Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Educating the future of America

Dear 25-and-under dudes:

What is your deal with women my age? Some of you aren't even out of school yet, and you want to date me. You IM me, you email me, you ask to buy me drinks in bars, and you are never dissuaded when I tell you I'm 35! You tell me I look 26, you tell me you 'love the hair', you tell me 'there's just something about an older woman'. What is that thing, exactly? My grandmother thinks it's a sex thing. "They want you to teach them a few things," she once told me.

Eek. I am not Demi, nor are you Ashton. I am definitely not Dr. Ruth. My online profile specifically states that I'm looking for guys in the mid 30s to mid 40s range.

You are all way smoother than I was at your age, which I find both comical and endearing.

What am I supposed to do with you? I can't bring you home to Dad. My girlfriends, the youngest of whom is 26, would think I had lost my shit. My 31 year old sister would probably have me committed. Even if I braved all of that, what the hell are you and I going to talk about? I'm not saying that you're inarticulate or ignorant of world events just because of your age. It's just that so many of your online profiles overflow with your love of Xbox and Howard Stern. On my last outing with my thirtysomething friends, we talked about Darfur, economic growth in China and Super Tuesday. We also talked about squashing, because we'd had a few drinks and are fascinated by weird fetishes, but you get my point.

Another thing: some of y'all are irredeemably cocky.

Take TimTom, for example (not his real screen name). TimTom, 25, emailed me a few months ago to say:
I always say I want someone who can be spontaneous but slow down and enjoy the finer things in life. Damn you had to be 35 huh??? anyways, cool personality! Enjoy it! It's unique.

That's a nice thing to say, isn't it? I was flattered. I also figured that was the end of it. I was swamped at work that week, so I didn't respond right away, although I intended to send back a 'thanks for that, take care' email. I've done that before, and readers, not many women do it, because guys often don't act right when they feel protected by the anonymity of the internet. I actually believed that TimTom was just being friendly and flirty with no further intentions.

I was mistaken. Two days later, I received this angry email:
A thank you would be nice, you dont have to be rude to me. We dont owe each other much, but for a random compliment, being polite goes a long way. I would like to talk to you, and I am very upfront with people. I am not here to get into your pants you are out of my age range, but I like your personality non the less.

Did I miss something? How was I supposed to know that this dude was trying to strike up a correspondence? Was I supposed to know that I had a deadline to respond? Why would anything I did matter to Tim, who had already made it clear that I was too old for him?

Well, readers, I do aim to please. TimTom wanted a response, and he got one:
Um, what? Why am I getting scolded by somebody I've never met or even spoken to? I don't owe you a reply within a certain amount of time, dude. I've been busy at work and haven't been emailing anybody. Maybe I would have written you back once I read your first email, but there's no chance of that now.

Okay, well, I did write him back, but I had to call him out on his sense of entitlement. I have a tendency to attack the entitled. I simply do not understand people who feel that complete strangers owe them something, and I feel this overwhelming need to knock them down a peg. "We don't owe each other much"? You're a complete stranger, homes. I don't owe you anything.

I thought there was no way TimTom would email me back after that rant, but he did. Ladies and Gents, I present a classic example of The Dudely Backpedal:

Not scolding, Just expressing what I feel. Dont take email personal, it's only words your mind forms the expression and mood. Too many people misunderstand this, and that leads to miscommunication which leads to hurt feelings. I admire your confidence.

Oh, it was all a misunderstanding! Thanks for clearing that up so eloquently, Tim. I'm just a silly little girl who no understand da Engliss. I appreciate you taking the time to soothe my hurt widdle fee-fees. My hero!

Telling someone how they should have reacted to an email is presumptuous, Tim. You didn't hurt my feelings, you pissed me off by being rude. Try to use your "words your mind forms" to be a little nicer to the next woman that you email. I am out of your age range, as you said, so why don't we just leave it there?

Predictably, Tim couldn't leave it there.
Are you normally agressive like that? I am curious before I get off here to know because you seem like you want a friendship but your throwing my words back at me. If I truly pissed you off it wasnt intentional, I talk my mind. Isnt that better than someone who continuously kisses your ass until they get what they want and leave?

Oh, lord. In one email, Yours Truly was transformed from a confused shrinking violet into Boudica. Might as well have fun with it, right?

