You wouldn’t like me, Yann
idea that 20-somethings are perched on the pedestal at the top of a man’s dating pyramid. (Women wisely never put young dudes at the top of the dating pyramid. Presumably because they have taken into account how unsexy someone is when they think it’s OK to wear dirty underwear the next day by turning it inside out. Yummy.)
But the myth is definitely still alive and well in dating culture. Hang out with a 20-something woman in any bar expensive enough to require that you wear lace-up shoes, and you’ll hear a guy say, ‘‘I’m just not attracted to women my own age, I’m only attracted to women like you in their 20s.’’
He will inevitably be a 45-plus man called Steven, who’s divorced with two teenage kids he doesn’t see much of, and a pristine white Jeep he sees a whole lot of. He’ll even show you photos of the Jeep so you can see it too. He may even, if you’re truly blessed, call you in the morning so you can listen to the sound of it turning on.
I promise it is not flattering to be confronted by that guy who puts time stamps on how many years you have left before you fall into spinstery, irrelevant, dying-alone-with-feral-catseating-our-face obscurity. Charmant.
But mostly it just makes me laugh, because you don’t really want to date someone my age.
It’s one of those things dudes say all the time without having realised the practical implications of it. It’s like wanting a cute puppy, only to dump it at the SPCA two months later when you realise how much work it is.
Have you tried dating a 20-something? We’re hard work. I’m 24, and I wouldn’t date me.
For a start, we’re not exactly house-trained. You may think you’ll spend the majority of the relationship having ecstatic sex while listening to like, totally lit music. You’ll actually spend it walking around after us picking up a trail of wet towels that we decided to discard in surprise locations two days ago. Rusting hairpins will breed in your rainhead shower, dirty clothes will multiply on your bespoke leather couches and you will be eating canned tuna for dinner, with chopsticks, from a shoe.
We’re fresh out of either living with our parents or in shared houses, where everything was done for us by the washing fairy or no-one cared if it wasn’t. So there’s a certain level of obliviousness that isn’t often compatible with the domestic bliss that Steven and his Jeep expect.
Even if they were willing to put in the emotional labour of teaching us to be adult – unlikely, given the estranged relationship with their own children – have you ever considered how boring it’s going to be?
Anyone who knows anything about happy relationships will tell you that it’s personality, not looks or even intelligence, that’s the strongest guarantee of a good one. And while we may be nice, we’re also raging hot-20s-messes of insecurity, confusion and permanent panic over whether the girl at work (who I don’t like but I want to like me) was upset by the too-casual smiley face emoji I used in a work email last Tuesday . . . Maybe you want a relationship filled with hourlong emoji angst rants, but it bores even me to tears, and I have to listen to it because it’s on loop in my own head.
And I know that the great retort to all of this is that we make you feel young. Dating a millennial makes you feel like you get a second bash at youthful freedom. But the irony is that, if you’re that insecure about your age, then you’ll be hypersensitive to every time we don’t know what Space Invaders is. So really you’ll spend your life tripping over conversations that make you feel about as young and hip as dial-up internet.
So if you want to feel good about yourself, take up Zumba – it’s less work, more rewarding and you’ll probably meet a fellow over-40-year-old who’ll make you happy.