There comes an age in every woman’s life when she begins to panic about anything and everything and starts to ponder exactly what her future holds. The age in question is 26. You suddenly realise that you can no longer tick the ’18-25′ box in surveys, that you’re no longer “in your early twenties”, and worse still, you are only four years away from the big 3-0 –eeeeekkk.
Suffice to say, I’m a firm believer that if a woman tells you she has not had a mild/moderate/massive breakdown at the age of 26, then she is a liar!
My moment of realisation came when I was watching the 2010 World Cup. I suddenly realised that the next time World Cup mania hit, I would be 30 and me lusting after the hot young footballers would no longer be funny, it would be a bit creepy. I didn’t want to be a cougar.
If, like I was, you’re single when you were/ are 26, then good luck! For being 26 and single is also the age when smug coupley friends and distant relatives who you only see at Christmas begin to ask you inane questions such as “how’s your love life?” This is usually followed by a sympathetic tilt of the head and a “chin up, plenty more fish in the sea” response as you tell them how your latest relationship has “fizzled out”.
There is hope however… read on… 26 is the age when you finally realise that dating a guy upwards of 35 years old isn’t gross. It’s ok. 35 isn’t actually that old. You realise that the men who tick the 30+ box on surveys are far more mature that their simpleton 20-something counterparts. I know, I know, some of you will disagree with this and say there are exceptions to this rule, – however generally speaking, I can’t help but think that the closer you are to 30, the more you should look at being with a guy who’s closer to 40.
There is one thing that you shouldn’t do (I am just starting to realise this) and that’s have a fling with a younger man. And by younger, I mean under 25. Seriously, the physical age gap may only be a year figuratively speaking, but the mental age gap is far wider. And it’s shocking.
I have recently had brief flings with three younger guys, all of which I don’t regret, but have fast learnt that they are not suitable for more than a few days fun;
First up was a 20 year old Mancunian. I met him on the East Coast when I was taking some time out from work and living the dream travelling across Australia (read: recapturing my youth). I knew he was 20, but I didn’t care. We had sex on the sand dunes on Fraser Island, then in our (very small) two man tent (which created a human sauna – not recommended). There were a few other times, oh the joys of the single bed whilst travelling! Yes this might sound slutty, but it was fun. I was travelling, and, as long as I was safe, who cares?! But more importantly, a 20 year old hot guy was interested in me! So I went along with it. Despite the fact he was truly dreadful in the sack and had an incredibly small penis. Hmmm come to think of it, he was also quite rude. On reflection, I wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole if I met him now. When you’re travelling, you do feel as though you’re in another world, and these things become insignificant. Would I introduce him to my friends and family back home? No. Would I want to see him again? No. So why do it for those brief moments where you feel young again? All that happens is they will meet someone younger than you – and you will be dropped quicker than last year’s X Factor winner.
Next up was a 19 year old Londoner. Not the sharpest tool in the box, and not even the best looking, but oozed confidence – and he told me he was 21. Not that that matters, let’s face it, 21 is still five years younger than 26! It took me a little while to work out if he was worth it or not, and when I did, I realised, it was the latter, shock! He was amazing in bed to his credit, but again, not someone you could seriously take home to meet your loved ones. He did drive a BMW though, and for a second, my former shallow, 18 year old self came back as I imagined cruising around the mean streets on suburban London, windows down and looking pleased with myself. Alas, it was not enough to make me actually want to see him again. Apart from the odd drunken text, it was not to be.
The final one/ nail in the coffin is a 23 year old Northerner who I met upon arriving in Sydney. Good looking, funny and smart with a good job and ambitions. Plus he was in a band. I have always wanted to date someone in a band (who hasn’t?). It was almost too perfect when we ended up having great sex too. It was quite unbelievable that we continued to see each other every day after that for a week straight. He seemed too good to be true. And that’s probably because he was.
After telling him I wanted something casual (having only just moved to Australia), he threw his toys out of the pram claiming that I was being too “dismissive” of what we could be. However, he calmed down and got over it by sleeping with someone else two days later. Typical.
So the guy I thought might just be worth breaking the golden rule of not seriously having a relationship with anyone under 25 for, had revealed himself to be exactly what I thought; too young. I told him I wanted to be friends, but in a moment of madness (mixed with alcohol) I slept with him again, despite my better judgements.
We get on fine, but it’s different. Gone are his pledges to take me on romantic dates, gone are the constant phone calls and kisses on the end of texts. I’m left with feeling shitty, whilst he is having his cake and eating it. Not a scenario I’m a) familiar with or b) particularly keen on.
In conclusion, I think the following analogy made by a male friend of mine (in response to my penchant for younger men) sums it all up; younger guys are like impulse buys – you think you want it, then you get it home and realise you’ll wear it once and never again. To this, I added that my most recent fling was more like a fancy dress outfit – fun to go out in once in a while, but would never wear whilst sober.