When it comes to dating, I’m way too open-minded.
Last year, I realized that maybe I should start having stricter standards for who I’ll date. You know, require that a man own a home, have a job, stuff like that. Finding those restrictions a bit picky, a friend and I devised a new strategy: We’d spend 2010 focusing on dating older guys. It made sense: they have good jobs, they’re settled and own homes, and they’ve finally gotten to the point in their lives where they know how to treat a woman. We called it the “Grown Men in 2010” challenge, and endeavored to meet as many men at least ten years older than us, but not old enough to be our fathers, as we could.
After about a year of this nonsense, I learned that dating the grown and sexy is just not for me, for six good reasons:
1. Throwback Vocabulary. I dated Steve, 41, and he was a fun guy, but half of what came out of his mouth seemed like it was from a House Party 2 outtake. He regularly referred to sex as “getting busy,” or “knocking boots,” which is a lot more of a turn-off when such phrases are used on the first date, believe me. The idiosyncrasy that would finally drive me crazy was his habit of shouting “boo-yeah!” whenever he made a particularly funny joke, saw something interesting, or really just anytime he felt like it. Being around him was like reliving all of the most mediocre catch-phrases of 1992.
2. Throwback Fashions. I could not deal with Sam’s wardrobe, and as much as I know all 42-year-old men don’t dress as badly as he did, I’m still sort of traumatized. He probably never dressed well anyway, but he somehow stopped updating his look around the time that ribbed turtlenecks and Rocawear cargo jeans were hot, and he’s not the only man of his age that I’ve seen rocking pants that look inspired by the Michael Jordan Jean Collection. Huge patches, odd-stitching, and random rips in your grown man denim isn’t just unattractive, it’s embarrassing.
3. The Haircut. When I first met Will, 42, he admitted that he needed a haircut, an admission that wasn’t necessary because it was clear that he did. Dude was wolfin’, but I’m opened minded so I took his number and we arranged a date. That night he showed up well-dressed and with a fresh cut alright – a flattop. It wasn’t even a full-on flattop, just short enough on the sides and full enough on top that it was clear he was still aiming for a played out style – the Kwesi Mfume, if you will. Not cool.
4. Medications: I got over myself about Sam’s wardrobe and started seeing him more seriously. One day, I opened up his medicine cabinet (I know, I had no business) and a bottle of Avodart tumbled out. I spent the rest of the evening wondering what exactly the stuff was before finally Googling it – the drug treats prostate enlargement. We’re all human beings in a state of constant decay, yeah I get that and none of us are safe from medical problems. But I’m not ready to think about anybody’s prostate for at least another decade. Let’s grow old together, dude. Don’t beat me to it.
5. Grown Kids. Will had a 21-year-old son who still lived at home and was a real cutie, much more so than his father. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do the math and realize that although he may not have been old enough to a rent a car and could barely buy alcohol, this kid was closer to my age than his dad was. These “cougar” scenarios appear so often in Lifetime movies and bad erotica that I blame pop culture, not my inappropriateness, for noticing what a fine little tenderoni the young man was…until he started addressing me as “Ma’am,” and then eventually “Miss Thembi,” extinguishing all of my cougar dreams.
6. Immaturity. What, you thought that older men are more mature than young ones? Nope. I mistook Steve’s immaturity for a good-natured and kind of simple personality. He turned out to be the type of guy who mainly cared about drinking and hanging out with his raggedy friends, a group that was thinning by the year as it lost members to wives, careers…you know, actual adulthood. One day Sam invited me to a family barbecue and I found out that his entire family still calls him “Boobie,” and his mother will do an occasional load of laundry for him. Grown men who still go by childhood names? I’ll pass.
Although dating a “grown and sexy” man may seem appealing, I found that it just wasn’t for me. Having to deal with inappropriate wardrobes, brothas who mamas still washed their clothes, and men perpetually stuck in 1992 just wasn’t for me. From now own, I’ll stick to men my own age, thanks.
Have you ever dated an older man? Would you?