Dating while old is pretty terrible. When it happens at all!
Recently I met a man on a flight back from LA* and it was notable enough that I tweeted about it.
Meeting new people and having the interest be mutual doesn’t happen for me as much as it used to.
If you met me when I was in my twenties, I probably would have tried to tell you dating was terrible then too. Fresh out of college and living in NYC, I seemed to meet guys who were either too serious OR the precursor to this. I craved something in between the dude who just wanted to hook up and the man who planned overly formal dinner dates that felt like something real grown-ups (i.e., not me) did. Given my relative immaturity, I was weirdly more comfortable making out in the corner of dark bars than straining to make conversation over dinner at Provence.
In retrospect, I don’t know how I managed to cram so many crushes, love interests, boyfriends and friends with benefits into the six years I dwelled in NYC the first time. I must have been exhausted.
In my thirties, between a long relationship, career stress and living in DC, there was a dramatic drop-off in dating opportunities. Why didn’t anyone warn me this would happen?! I probably would have ignore anyone who tried, and I was too dumb to come to that conclusion on my own. So if you’re young and no one has warned you, let this serve as my personal PSA to you.
Now, I recognize that I’m not OLD-old. But I’m also not really young, either. The only people who say “you’re still young!” to me are over seventy and/or have serious vision issues.
And the reality of not being young anymore is that a lot of those fun, carefree things have largely evaporated. I have fewer crushes and opportunities to feel excited about love interests. And that’s a big bummer.
One thing about Dating While Old that’s good is that you’re able to spot warning signs early–and ideally you’re mature enough to act accordingly. One of my recent crushes – gainfully employed, handsome, fun in an up-for-anything kind of way – revealed himself to be a guy who habitually talks over other people and is a terrible listener. He’s also a Bernie Bro.
A truly welcome aspect of Dating While Old is the fact that I can look at a guy, realize he’s wrong for me in some important way and walk away with minimal angst. After all, my life is great with or without a date. Thank goodness for loyal girlfriends and satisfying careers and less money concerns.
BTW, if you are a Smug Married tempted to ask “but what about the apps? Don’t they produce many more dating opportunities?” please read this New York Times piece by Taffy Brodesser-Akner immediately. 🍆🍆
*As always, it’s complicated. I’ll update you if it’s worth telling the story.