Tiny Answers #3

@Michael asks:

Remember you explained your rules for ages for guys you would/n’t date? What rules should apply to (hetero) guys and women’s ages?

Hi Michael,

I’ll admit your question had me stumped, primarily because I couldn’t remember what rules Past Tiny had handed down to you in the style of Moses and the commandments, but let’s just work on the assumption that Past Tiny was a jerk and take it from there. (You’ve just informed me that my ‘woman’s rule was date no younger man ever’ – okay).

First, let me just say that I’m glad my mum never adhered to this rule, or I would not be here today.

Someone once told me that women and men have different levels of maturity at different ages. For example, a 20-year-old woman would be about as mature as a 23-year-old male (don’t quote me on this theory, I know nothing of its source). It was as though there was some kind of 3-year default maturity gap between them. It might have something to do with women having a biological clock to consider, and so their maturity levels work on autopilot, or something. I don’t know. But someone planted that seed into the head of a very influential and spearheaded, self-perceived mature young woman (is spearheaded an adjective? It should be).

Naturally I took this advice in my stride and struggled to find guys my own age attractive. I saw them as friends or mere comrades in the battle of growing up and nothing more. I was unable to find someone on the same intellectual and emotional maturity wavelength that I perceived myself to be riding like a warrior and refused to entertain the idea of dating someone younger because it would mean being unable to relate to that person, whose interests probably included tackling trees and ramming into things.

Here’s where the spanner is thrown into the proverbial works. Out of sheer stubbornness and faithfulness to this rule (and possibly because I was emitting the wrong signals) I was fighting off suitors who were up to ten years older than me, even in high school. I was trying to convince them that they were possibly TOO old for me. It was a strange conundrum to be in and it backfired on me when I had my first major crush on a guy who was about 8 years older than me. Naturally my reaction to these feelings went along the lines of, ‘Well this makes sense, he’s older but it’s not quite a decade!’ (should have had that emblazoned on a school jersey).

Luckily he rejected my tiny advances on the premise that I was too young. It wasn’t the age difference. It was that I had just finished high school and was starting university and this person may as well have been on another planet to me, that’s how different we were. But I couldn’t see it until I literally moved to another planet (Spain) and found my first boyfriend at the age of 21. He was 31. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

Let the autopsy show that the failed relationship was not the age difference at all. I recently met up with him and discovered he was under the impression that if he had only met me a few years later, things might have worked out (forever the optimist). He claimed that by then we would be at similar stages in our lives. Maybe. But it wasn’t about being at similar stages in our lives. It was about compatibility. Sometimes people are just wrong for you and you don’t have the awareness that comes with years of life experience to realise that they’re wrong. You don’t even know what it is you really want, you crazy humans!

I had more age issues after that with subsequent relationships, mainly because I was a carefree twenty-something just trying to do normal carefree twenty-something things (totes still am), whereas my exes were all in their ‘omg-we’re-on-the-cusp-of-turning-30-and-what-is-my-life-even-about-and-is-this-my-existential-life-crisis?!’ phase. If I had simply dated someone closer to my age (or even younger) I might have been able to better experience things that likeminded folks were going through, rather than constantly being the collateral damage of someone’s ‘Not-Quite-A-Mid-Life’ crisis.

Recently I had to reassess what I was doing and figure out why I kept running into the same problems. My thought process literally roller coasted from legitimate considerations of dating much older divorcee rich moguls just for their money, to eyeing off 22-year-olds and wondering how easy it would be to catch one, like it was as simple as fishing, the logic being that such dramatically different ages would result in perhaps not so much drama. Flawed logic, no doubt.

The thing is, as we get older, we start to forget a lot of that idiocy about rules and dating and relationship bullshit. It’s hard enough without having to worry about inane little things.

Here’s a tiny checklist to keep you on track:

  1. Do you like her? If you answered yes, move to the next question. If you answered no, then do you like pie? I like pie.
  2. Does she like you back? Yes? Move to 3. No? See above.
  3. Is she the opposite of a horrible person? Yes? (See below) No? You know the pie drill.

Congratulations. It’s a match!

Most men and women have issues with immaturity at all ages (trust me I’ve seen it and it’s not pretty). It’s best to re-assess your priorities and figure out what you want and the type of person who will bring out the best qualities in you.What matters most to you right now at this exact moment in time? Will that change anytime soon? How will it impact another person? Do you want to travel? Pursue a particular career path? Have babies? Eat pie? All factors to consider.

What complicates the issue sometimes is when two people want dramatically different things out of life but this can occur with or without an age difference. You have to be honest and upfront about what you both want. I also advise against proceeding if one or more parties has a serious hang up about the age difference, especially if it’s an older woman dating a younger man. She really needs to get over that already, girlfriend! After all, as Aaliyah and R.Kelly proved, both in real life and in song, age aint nothing but a number of years that a person has lived on this earth. Don’t complicate it.

So to answer your question Michael, there are no rules. It depends on the person, the situation and what you are looking for.

And look, sometimes our age theory limits are tested when exuberant, rosy-cheeked boy bands named One Direction start to appeal to women aged 24+ (not even ashamed to admit I’m one of those women). People born in the 90s are really starting to come into their own now, potentially becoming cooler than the previous generation (us). Don’t fight it. Let evolution do its thing. We need to join up with them and form reinforcements, should we ever need to form a rebellion against the older generation. I’m not really answering the question anymore, am I? Okay then. /Tiny out.

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