A few weeks back, a guy was complaining to me about his girlfriend. Already earning a zero on the Classy Scale. “She’s just so dumb,” he said with a smirk. “Like, I can’t believe how dumb.”
“She’s just young,” I said and ended the conversation soon after.
I had no sympathy for the dude. In fact, if anybody here deserved to be called dumb, he was the one who had a good shot at coming in First Place. The young woman in question was ten years his junior, had ended up with a kid before she was out of high school, and has yet to complete a two-year degree.
All of us are dumb when we’re young. But what I’m tired of is guys who only associate with women less educated, less intelligent, and significantly younger than they are–and then conclude, from this hormone-driven sample, that they can then generalize about women’s intelligence and accomplishments.
When, dude, you decided to go for someone who isn’t even full-grown.
Research shows the brain isn’t fully developed until age 22. That means if you’re in your thirties or forties and flirting with, dating, or otherwise throwing bones to a young person in his or her early twenties, you’re just being mean.
I’m serious. You’re trying to engage in advanced adult games with someone who has zero experience actually functioning as an adult. Zip. And the young person in question? She or he doesn’t actually realize this.
How could they? From their perspective, they’re as grown-up as they’ve ever been, i.e. not living with Mom and Dad anymore.
And if that’s your standard for an independent, mature adult, maybe you need to rethink that.
Look, one of the reasons so many women do so little with their lives–professionally, financially, and academically–is that men don’t reward us for it. The grown man (or woman) who picks up a 21-year-old in a bar is selecting a partner with less power, education, income, and experience. For the sake of looks. Period. Any wonder women spend millions on cosmetics each year?
Not to mention the young adult has an undeveloped adult identity. There’s no possibility for equality in that relationship, no matter what you tell yourselves. And your own horny sex drive is not–I repeat not –the same as someone manipulating you.
You’re the adult here. You decide how to handle your own desires.
So I’m being a little harsh, you say? Okay then. Let’s say we have a 31-year-old man who dates a 21-year-old. Let’s say he isn’t taking her for a ride; he really belives someone who hasn’t yet chosen a career and keeps her teddy bear close in her rented room is his life partner. He loves her. He takes her home. They move in together.
How does that go for our young person?
See, here’s the problem even in the best-case scenario: The young partner-who has yet to form an identity, a life plan, and even a major–ends up following someone else’s path. Sure, women are socialized to do that. Ride on the hubby’s income, develop a hobby or two, pop out some kids.
That doesn’t mean every woman is happy doing that. But if she doesn’t get her twenties to figure that out–for herself–then what sort of choice is our hypothetical Nice Guy really giving her?
In other words? If you are a firmly established adult of either gender, leave the young uns alone. Let them figure their own shit out. They deserve that. And going after people who are not your equal shows either insecurity or a desire to have a partner you can manipulate.
Because selecting only the not-yet adults in the room who don’t know any better–when you do–that’s not playing the field. It’s predatory. And just because it’s socially acceptable, that doesn’t make it right.