Sure, a lot of people say age is just a number. And after a certain point, I think that definitely holds true. But I’m not at a point in my life where I’m even remotely interested in dating someone younger than me.
And yet, I’ve gotten a couple of messages from ballsy 20-year-olds, messages that make me cringe or feel awful. It also makes me feel a little annoyed.
On the one hand, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dating someone younger than you, regardless of your gender.
On the other hand, I personally am not at all interested in dating someone my students’ age. I teach at a university, and there is no way that I’m going to even think about a relationship with someone who could potentially be one of those students. It just weirds me out.
These two guys (I’m trying really hard to refrain from calling them kids, but that’s what they are to me!) have taken slightly different approaches.
Men rule the world, but women rule men.
That’s what I’m looking for.”
Uh. . . okay? There are a lot of reasons I would say no to this kind of message. It’s (a) not a statement I agree with, and (b) not a statement that makes a lot of sense, and (c) I have no interest in being in a weird mothering relationship to my boyfriend (again). Maybe that last bit is reading too much into it, but that’s totally how it makes me feel. As my friend A pointed out, this guy “wants to be owned by a woman.” But that’s not what I’m looking for either. I’m fairly confident my response was “I want a partner, a teammate.” And not one who is five years younger than me.
Five years may not seem like a long time, but there’s a pretty substantial difference between a 25-year-old woman with a master’s degree and a 20-year-old college male. I might be interested in a particularly mature 23- or 24-year-old, but I’ve not really even met or seen a 25-year-old I’d be genuinely interested in hanging out with, married guy aside. So no.
I didn’t respond to this guy, and it appears that his profile has now been removed so I don’t have to.
Option B is a bit more sincere, which I’ve paraphrased here:
I know I’m younger than you’re looking for, we have a lot of the same interests, I’ve never heard of anyone in your music section, you write well. I’m getting a degree in English; how exciting to meet someone also working on a degree in that field.”
This guy seems sweet. But I’m not interested in dating someone younger, which the guy even acknowledges. It’s great that we have similar interests, and maybe I should remove that I’m looking for “friends” because maybe that would have prevented this (but really? does anyone else pay attention to what a user is actually interested in?). I feel almost obligated to respond, but I’m not sure how: “You should check out those artists; good luck with your degree!” But that almost feels like leading him on/allowing him to think I’m interested when I am most definitely not.
My other reaction to this message was really defensive: “I’m not working on a degree in English. I have two of them.” This is a silly reaction, but I can only take so much of people (men, particularly) assuming that I’m still a college undergraduate without wanting to unleash a wrath. I try to shake this off as a positive: I look young, and when I’m 40 or 50, I’ll be thankful to look younger than I am.
But that’s not always easy to do, and I find myself saying “I have a master’s degree” almost as a defense mechanism, as if that’s going to illustrate that I’m not as young as whoever I’m talking to thinks I am.
OkCupid sure offers a lot of inspiration for blogging, but I wish that I could prevent people who don’t meet my interests from messaging me. Maybe that will keep me from finding a wonderful match, but in reality it will probably just prevent people with a 58% match rating who are also over or under my age interests from sending me messages I don’t care to respond to and then feeling guilty about that.