You wouldn’t like me, Yann

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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