My flatmates and I are all single 30-somethings who are young at heart and sometimes young at brain too. The other evening, over a glass of wine or three, we were discussing the suitable traits of people we’d want to be with. One flatmate asked me for a ‘briefing document’ of my criteria so she would have an idea of people she knew who might fit. On my iPhone I put together the quick list shown above and fired it off to them to laugh at and scrutinize.
The following day I put it up on Facebook so others could share in the joke and join in with criticising my list and have a bit of fun at my expense, for example, one friend put that I should give myself a fighting chance and just focus on the top two points! Most took it in the manner with which it was posted (i.e. I wasn’t actually using this list to draw in potential suitors), but I was surprised by the serious reaction of some. Can you guess which bit of the list some objected to most?
No, it wasn’t the bush grooming comment.
No, it wasn’t that she needs to be alive.
No, it wasn’t that she needs to be slimmer than me.
What several people objected to (all women) was that I had put 19 as the bottom end of the age range?! They seem to be genuinely outraged like I was acting like some sort of paedophile! In truth, I had not really given much thought about the age range, I had in the moment of writing the list thought of a good target age as being 29 and simply added and subtracted 10 years to this.
As a 30-something I am not actually looking for a 19-year old as the age difference would suggest different levels of maturity and life experience for a relationship to work. However, that said, if I met a 19-year old who was mature and fit my other criteria and seemed to like me, why would I discount an opportunity because of an ageist prejudice about the maturity of 19 year olds?
It’s an extremely unlikely scenario for me to encounter as, let’s face it, 30-somethings seem ancient to young adults, but I was curious as to why some had reacted so strongly? My responding to their complaints, ‘Would being with two 19 year olds make the situation any better?’ (that’s a combined 38 years of experience) did not help for some reason?
In the United Kingdom and many other modern societies, 19 year olds are legally considered adults and free to do anything like any other adults in society. So what is the problem? In the last 12 months, an 18 year old Harry Styles from boy band One Direction was dating 32 year old presenter Caroline Flack and this caused a massive uproar, but why? If it’s two consenting adults being together and no one is being exploited or coerced, who are we to judge and say whether people should be in a relationship together or not?
by Jake McMillan