At 23, dating young is complicated by that pesky “college” business.Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled you’re educating yourself; I just think it might be hard to date you right now. I buy vegetables and change my sheets on a reasonably regular basis.I know there's a lot that goes into the mix--personality, zest for living, confidence, etc., and maybe I'm warped by my few experiences. I've dated women 10 years younger (when I was 35) and 10 years older (when I was 40). Personality, positivism, humor, attitude, and enthusiasm matter much more after that first 2 minutes. It's a nice place to meet people and get past that first 2 minutes.But given a choice and all else being equal, wouldn't most men over, say, 40, prefer dating women who are substantially younger? It's also a way to "meet men" without being in a place to "meet men" (like a bar). I am at the age where, for health reasons, I don't need a woman unless she is a nurse but when I was 40ish I lived several years with a woman who was 60ish and found nothing about her unattractive that was age related.I felt like every time we went to a fancy restaurant, the maître d' thought I was Michael's daughter.We would kiss at the table, and I'd catch (or maybe it was my imagination) the waiter's surprised look, and then I felt like he'd pegged me as some kind of gold-digger.
When I moved to New York right after college, finding a boyfriend was the last thing on my mind. I knew that if he knew I was 22 the conversation would soon be over, and I was enjoying it, despite myself. Two minutes later, I got a text."My name is Michael…in case you forgot." I had forgotten. "I didn't want to blurt out how old I was at dinner after you went on and on about what a big age difference eight years was. " Michael protested."You were supposed to say your real age, like I did! He was so different from the guys my age I 'd met in the city, eager for the drunk bar make-out but far less eager to have a girlfriend. I delayed taking him out with my friends, because I was worried he wouldn't fit in. We went to a dive bar in the Lower East Side with a bunch of my friends.At 21, we’re at the statistical height of our appeal, desirable to men of all ages, sought after, and buried under a barrage of adoring messages. At 26, men suddenly win the numerical upper hand and after 30, well… You could remove the gendered notation and make it more politically correct, but a mathematical equation is hardly the best way to measure compatibility.I’ve been on a lot of dates of late, and in spite of the wide parameters I think I want, and the results of that flimsy formula, I’ve found that my “sweet spot” was smaller than I thought.I’m guessing they check out my profile, see my age, and probably read no further.Even if I am within their desired range, I still don’t get much of a response.I'm especially interested in getting the male point of view, but I'd welcome the female opinions, too.