Should Women Over 30 (Like Me) Swear Off Younger Dudes?

A commenter writes in to tell me I'm wasting my time with younger dudes--that the vast majority of them will be capable of a meaningful long-term relationship. (Which begs the question: What kind of relaitonship am I really after?) Peeps: What do you think? Is it all right to date one or two younger men, tops, but should a lady of 30+ years move on after that? Or should I be looking for a connection, the age thing be damned? Or am I gonna end up 40, 45, 50-- lonely and miserable--with that kind of attitude?


I'm still stressed, still tired (a little less so), still planning to hang with Hot Band Guy this weekend.

And on Monday, I'm thinking about recommending some books to read over the holidays--mostly older ones that I love, though maybe some newer ones too. Would you guys be into that? This is a democracy here, after all--albeit one run by Maura Kelly, Blogger-Despot.

Also, last Sunday, my novelist friend Diana Spechler and I organized a little gathering for singles people that went off pretty well, if we do say so ourselves, So I'd like to tell you about that at some point soon, too.

But for today, I want to ask you guys what you think about one of the comments posted on Wednesday, November 18.

One reader wrote in to say:


is 28 years old and unemployed. ... There is nothing wrong with [that] and there is nothing wrong with [Maura being a few years older than that.] But

the combination suggests that this is not going to be a

relationship that leads to marriage.

At 28, most guys who are hot and in bands are are able to date girls who are 22. Also, his being unemployed ... does suggest that HBG is not

exactly in a position to settle down and start a family -- and may not

be for several years.

While HBG may view himself as open to a being in a long-term

relationship with you, t's one thing to consider that possibility

abstractly and another to buy a several-thousand-dollar engagement ring ....

Unless you really don't want to get married, you should consider that.

Sure, fairy tales happen and true love knows no age boundaries, etc.,

but realistically, you should be looking to a guy who is around 40-45

years old and at a stable place in life. ... I think you need to focus quickly and sharply and not

invest time or energy in relationships that are unlikely to lead to


When I read this for the first time, I sighed, thinking--Right, plenty of people really do think that way.

And then I wondered: Should I be thinking that way?

The first time I ever gave much thought to the idea that anyone might be (shall we say) excessively goal-oriented about "romance"+marriage was not that long ago. I was out on a date with a 38-year-old dude--i.e. a senior citizen in my book (kidding!). Things were not going well; he had a nervous energy I didn't like. So after one drink, I indicated I was ready to take off.

In a very unpleasant way, he said, "But you haven't gotten your dinner yet! And isn't that what you signed up for--a free meal?"

After putting my hand under my right buttock so I wouldn't haul off and slug him, I asked him what in the hell he meant by the free meal crap. That was all the invitation he needed to go off on a diatribe about how women of a certain age (i.e. my age and older)were only interested in assessing how much money a guy had, and in pressuring him to start thinking about marriage after Date #5 .... He went on and on about how rapacious women are, and I thought: This guy is completely effed in the headWhat a preconceived notion about me he had before he walked into this night.

I told him I never wanted to get married at all--that marriage was just an old-fashioned custom that had originated so that men could treat women like posessions, and I didn't need it. Then I threw some money on the bar and blew that popsicle stand.

Since then, this kind of thing has come up much more often: Men have mentioned that they encounter a lot of women who want to know right away where things are going. And, really, fair enough, and power to those women who do want to get married, for not wasting time.

But I'm not sure I'm capable of that kind of pragmatism, for better or worse--richer or poorer. I want to find true love, the real connection--and I think it could happen with someone 5 years younger (which is roughly the age difference between Barnaby and me) or someone ten years my senior (thought I haven't gone on multiple dates with anyone older than me since I was 25). I don't feel muchcompunction to narrow my "search" to dudes born before I was. At this point, I recognize it's going to be really f*cking hard to find anyone I could settle down with ... so, till I get shot in the arm with Cupid's arrow, I will remain footloose and fancy-free. (To hell with barefoot and pregnant.)

All the same ... I'm I just being stupidly stubborn? An idiotic idealogue? Should I swear off Baby Firemen types, bad boys, all the young Turks--and get serious?

Lovelies: What do you think? What would you do? What have you done? What lessons can you lay on us, from personal experience?



dear commenters:

Is it just me, or are there a few other people out there who are half in love with Arshile Gorky? Laura? Edwinna? Dr. Jones? (For the record, Edwinna, I said almost verbatim what you said about him when I tweeted about his comment.) ... And Diane, thank you for letting me know about MSN! That made my day. ... And Lost Male! I'm so glad you've found the blog. Keep letting me know what you think! xxx