use age as an indication but not much more than that.
We all come from different walks of life with varying upbringings so it isn’t surprising that a 19-year-old could be ten times more mature and focused than a 32-year-old, or that an older man could be so inexperienced with women that he trembles like the heart of a hummingbird under your touch.
What I’m trying to say is, fuck age. Expand your dating search parameters and just enjoy those who give you washing-machine tummy (that’s a legit medical term… maybe), after all, almost all the men that I’ve had the pleasure of talking to, haven’t even felt the tip of the dick of life.
MTB Dating Diaries: Chapter 1, Part 1