The Age Debate

Remember in high school, when it was the epitome of cool to be seen with someone- anyone- from the grade above? Your popularity points sure went up. And conversely, you would never think of actually having a friend who was a grade or two below yours? And, strangely enough, it makes sense. At that age, youth go through puberty and all the other fun stuff, so not only are hormones off the wall, but students are being divided for the entire day.

We even had a "Seniors' Lounge" and anyone not in grade 12 would be dead. Not from anything physical, but from the cruelest of art forms: gossip and taunting. In other words, you were bullied till it hurt.

The point is, age difference was a big deal. And now that we're all older and (hopefully) more mature, what has changed and what are the new rules? Is there a "Seniors' Lounge" of the dating world?

For example, why is it that some men in their 30's are perfectly comfortable dating someone much younger while others avoid the 20-something range? And at a certain point, does age really matter anymore, as far as dating and mating is concerned? Or is it simply that as the age gap grows between a couple, the more likely that it revolves around sex?

Understandably, it's beyond dangerous and a crime for a young high schooler to be dating someone in their 20's- even if it's early 20's. But the sticky age range is when both people are 20-40. The kids that have hit puberty become teens who experience emotional growth and maturity. For the most part, everyone's at the same level once they hit legal age land. And this is where the confusion begins.

If there is a large age-gap between dater and datee, does that mean that there will be more discrepancy in the relationship? Girls mature faster than boys until about the age of 23. Then some crazy stuff happens. Interestingly enough, boys hit their sexual peeks in high school, whereas for women it's around the 30 age range. Can anyone say cougar? The more rapid maturing of girls will inevitably lead to them dating more mature people of the opposite sex, more mature then the average same-age male who still lives with his parents in the 'burbs.

The attraction to an older (preferably moneyed) man hits some ladies around the 20's. Not necessarily for marriage, but for a good time and to feel like they're being "taken care of".

There is this ever-present image of Anna-Nicole Smith and Mr. Moneybags whenever the issue of dating and age comes up. Maybe because age has a lot to do with money.

My friend *M is the epitome of this mindset. She is a harper for a man with money, connections, and some good looks. Age doesn't even factor in. When I told her the story of the balding man I met at the TIFF party, she counselled me to "use it and lose it!" This is a motto she utilizes effortlessly in her own life. So maybe the age thing varies from person to person.

Another person would argue it's more than age. Factors like money, looks, personality, and power come into play. But all of these things are developed as someone grows older, wiser, and all that jazz.

I'm seeing older guys just because of the experiences I've had with men of my age group. They ended poorly. I'm hoping that Mike will be different mainly because he's older- exactly 16 years older.

Just joking! He's 26. And the most important thing is that he is stable. It isn't something that I'm consciously looking for right now, since I'll be travelling for a year and I am definitely not looking for anything long-term and committal. Most certainly nothing that would define love.

Stability is something that all women secretly look for. He can be sexy and dangerous, but if he's a nomad at heart, it won't go anywhere fast.

But that's for another day. For now, I'm discovering whether I can sit in the Seniors' Lounge, or if I even want to.

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