No, Tim, I fire back when someone is rude to me. Live and learn - you can speak your mind without being a jerk. I don't put up with rudness, ass kissing, or any kind of nonsense. That's one reason I don't date young - you're way out of my "age range", too. Take this as a lesson to act right if you like confident, mature women. Good luck to you.

I chucked a great deal of TimTom's attitude up to his age and inexperience with women. I showed my friend Liz our correspondence; after she shook her head and laughed, "Only you," she clicked on his full profile, which I will paraphrase:
I am very busy and have plenty of friends. I don't need a girlfriend, don't have time for one at this point. My friends keep me busy and women come second and they need to know that.

Translation: how do I talk to a girl? They have vaginas and I'm scared. I try to sound smart by insulting them. Someone help!

TimTom had fully deserved the email takedown that I had unleashed on him, but I started to soften up after reading his profile. Like the little boy on the playground who gets nervous around the girls in his class, Tim was just pulling my pigtails. I understand that boy very well, because I used to punch the crap out of him when he pulled my ponytail in grade school.

As if he'd read my mind, Tim emailed me again.
I don't totally agree with what you're saying but I am going to thank you for your opinion. As you say live and learn. If we can be friends I can use the use the extra knowledge. Maybe you can tell me more about what a woman wants and how to find a more confident mature woman? I am really tired of dealing with all the 23-28 year old drama.

I feel you, TimTom. Truce!
Fair enough, Tim. I am not a dating coach, but I would recommend that you keep it real. That's the best advice I can give anyone, and I follow that rule myself. Good luck.

Last week, Tim sent me another email:
Hey, I hope you are well and wanted to see how you've been.

That was sweet. I took another look at his profile, to see if he'd changed it. He had, and in it, he described himself as a good and loyal friend, someone who wants to meet nice, no-drama women for friendship or something more serious.

He did well! That attitude will most definitely help him with the ladies. I felt like a proud mama. I thought it best not to respond to his email, though. After all, he's out of my age range.

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Anonymous Olivia said...

Some woman in the future will thank you for taking the time to set this guy on the right path.

5:25 AM  
Blogger Linnaeus said...

What is your deal with women my age? Some of you aren't even out of school yet, and you want to date me. You IM me, you email me, you ask to buy me drinks in bars, and you are never dissuaded when I tell you I'm 35! You tell me I look 26, you tell me you 'love the hair', you tell me 'there's just something about an older woman'. What is that thing, exactly? My grandmother thinks it's a sex thing. "They want you to teach them a few things," she once told me.

Having once been a 25-and-under dude, and still knowing a few of them (in an oblique way), I might be able to shed some light on this, at least from the perspective of just one man. Forgive the bit of hyperbole that I'll be engaging in here.

I agree with your grandmother. It is (mostly) a sex thing. A lot of guys see "the older woman" as more alluring: she's the savvy, sophisticated, experienced woman who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to ask for it and show you how to do it. You'll show the younger guy the key to unlocking a woman's pleasure (since they haven't yet figured out or do not have the confidence yet to ask themselves) which they will then go on to use to please other women eventually (it's not like they were going to stay with you!).

There's an important subtext here that shouldn't be overlooked. Not only is the "older woman" more experienced, she's also good to go, much more so than these men think their female age-peers are. They've bought into the conventional wisdom that women "peak" in their 30s, are therefore super horny, and are out on the prowl for a younger man to satisfy them.

With respect to the latter point, I suspect (but cannot prove) that the proliferation of "mature" and "MILF" porn has contributed to this concept of older women that many men in their early to mid-20s have. They wouldn't say so openly (well, not to women, at least), but I wouldn't be surprised if their ideas about older women haven't been skewed by this kind of material even if they intellectually under stand that what they've seen is fantasy and not reality.

(Of course, there are women who do go for younger men. Get your groove on, I say. But I digress...)

It sounds like this man you've interacted with has the maturity to get past these simplistic notions. I hope he has done so, and he isn't just learning to "talk the talk" in a manipulative sort of way.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

As always, Linnaeus, a very thoughtful response. You've confirmed many of my theories, so thanks for that. At least I know I've got a fair grasp of what's going on here.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Linnaeus said...

Thank you, Ginger! Always glad to be of service. :)

7:37 AM  
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