My friend Lindsay's friend, Michelle, hosted a 30th birthday bash for her friend, Beth, last Saturday night. So of course I was there.
And so was birthday girl Beth's friend Michael's friend, Rob. And Rob was hot.
Six-foot-two before breakfast, with broad shoulders and blue eyes, Rob had the kind of sarcastic bite that kept me entertained. He worked for a music label, traveled often and liked my smile. And for the first hour and a half of the party, he liked me -- until I mentioned that I was a junior at UCLA when the Bruins won the national championship.
"So wait, you graduated college in '96? I didn't even graduate high school until '97."
Insert awkward pause here.
And after what seemed like an excruciatingly long time for Rob to do the math, he said, "I can't believe you're 28. You don't look old."
And the round goes to Rob with the K.O. punch. I don't think of myself as old. I get carded often, I still wear pigtails and I have the same energy I had when I was a high school cheerleader (not to mention the uniform -- which comes out on occasion).
But none of that mattered to Rob once he discovered our age difference. I've heard younger men are supposed to find older women alluring, because we're experienced vixens who can teach them a thing or two. But Rob wasn't interested in a private lesson with me. He mumbled something about me being old enough to have seen "Star Wars" in the theater and him being born in the '80s. Then he grabbed his full beer cup, said he needed a refill and sprinted toward the nearest minor in a miniskirt. I was going to run after him, but who can run with my arthritis? Oy. An alter-kacker like myself doesn't need to go shlepping after some shmendrick she just met at a party.
Now, Rob's reaction to my Mrs. Robinson status would have hurt less had it been unique. But the truth is that not only do younger men prefer younger women -- older men prefer younger women. The guys who should be in my dating pool are splashing around in the kiddie pool. They, too, are looking to meet a barely legal girl. How low do they go?
Most men follow the Seven principle. To find their lowest dating denominator, guys divide their age by two then add seven. Any girl of that age is considered fair game. According to the formula, guys at 28 dip as young as 21. 40-year-old men are snogging with 27-year-old chicks. Even Abraham went 10 years younger with Sarah. And since that worked out pretty well, Jewish men feel free to follow in their patriarch's footsteps and date the younger babes.
So where does this leave me? Do I follow some predetermined dating age rule, too? Of course. All women do. The female formula for age and dating goes something like this:
Never discuss your age. Flirt at will.
Single gals are well aware that exposing our age to a suitor too soon has costly consequences. If our number's too high, men'll toss us in the ineligible pile faster than you can say early-bird special. Which is why we women reveal our cleavage, but not our age.
But why does age even matter? Why are men so determined to date younger women? It's a physical thing. Men are attracted to women who can still pull off knee socks and a little plaid skirt. And they prefer if you pull them off slowly. It's a Peter Pan thing. Men don't want to grow up, and they think dating a girl who is younger will keep them younger. And it's a commitment thing. Men are convinced that women past their mid-20s have just one thing on their minds. And it's five letters longer than what men have on their minds.
Well men, stop being so ageist. A 22-year-old with a Britney bod can be looking for kids, a picket fence, and a man on a short leash while a 35-year-old woman with a doctorate might be looking to play the field.
Young Rob was too quick to judge. He said himself that I didn't look old. And trust me, he was looking. And while I may be 28, I'm not some psycho husband hunter who's looking to lasso in any unmarried cowboy who happens to ride my way.
The point is, men should consider a woman's social age, not her actual age, when making a dating decision. But I'll be the Blanche Deveraux of Leisure World before men start thinking that logically.
Sure, fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, if you're young at heart. But in the L.A. singles scene, it'll happen a lot faster if you're young and hot.
Carin Davis, a freelance writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.