The Shallow End — Not Just for Pools
I was thumping along on the treadmill at the gym today when a man popped onto the machine next me wearing a criminal amount of cologne. Enough that I tasted it as I gasped for each mouthful of air. Total gym foul.
I was eyes forward leaning into my final mile when I glanced over at the offender assailing my nostrils.
Who happened to be drop dead gorgeous. And roughly 15 years younger than me. And who gave me a huge smile that touched his eyes. And a fist bump of encouragement.
So of course I decided his cologne tasted delicious. And felt like a very sweaty Mrs. Robinson.
May / December Romances
I find that women are more hesitant to date significantly younger men. My male friends have shamelessly jumped into one night stands and would-be relationships with young girls. Scandalously young girls.
A former boyfriend — Jason — admitted he’d dated a 19 year-old when he was in his mid-30s. Let’s just say they didn’t talk much.
My former professor/lover, David, actually committed the most stereotypical faux pas a person can endeavor. When his wife left him, he sought out solace from a student.
My lady friends tend to be more realistic, wanting someone who grew up in a similar era with whom they could share more in common.
Personally, I tend to date this way most often. Seeking someone within a few years of my own age. But I’ve absolutely taken a swim in the shallow end of the pool.
May / December romances can be exhilarating. They can bolster a fragile ego. They can keep your urban dictionary references up to date. I’ve learned that younger guys seem to be students of porn. This tends to inform their techniques, sometimes rewardingly so and other times in ways that push me well past my comfort zone.
A few years ago, I stumbled into a local wine dive with Harper, my frequent partner in crime. The bartender was this tall, dark haired, smoldering blue eyed chap who I felt like I should either pull into the bathroom for a romp or perhaps marry. Or yes.
The connection was instant. And intense.
He’d asked some questions about me. My daughter was 13 or so at the time. He said I must have had her just out of high school. I smiled and nodded. (I had her at 30. That’s…close to when I graduated high school.) He thought I was 30. I coyly skirted the topic. He clearly was in his early 30s.
And delicious. Have we spoken about how much I wanted…to date him?
When Harper dropped me off at home that night, we sat in my driveway and howled like teen girls.
After a date gone sideways in which I discovered my bartender (whom I’ll forever dub Crazy John) was on cocaine and too much hard liquor, I had to walk away from this particular possibility. Regretfully.
I felt like a Yoda to his Skywalker but man I wanted that force.
Yes. That’s a double entendre.
As I settle into my own skin, I find that I most simply want connection. I want authentic experiences.
Often these connections are timeless.
But gravity + my DDs are not timeless.
Which is to say that more often than not, the greatest hurdles I have with dating are not about age, weight, height, or other shallow concerns. They are about my own prejudices and insecurities.
Do you recall in Sex and the City when Samantha started dating Smith, her far younger boyfriend? She decided to grow out her bush to please him, but discovers gray hairs. And so she tries to dye them, and ends up with a bright red Bozo bush? She ultimately clears the landing strip and reclaims her body confidence.
Inevitably I have gone through that confidence cycle when stepping into my Mrs. Robinson shoes. I start out worrying over wrinkles and a few extra pounds.
I leave feeling worldly, experienced, and refined. It bolsters my confidence. It doesn’t ever ultimately feel sustainable over the long haul to me, but it does give me a lovely confidence boost.
Sometimes a little swim through the shallow end is simply delightful.