Tuesday, February 28, 2006

age ain't nothin...

After last weekend’s adventure with Zero, I decided to chill out at home this weekend. That’s right, no drinking, no clubbing, and certainly no getting broke off by any youngster - just a quiet weekend at home. Last weekend was just too difficult for me to recuperate from - I guess I’m getting too old to do some of the things I did in my buck-wild days in undergrad. For instance, after picking up my pride off of the dance floor - I was greeted by the peanut gallery (also known as my crew) asking me why I hadn’t pursued anything further with the young lady that I had danced with. Aside from her boundless amount of energy, she was nineteen. Rule of Thumb: I cannot pursue anyone with a suffix of teen still in their age. That’s damn near criminal. I may be from Chicago, but Mr. Kelly’s free love escapades aren’t on my to-do list. Aaliyah, the Pied Piper of Pissing’s protégée, wrote an ode that dismissed the notion of age difference. She sang about age being nothing but a number. (Tell that to the cops that are still trying to lock up Kells for statutory rape.)

To me, age is more than just a number. People change daily and gain a myriad of experiences along the way. I know I am vastly different than the 17-year-old (wet behind the ears) college freshman arriving on campus. The maturation process for me took awhile to come to fruition. I was discovering who I was - which laid the foundation to what I’ve become. While I was growing, I began to try and pursue young ladies on campus. Being one of the younger men on the yard, I was always told I was such a baby or a little boy. Last time I checked, college campuses did not serve as daycare centers and I didn’t resemble a fetus... but I digress.

I was viewed as immature, a person that didn’t have the mental and emotional capacity to satisfy an upperclassman female. I had nothing to offer except a new face and proceeds from my refund check. I realize now that women (then and now) look for someone who can offer them stability, safety and who can meet them on their level. Back then, I was attracted to the first (semi-) pretty face that showed me attention and put a little twist in her hips because she knew that I was watching. Nowadays, being a much more selective man, I have a list of
standards that a lady has to have to be approached by me, the number one reason being age.

A good guide for people to follow is to date someone within your four year bracket. As long as the people involved are of a considerable level of mental and emotional development, things usually turn out well. However, if they're not, it'll cause conflict. I now refuse to date anyone that is 2 to 2.5 years younger/older than me (OK, there are exceptions – the allowable gap widens as you grow older). In my past, I have seen both sides of the spectrum. As a 22-year-old, I dated someone (albeit short-term) someone 10 years my elder. In contrast, as a 23-year-old; I dated someone who was 19. Neither relationship was really right (or fulfilling). I've always felt the best determinant on entering into a relationship wasn't age, it was level of maturity. I know so much more about life now at 25 than I did at the age of 17, and that 8 year difference means a great deal in a relationship in terms of life experiences.

Age is important because it has a tendency to correlate with life experience, which is invaluable when you get to a certain age (24 and above) where people can relate to certain things that you are going through. Most 18-year-olds wouldn't have a clue of how to balance school, work, and church while trying to satisfy those hormonal rages bound to occur. To contrast, someone who is 30+ may not understand the need to go out, get drunk at the club and watch booty-shake videos. While we might not be looking for a long-term commitment, they are shopping for rings and perusing wedding catalogues. It’s understandable - to quote Flavor Flav; they know what time it is...

With all that being said, age is not the determining factor in maturity. We all have seen old Chester in the velour suit at the club, raising the roof to every song, letting us know that we don’t need no water and to let it burn. (He’s also that brotha at all family celebrations kick-starting the annual rendition of the Electric Slide.
We’ve also seen Mustang Sally in the leopard spandex jumpsuit, dropping it like it’s hot. Please refrain from laughing out loud at these folks. Having to live with their selves is shame enough. My mother used to always tell me to act my age and not my shoe size (and several other things that I’ve blocked out). My wisdom that was gained through life experiences has enabled me to do just that.

Let me pose these questions to you:
Is age really just a number?
What is the biggest difference you’ve experienced in dating someone? Did it matter?

These are my words, thoughts, feelings and introspections. Let me know yours. – Jorge

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