Setting the Bar

Aug 8, 2013 by

          As repeatedly noted, my preferred dating age range is 24 to 28. Lately, I’ve been wondering if I set the bar too low by considering 24- and 25-year-old guys. I’ve always tended to gravitate toward older people. As a little girl, I sat and spoke with adults instead of playing with other kids at family events. (Side rant: Children deserve more credit than they’re given by adults. Many people speak too freely in front of them, thinking that they’re not paying attention or that the conversational content is beyond their grasp. Be assured, kids are listening. They understand far more than most adults realize. At an early age, I learned to keep my distance from my extended family based on discussions I was privy to when adults thought that I was too young to pick up on the meanings of their blatant words, which I’m sure they assumed were cleverly disguised by unbreakable childproof codes. Adults can be so oblivious to children. I promised myself to maintain this awareness once I became one.) Following suit as an early-twenty-something, many of my friends vary in age between late twenties and thirties. Of course, I have some friends closer to my age, but they’re fewer in number. I was recently asked why I have primarily older friends. I wasn’t sure how to answer that. I hadn’t really noticed. “It kind of just worked out that way,” I guessed, inexplicably happy to have friends at all. Having thought about it since, I’ve realized that it worked out that way because, despite physically appearing younger than I am, I carry myself as though I’m older – or so I’m told.

          Consequently, I’ve found that guys within a few years of my age do not match my maturity level. Not all of them are immature by comparison to me, but many are. (I hate writing that. Talking up my maturity level makes me feel pretentious and ironically less mature. I tried to think of other ways that I could accurately articulate myself, but relative immaturity is the best way to explain the disconnect. It’s not that I’m above these guys by any means. It’s that our demeanors and intentions tend to widely differ, frequently resulting in incompatibility.) My speculations about the appropriate ages for me to date were supported on Tuesday night by an evening with a guy from speed dating.

          Before the night began, I didn’t know how old he was, but I got the sense that he was at the higher end of my selected age bracket from the moment he suggested meeting at a wine bar in the Distillery District. Impressive. I don’t even like wine that isn’t ice, but I’m easily smitten by wine bars since my late night frolics through Rome last summer. The one he chose distinctly mimicked the character of the Distillery District with its beautifully exposed bricks protruding from the walls and curved chandeliers dripping from the ceiling. The class exuded by the atmosphere secured him a favourable second impression. This guy was accumulating bonus points from the moment I walked through the door.

          Sophisticatedly dressed in a fitted skirt that fell just above the knee and a pink blouse with a lace back, I saw the guy I first met on a four-minute date two weeks before, sharply dressed in a pinstriped, collared shirt. This was the first time I had ever been out with a guy in a setting that prompted him to wear a dress shirt. Again, I was impressed. (I probably sound easily impressed. This would be because I’ve been subjected to some terrible dates with some shitty guys. A younger Maria was too naive to know that the dates she went on and the guys she went with were subpar. I can’t blame her. No one, including herself, had ever set the bar high enough. Attention all future dates: The bar has now been set. Plan accordingly.) I took my seat at the bar and ordered a whiskey sour in place of my usual amaretto. (Before I had gotten there, he had texted me to ask if I wanted him to order me anything. I was five minutes away, so I told him that I’d be there soon. How considerate, I thought, as I glanced at my phone, stunned. Was he real? This rhetoric was immediately followed by retrospective concern for Past Maria’s unsound judgement of guys, particularly in light of Present Maria’s astonished responses to basic dating etiquette. Poor thing, Past Maria didn’t even conceive the degree of douchiness she stooped to. Relative awareness is deeply insightful.) Admiring the elegance surrounding me, I understood the significance of a well thought-out date. I’ve always been fairly easy to please in the dating world, preferring simplicity over theatrics. I’d be satisfied with a guy taking me for a walk, assuming that he delivers on good conversation. However, I couldn’t help but be charmed by the idea of dating more guys with enough calibre to want to plan to impress me. Suddenly, the carelessly devised dates of my past didn’t meet my standards, and thankfully so. Going forward, I want to go out with guys who take initiative.

          Flowing on easy, continuous conversation, the evening quickly disappeared into midnight. He was as sociable as he was when I met him, and I was fascinated by his travels. He’s been all over North America through work, intriguing me with stories of Miami, El Paso, LA, New Orleans, and more. I could listen to people talk about the world forever, so I was in pleasant company. Forced out by the departing wait staff at the end of the night, we trailed over rain-dampened cobblestones sparkling in the street lights before parting at goodbye. Though this guy demonstrated quality and progressed through the night without boring me, I don’t see him going past the first date. There was just no spark.

          Even so, in the span of a few hours, my expectations climbed, foreshadowing the coming of dating prospects above those of my past, as I now know to X guys at the mere mention of coffee (perhaps, unless I meet them online, just to be safe). This guy was 27, by the way. I wasn’t surprised. The chances of going to a place like that with a guy only a couple of years my senior would have been slim. After careful consideration, I’ve decided to keep my desired boyfriend age range set at 24 to 28 for now, with an established preference for guys 26 plus. My rationale is that I could come across a diamond in the 24- to 25-year-old rough that I have a connection with, so I don’t want to completely disregard guys of those ages just yet (although, I am rapidly losing my patience for them). However, I now know to put more focus on searching for someone amongst guys at least three years older than me, who know how to plan a date. Standards. Raised.

 
Previous: Travel Tradeoffs Next: The Pressure Build
 

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