I spent my 20s working hard and making myself into a fun, mostly successful, well-rounded lady. Now that I’m in my 30s, it looks like most guys my age spent their 20s acting like they are still in college. How can I make a relationship work with these dynamics?
You know how in your favorite movie and mine, “Say Anything,” how Lili Taylor’s character set John Cusack straight? She told him, “The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don’t be a guy.”
It was good advice, and it holds up. It also applies to those folks looking to be in an honest-to-God / Allah / Buddha / Oprah relationship with a human of the male persuasion. The world is full of guys. Date a man. Don’t date a guy.
The tricky thing here is that yes, the world is full of guys. And yes, they get in the way, and make it harder to find the men. And men don’t all look like the Marlboro Man or the guy on Brawny paper towels. Some of them look like My Guy, with his silly logoed t-shirts and goofy grin. But he’s a man. He’s responsible and respectful. He’s comfortable in his own skin, and if he says he’s going to do something, he does it.
That’s what you’re looking for. Your job – if you’re looking for more than a good time or somebody to be in your fantasy football league – is to politely pass by the guys and find the men.
Like you, men are busy working hard and being well-rounded. I guess you could loiter about corporate parking lots to identify age-appropriate men who leave late, but not too late. Or go to the gym really early, when all the men work out before work. But really? I think you’ll get more sleep and avoid looking like a stalker if you just keep being your well-rounded self, but in some larger arenas. Expand your circle while you expand your comfort zone.
Join a sports league where you’ll meet new people. Commit to online dating. Volunteer. It’s all stereotypical advice, but stereotypes exist for a reason – there’s a kernel of truth. But what nobody tells you is that’s all about math.
Trust me. I was a Mathlete.
You can’t sub for 1 game of dodgeball and then proclaim that there are no eligible men in the league. Likewise, you can’t look at your eHarmony matches for free and then say you’ve tried online dating. You’ve gotta commit for months. A longer window of time will increase your sample size. It will introduce you to a larger pool of people – prospective dates, or a woman who’d love to set you up with her eligible man-brother, or whatever.
The more people you know, the larger your sample size. The larger your sample size, the greater probability that somebody will stick. To you. And you’ll stick right back.
There’s also some more complex equation that illustrates the importance of talking. Make small talk with the cute man-dodgeball-player. Or shoot an e-mail to the funny man-online-dating-profile-haver. I only took Math 10 in college, and I’m pretty sure this equation is calculus. But you know it’s there, and it’s true. Like gravity.
Dating takes tenacity. Be a woman, and stick with it. Somewhere, a man is wondering when he’s going to stop meeting chicks and get to date a woman like you.
I’m not a licensed anything, but I know stuff. Ask me questions in the comments, or at noodleroux (at) yahoo (dot) com.