So, as you all know, I’ve been back at it with the dating. Let’s note: I’ve periodically invested some energy in the dating over the past 10 years, with limited successes. Now, I could chalk that up to my lack of commitment to doing it like a job (as I have done), or I could chalk that up to the fact that dating is not as easy in one’s 30s as in one’s 20s (as I’ve also done). Seriously: the last time I was really a total dating machine I was 24. And it was easy because I went to bars all the time, and I was in grad school and had comparatively few responsibilities. And I was the skinniest I’ve ever been in my life, and my hair was fabulous (though, to be fair, my hair is sort of that hair now, only with excellent color).
But this go-around with the dating is going shockingly well, in terms of levels of interest. Apparently, I am a delight. This is super strange to me. I’m 39 now. That is shockingly close to 40. And while I think I look just fine, I’m no spring chicken, and I’m no supermodel. And I don’t have long, flowing hair, and I totally say that the things I like to do in my spare time are to knit and to cook, which aren’t exactly “hot” pastimes.
I mean, I know I’m delightful, but wasn’t I equally or even more delightful at 32? Or 36? Apparently not.
And I’m not doing anything differently than I was doing it in the months leading up to meeting The Dude. For serious: I just slapped my old profile up on the Dating Site when I went back to it last month. I didn’t revise what I had to say about myself, nor did I change up the pictures. And I haven’t been investing any significant energy in contacting people or in responding to them. And I remain choosey: I’ve totally just deleted interested dudes because something in their profile didn’t seem to fit with what I’m looking for, or because I thought they were totally disgusting looking, or because they were old, or whatever. I’m certainly not more open-minded than I was a year ago, and I’m certainly not giving any old loser a chance.
And yet… the levels of interest are shockingly high. (And, strangely, shockingly high with guys who are 3-5 years younger than I am, or who are just about my age.) I went out already with that one guy whom I will never see again (just not a match, which I kind of knew from the get-go, but I needed to get back on the horse), and I’ve got two dates lined up with suitors who might actually have some potential. And another guy is waiting in the wings whom I’ve not yet bothered to really consider because just TWO guys are a LOT, I feel. What. The. Hell. Oh, and The Dude continues to profess his undying and yet totally stupid and unavailable love.
One theory I have about my new-found popularity with the opposite sex is analogous to how things work in real estate. You know how a house is on the market for like 2 years straight and so nobody wants to see it because something must be wrong if it hasn’t sold yet? I think that maybe the same thing might apply to online dating profiles. In taking myself down during the 8 months I was with The Dude, and then “re-listing” myself at the right moment, perhaps I’ve changed how desirable I am, even though nothing about me has changed. Perhaps I’ve changed my fortune to being a “hot new listing,” or something.
But that doesn’t explain the fact that I am now seemingly desirable to guys who are either the same age or younger than I am. When I was in my early 30s, it seemed that all the guys from 30-45 were interested in trying to date 25-year-olds. But I turn 39, and suddenly I’m like the coolest girl on the block? And one of my good friends, APS, is herself 32, and she’s totally like, “all the guys want to date 25-year-olds!” Well, it might seem that way, but apparently they also really want to date 39-year-olds. Or at least 39-year-old me. Bizarre.
Whatever. The whole thing is mystifying. Apparently I’m having some sort of dating renaissance. It’s like I’m a girl of 24, except with a tenured faculty position and a mortgage and two cats and a serious knitting habit, who has written a book. Oh, but actually, I do have something in common with 24-year-old me: I don’t actually care about having a boyfriend, because I think I’m great as I am. So perhaps the secret to my success is that I’m totally cool with me on my own? Huh.