I’ve learned that there are certain topics, that when brought up in conversation with older guys, will highlight your age difference.
When I was 22 and dating a 27-year-old, I learned that you have to be careful talking about music you liked in middle school
“Um, no. More like the Gin Blossoms. . . .”
When I was 23 and chatting up a 29-year-old on an airplane shuttle, I learned to be careful when referencing cK1:
“I thought it was, like, the coolest thing ever in seventh grade.”
“Seventh grade? Really? I think I wore it sophomore year of college. . . .”
And at 26, dating a 35-year-old, I figured out that you should just be careful when talking about what you were doing in any specific year pre-puberty:
“I guess I haven’t been there in a long time. I used to go there all the time when I was studying for the LSAT, so I guess it was. . . what? . . 1994?”
“Nineteen ninety four??”
“Yeah. What were you doing in 1994?”
But as long as no one thinks about how you were wearing Keds and watching Nickelodeon in your parents’ living room while he was hooking up with some girl whose last name he can’t remember in a shady college dorm room, dating an older guy can be a really positive experience. So maybe he’s more likely to have a broken engagement or failed career or major financial crisis under his belt, but he’s also more likely to have a fantastic job, a mortgage to something nice, and Friday night plans to watch t.v. and eat take-out (and I consider this a total bonus).
But how old is too old? My personal limit comes when a boy has more in common with my parents than with me. And I have young parents. Like, really young. When they were my age, they were married, had two kids, and were so sure of the decisions they’d made that my dad had had a vasectomy two years previously. So, I’m 27 and my parents just turned 50. Do the math: that leaves us with a 23 year gap, which, when we divide by two, is 11 and half years. Round down to eleven, to put the number on my side. Add twenty-seven and eleven, and you’ll see that, by the numbers, I can date boys up to 38 years of age.
Thirty-eight, though, seems dangerously close to 40. I went out with a guy who was 41 a few months ago as an experiment, and that is definitely too old. I was almost embarrassed to be seen with him because I was just wondering what people thought we were doing, and I was painfully aware of how many of my stories begin, “One time in college. . . .“ My real-life cut-off seems to be closer to 36.
Pete is 36. (I’m not dating Pete, but I wouldn’t mind kissing him again.) While doing some Facebook stalking this week, I noticed one of his groups is planning a 20-year high school reunion. Twenty years. I can do the math. He’s almost ten years older than me, and my ten-year reunion is coming up (maybe it’s my hesitance to accept it that makes it so easy to forget).
Yeah. Sometimes it’s better to just not think about numbers.