Sunday, February 9, 2014

40 Is The New 20

They say that age is just a number.  But when it comes to dating, how low can you go?  This week I attempted to test the limits.  It all started with an innocent conversation at the bar on Thursday night.  I was at another one of those singles events.  This time it was a happy hour in Royal Oak.

I was standing at the bar when a cute guy came up next to me to order a drink.  He had sandy blonde hair and glasses.  He was wearing a grey wool pea coat with a matching scarf and gloves that had the fingers cut out.  Urban hipster with a hint of mischief.

I turned to him and asked if he was here for the event, and he said yes.  Since the singles mixer participants are allowed to roam freely among the other bar patrons, it is always good to check first. 

We started up a conversation while he was waiting for his drink and then he just sort of hung around.  As we spoke I detected a slight accent.  I asked where he was from originally and it turns out that he was from England and moved here for work a few years ago.  The accent only added to his charm.

A few people next to us were complaining that Valentines Day was coming up and that there was another mixer event scheduled for the day before Valentines Day.  They were lamenting that should host an I Hate Valentine's Day party.

"I actually like Valentines Day," I interjected.  "After all, it is a holiday that celebrates love.  What can be better than that?"

"So, you are a hopeless romantic," he said.

"Absolutely," I said.  "I am just optimistic about love."

"Me too," he said.  "I love to do little things for the girl I am dating.  Just to see her smile."  He seemed to good to be true.

The more we talked, I learned that he was a wheel designer for an automotive company.  I never realized that every car has a slightly different hubcap design.  He pulled up a few recent designs on his phone and showed me the photos with an air about him that was both confident and humble.  Completely adorable.

"Just to recap, you are cute and British and you have a great job,"  I flirted with him.  "So why exactly are you still single?"

He just smiled and glanced down at the bar.  "I guess I just haven't found the right girl yet."

We continued our conversation with ease.  I told him about my job and how it just pays the bills.  And that someday I would like to quit my job and become a writer.  He shared that he has a similar fantasy about quitting his job to open his own toy design studio.  We were like kindred spirits, planning our eventual escape from corporate America to pursue our dreams.

Something about taking to this cute little Stateside Brit was so intoxicating.  He listened to my stories with genuine interest and asked "first date" type questions to get to know me better.  I felt like the best and most fascinating version of myself. 

"So, do you want kids?"  He asked me out of the blue.

"I would love to have kids someday."  I answered before I even realized what I was saying.  I was so caught up in the conversation and the idea of what my future could be, without being weighed down by all of the choices of my past that have led me up to this point.

"So, you are smart and pretty.  And you want kids.  I guess I should ask you why you are still single?  Are you one of those crazy girls?"  He joked.

"No, I am definitely not crazy."  I said.  "But there is something that might be a deal breaker." 

"You have six toes!"  He jumped in before I could reveal my secret.

"No, I actually have very cute feet,"  I said.  "But I think that would be less of a deal breaker than this."

"Not in the summertime!"  He laughed.  "Ok, seriously.  What is it?"

"Well, I think we might have a bit of an age gap."  I began.  "I am 42." 

"What?!?!  You're kidding right?"  He said.  "You do not look 42."  I am lucky that I have always looked young for my age.  And it was flattering to see the true sense of shock on his face when I told him my age.

"So how old are you, 32?"  I asked hopefully.  He just held out his thumb, indicating for me to go lower.  "30?"  I said, still holding out for any age that started with the number three.

"Nope, I am 26."  He revealed.  We both stood there for a moment before he broke the silence.  "I knew you were older than me, but I was hoping for 35."

"Me too!"  I said.  We both laughed.  "Actually, if either of us were 35 that could totally work."  He nodded in agreement.

Despite our age difference, he still had my phone number.  And he gave me a warm hug before he headed toward the door.  He had promised to text me sometime so we could go ice skating and hold hands in the park.

As I drove home that night, I was wishing that my hopeless romantic Stateside Brit would follow his heart and text me.  But as I sit here on Sunday evening, I realize that he must have let his head take the lead on this one. 

While it would have been fun to go on a date with him and see where things could lead, I am pretty sure I already know the answer.

Maybe 40 can't be the new 20.  As much as I would love to turn back time, that is not the way the world works.  Even if I was 20 again, my Stateside Brit would only be six years old!

The thing I enjoyed most about talking to him was the feeling of unbridled optimism.  Like anything was possible.  Most people in our 40's carry a lot of baggage with us. Whether it is the things we have done or the things we regret not doing.  Somehow I need to move forward with my life and find a way to leave all of that baggage behind me. 

I noticed the age range for the next event is 38-47.  Maybe I should try my luck there.


Anonymous said...

Love this Andy Rooney quote...hope you do too
Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?", here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!”
― Andy Rooney

Anonymous said...

Interesting perspective:
It’s not the age that’s the problem; it’s the maturity of both parties. And there are also loads of other factors that affect a relationship. You can’t really classify people based on their age, on one hand there are some people who never grow up and on the other there are teenagers who are mature beyond their years. Even a couple with a large age gap could be compatible with each other; it all comes down to their personality.

Anonymous said...

If anything, it was a fun night. All we can do it wake up day to day and see what life wants to offer us. That day it was a 26 year old. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. The challenge is knowing who you are and being open and confident - and you've got that!

Anonymous said...

And yet ... Johnny Depp at 50 just got engaged to a 27 year old. Age may be just a number but confidence and success in life still can close those gaps pretty darn fast. I'm sorry your Brit wasn't just a little more willing to take a chance.

Anonymous said...

But the best part is, you WERE willing to take a chance, and you still can when it's right!