"I don't wanna wake up 26, alone and single."
That's what some 23-year-old girl told me at 4:30am on her rooftop. Prior to this statement, she informed me that she had just broken up with her boyfriend a few weeks ago. We weren't even talking about relationships before she uttered those words. She just pulled an abrupt change-of-subject. I guess her repressed emo-tastic feelings about her newfound singledom suddenly crept out. Awesome conversation after a phenomenal night.
My response: "Ummm. I'm 26 and single. And so is my friend over there (pointing in the direction of Disco Stu, who went back to the apartment to get some gum). You're young. Everything will be fine. Really."
But she continued. "You don't understand because it's different for girls..." Blah blah blah. I already knew what she was about to say because I've heard the "It's Different for Girls" diatribe from female friends.
Generally, the argument is that girls want to find that "someone" or be in a serious committed relationship by the time they're 30. If children are in future plans, then part of the anxiety relates to the ticking biological clock. Sometimes it comes from cultural and/or family pressure. This particular girl was Korean (The Feva!), so she was talking about some heavy cultural expectations from her family and how she doesn't even like Korean guys (perfect--viva Mexico!).
(At this point, I'm hoping my friend had found the gum because the solo effort to derail this conversation was proving largely unsuccessful, and I needed support. Stat.)
The major source of the single-at-30 angst comes from what I'll call the Wooderson Effect. The most well-known quote from Dazed & Confused is the scene where Wooderson says, "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age."
This quote goes beyond Wooderson and high school girls. It applies to guys and girls of any age. If you need proof, look no further than Donald Trump or Hugh Hefner. During our internship in California five years ago, the HGOC and I witnessed it repeatedly. We'd go to the Calabasas Commons for lunch and often see 50- to 60-year-old men with beautiful girls in their 20s.
As a guy, I see a lot of promise in the Wooderson Effect and can understand why being single at 30 is a slightly mortifying thought to some girls. But for every Hugh Hefner, there is an Adam Duritz.
I've seen Adam Duritz a few times in the neighborhood. One particular night, I saw him with a very pretty blonde, checking out restaurants around the Lafayette-Great Jones intersection. I was waiting for a friend to pick me up for a futbol game, so I was able to observe them for a good ten minutes. They seemed very comfortable with each other, as if they had been dating for a decent amount of time. I was able to get a good-enough look at the girl to deduce that there was no way she was below 30 or over 40.
This last point surprised me. I expected Adam Duritz to date 20-year-olds until "Mr. Jones" became a golden oldie. He is the frontman lothario of Counting Crows and got Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston to break the "I Won't Date My Best Friend's Ex" rule. However, based on what I saw that evening, he preferred the company of someone closer to his age. I'm guessing he already went through that phase in his life and realized, "These girls are hot, but I have nothing in common with them."
I completely understand him. I went on a date with a 19-year-old last year. My guy friends gave me high-fives and nods of approval, while my female friends called me a predator, probably because they were 26, alone and single (JK! JK!). In my defense, I'm going to bring up the Predator Rule -- divide your age by 2 and add 7. Dating someone below this age gets you the creep ticket. I was 25 at the time, so 19.5 was my floor. I'm going to say the girl was 19 and 7 months, so I'm safe.
In any case, the girl was very pretty. She was a sophomore (yup--keep laughing) at FIT, so she had some great style and didn't dress her age. The only problem, besides the fact that she used a fake ID to order her beer, was that her stories ranged from how much more mature she was than her friends (she is an out-of-state student, so she knew how to do laundry and shop for groceries because she couldn't rely on her parents to do that stuff for her), to her internship and major. Cool story, Hansel. I'm actually surprised she didn't ask me whether I prefer beer or hard liquor or debate the pros and cons of getting simultaneously high and drunk.
The disparity in maturity levels is simply a byproduct of the age gap. There are certain things in life you can only experience with age. Sometimes this causes pronounced differences, which can be too difficult to overcome. Some guys, like Hugh Hefner, are more focused on physicality and couldn't care less about this issue. Other guys, like Adam Duritz, care about the whole package and have a hard time looking beyond it.
To my female readers, I don't think you have to worry about the Wooderson Effect. Yes--it's appealing to all guys, but in the end the majority of us will follow the footsteps of Adam Duritz. We're looking for a complete package. None of you are gold-digging attention whores willing to sleep with an 83-year-old just for the money -- at least I don't think any of you are -- so you're prime finds.
Like I told that Korean girl, "You're young. Everything will be fine. Really."