Age is just a number…right?
March 17, 2013.
It was St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, the day after my 20th birthday. A few friends and I trekked into the city to catch the parade, although the parade was hardly the center of our focus. We filled our styrofoam Dunkie’s cups with strange concoctions, probably some combination of cheap vodka and a soft drink. The bathroom lines were insane, filled with a bunch of underage drinkers dressed in tacky t-shirts attempting to get away with taking a few shots in the public bathrooms. We had no plan, no destination, or really no idea what we were doing. We were just a bunch of 20 year olds trying to get drunk in Boston on the day where it was easy to.
Hardly knowing what the term “breaking the seal,” actually meant, we refused to do it when we actually had the chance. We gulped down our questionable drinks in the public bathrooms and continuously told ourselves to “not break the seal” so early in the day, even though our bladders were about to explode (TMI?) We treated it as though it was one of the ten commandments. “Thou shalt not break thy seal even if thou body is basically demanding thou to.”
Eventually we were five drunk and underage teenagers all in desperate need for a bathroom. Somehow, we decided the best option was knocking on the door of some random house party. A man dressed like a giant leprechaun stepped out, his breath reeking of booze. He held out a tray of cupcakes as we asked if we could quickly use his bathroom.
This “quick” bathroom trip turned into 7 solid hours of partying with complete strangers…all over the age of 25.
We hung out for a bit and then I met eyes with this one guy. I knew I had met him before, but I couldn’t remember when. Our eyes awkwardly locked a few times throughout the course of an hour when he eventually came up to me introducing himself then followed by, “Do I know you?”
After several minutes of trying to figure out how we knew each other it was eventually determined that he was in fact a common customer at the hockey store I worked at throughout high school. We talked, made out, talked some more, which led to exchanging each other’s numbers.
“So,” I asked, “How old are you?”
“Errr, umm, I just turned 27 a few days ago.”
“Haha, oh, I just turned 20 yesterday.”
7 years. Woof.
How do we determine who is “dateable?” It usually starts out with a physical attraction, which then has to be supplemented with a good personality. It might not start out with a best “how we met” story, but it usually evolves into your own version of a fairytale. Dateable people are the people we can see a real future with, even if the relationship only lasts a few months.
I never really took this guy as someone I could seriously see myself dating. I mean, despite our age gap, his phone number was saved in my phone as “St. Patrick’s Day Collins.” I had totally forgotten what his first name was. He texted me the very next day and we had an enjoyable conversation, all while I was still trying to figure out his first name. He didn’t seemed bothered by the fact that I was a young 20 year old, and I assumed that it was because he thought I was vulnerable.
The next thing I knew he asked me out on a lunch date.
It worked out nicely, I had an interview in downtown Boston which happened to be right down the street from his office. So, I agreed to a date. If it went horribly, at least I got a free meal out of it. He told me where to meet him, and I stood there waiting, feeling my face get more red by the second. My heart started beating a little faster and I thought to myself, “What the hell was I thinking?”
Then, suddenly, he appeared from around the corner. He wore a blue striped button up, with his tie loosely undone from his neck. His light brown hair was swept back, paired with crystal blue eyes that I spotted from 20 feet away. He approached me with a smile that was way more perfect than I had remembered and a defined jaw line that made it even better. He was confident and he was hot.
“Hey Beth, how are you? You look great.”
We awkwardly hugged, and then he took me this nice restaurant right in Government Center. The place was relatively small, but felt cozy. It was filled with women and men in suits enjoying a cold one during their lunch breaks. I instantly regretted changing out of my interview attire. I sat there with my fake Longchamp bag, decently expensive leather boots and American Eagle jeans while he was in full business suit. Awesome.
The waitress approached us and I instantly felt judged. Paranoia took over, and I found myself hoping she just thought I was his little sister rather than his date. The age gap was recognizable, and even more so when she asked what we wanted to drink.
“Can I get you two a beer?”
“Yeah sure, do you want–oh wait, err, yeah I’ll just have one.”
“Yeah, just water is fine with me.”
Off to a great start.
I ordered a salad and he ordered a burger with french fries. In between long, drawn out mouthfuls of food, we talked about our lives. I found myself taking more and more time to swallow my food because the more we talked, the more I felt the age gap widen. He spoke about his career and other adult-like things where I sat there and continuously contemplated what I could say that wouldn’t totally come off as an immature 20 year old. I talked about school, made up what I wanted to do with my degree, and pretended like our lives were anywhere near the same.
But, they were hardly the same. We were at two totally different places. He was attractive, respectful, easy to talk to, athletic, and an all around great guy…but he was also seven years older than I was.
That day was only about a year and a half ago, but I find myself thinking about that date a lot. He tried to keep in contact with me after the date, always asking to see me again, but I’d always make up some excuse to reject him. I wonder what it would be like if I went out with him again now in this stage of my life. A stage where I’m a little less focused on frat parties and more focused on my future and career. So, was it his age that intimidated me? Or was it simply the fact that I knew our lives were on two opposite ends of the spectrum?
My friends and I have recently made this a regular topic of our conversations. How old is too old? Most of us are at least 21 at this point, which means the only thing we aren’t legally allowed to do is rent a car. Society views us as adults, although some of us have hardly reached the maturity point of a 13 year old. So, the thought of dating someone 25+ isn’t as unreasonable or crazy as people make it out to be.
I have always been attracted to older men (when I say older I mean 2-3 years). Older is supposed to mean more mature, when that is hardly the case. We stress so much on a simple number that we allow ourselves to be limited to who we are attracted to. It certainly makes sense; I dated a guy who is only two years older than I am and as soon as he graduated college I felt as though we were on two totally different pages. A 2 year gap suddenly felt like a 6 year gap. His priorities changed, as did mine. However, it wasn’t the age gap that changed, as much as it felt like it did.
So, yeah, I’d agree. Age is simply just a number. Age doesn’t necessarily define where you’re at in your life.
St. Patrick’s Day Collins: Would you like to go on a date where we can both legally order booze? I promise I won’t be as weird I was the first date we went on. I was more worried about the fact that I had just turned 20 and there was still a water bottle of cheap vodka in my fake Longchamp bag from the night before.