Age can be a deal breaker for me, especially when the guy is younger than me. Not because I’m like, ya know, supes mature, but because the conversation doesn’t really click. Things we like to do or talk about sync with our age, which really became apparent over the last few years when all of these old bands started going back on tour.
Me: “I can’t wait to see GNR at Soldier Field this weekend!”
Me: Welcome to the Jungle. Paradise City.
Whether I was in my 20s, 30s or now in my 40s, the age gap was just too much. When I was 35, I met a guy out in the college town I was living in at the time. He was ten years younger than me. His name was Donnie, but I only called him Don. He was finishing his undergrad degree because he worked full time. Sometimes we would grab a late dinner after his night classes, and I asked him to leave his backpack in the car. He always wanted to FaceTime instead of text or call. He would invite me to his friends’ parties, and even though I never went, photos popped up in my Facebook feed where he was passed out on floor under a chair with a pile of beer cans by his head.
He was a good dude, but changing his name and avoiding his friends weren’t enough to make it work. He still sends me a random text or comments on a Facebook post. He just turned 30 this year. When we met, I didn’t know he was so young. He was funny and charming, so meeting people in person makes it harder to stick to my age rule … two years younger, five years older. It’s easy to dismiss guys based on age when dating online because I set my boundaries so these young guys don’t even pop up. I never even know they are there. But I like to talk to people when I’m out and about. That’s one of the reasons I like going out, so I’ve been getting better at guessing age before engaging in conversations. Here are a few ways I’ve learned to narrow down the crowd by age.
Arcade Bars: These video game bars are popping up across the country with games that span the last few decades. While there are some exceptions, for the most part we gravitate to the games that we used to play as a kid, so I post up at Ms Pacman for the night. I avoid the guys who walk by making comments about how old that game is. I watch for guy who play the games around that same childhood memory time, like Frogger and Dig Dug. I avoid the guys who settle in at Mario Kart and Golden Eye 007 … I used to babysit those kids.
Concerts: Another age-defining avenue is music. When a song comes on from the 90s, I look around to see who recognizes it. Check to see who is singing along. Who seems annoyed or is mocking it. Cover bands are a great way to get a feel for the room. Going to some of these nostalgic concerts, like Guns-N-Roses and I Love The 90s, usually means thousands of people who hovering around my age.
Movie Theaters: While movies aren’t great places to meet people, going to see old movies back in the theater for their anniversaries (e.g. Top Gun, Ferris Bueller) or checking out sequels like Dumb and Dumber To, sometimes works.
The Max: So let’s talk about the pop-up restaurant in Wicker Park that has a communal table where you can eat with strangers. Who will you meet at that table? Will it be a bunch of preppies be there or is this a girls’ night out place? Looking for random events like this should help me find fun people who are also around my age.
But if it turns out they aren’t close to my age, I’m still going to give them a chance if we can get past that first conversation. However, I’m not going to change my age settings on Tinder … your high school letter jacket still can’t have any zeroes on it unless it’s 1990. How do you find people your age when you’re out? Do you let age get in the way of love?