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The Advantage of Dating After 30

February 15, 2013
Two women step out of their front doors on a Friday night in New York City. It is the middle of winter and a light snow is just starting to fall. Both women are dressed up and heading out to meet with their respective friends for some drinks. One woman is 23 years old and the other is 32. Both are single and want little more than to ultimately find true love.

The 23-year-old has had one serious boyfriend in her life. She slept with him during all of the 3 years they dated, until he broke up with her soon after they graduated from college. She recently had an exciting night of sex with a guy she met in a bar who was incredibly attractive. He had seemed interested in her - he was even affectionate in bed; but now he isn't calling. In the back of her mind she knows there will be attractive men out tonight, and she is hoping to eventually meet someone she can date seriously. However, she hasn't thought too much beyond the evening and maybe the start of a relationship. Right now, the excitement and nervousness of going to a high-end nightclub for the first time occupies her mind, as she grew up and went to college in the rural South where all they had were a few dive bars.

The 32-year-old has had five "official" boyfriends in her life. She's slept with eight men - four were her boyfriends and two were guys she was "just dating." They seemed interested but faded away after sex. The other two were drunken one-night stands during college, before she knew better - or more accurately, when she learned better. She is growing more and more self-conscious and concerned about the fact that she is still single in her thirties. While she knows she was probably too immature to get married previously, she also knows that her friends and extended family have started raising eyebrows. However, in the past two years she's really started to see trends and mistakes in her dating history, and she encountered a few ideas in books and online, and these have really changed her outlook. She knows now what she did wrong before. While she knows Manhattan is a horrible place for a single girl to live, she hasn't lost hope yet.

As the 23-year-old gets out of her cab in front of the nightclub where she'll meet her friends, the sharp cold bites at her face. It excites her because she only recently moved north, and this is the first time she's gone out to party in the snow. Stepping out onto the busy Manhattan sidewalk wearing high heels and her her new coat, she feels like she is on the set of Sex and The City, or one of her favorite romantic comedies. If she is honest with herself, she sort of expects to meet a guy in New York, though she definitely isn't ready to get married. She has a career and other aspirations to meet before she is ready to settle down.

As the 32-year-old gets out of the cab in front of the lounge where she'll meet her friends, the sharp cold bites at her face. It reminds her of the time three years ago when she first met her ex boyfriend. It was snowing then, too. She'd seen him looking at her earlier across the bar she was at with her friends, but he didn't approach. Then, by fate (she knows now it was just coincidence), they had both walked out of a bar at the same time (closing time). She'd been a little tipsy and given in when her girlfriends pressured her to go ask him for his number. It had felt a bit strange to do it, but in the end they dated for eight months, so for a while she thought it was the right move - at least until he dumped her for a girl who he said was more "his type."

The 23-year-old meets her girlfriends, who are waiting in a big crowd at the velvet rope outside the nightclub. The single question that consumes her mind is whether or not she is hot enough to be let inside. She starts to feel nervous. She knows she is hot, but the other girls waiting to get in look like supermodels. But as the bouncer lifts the rope and chooses her and her friends before all the others, her excitement and ego both skyrocket. "I love nightclubs already" she thinks to herself, as she looks over her shoulder and sees the other girls outside in the cold, watching with jealously as she walks through the door. She feels sorry for the few girls who were clearly older than the others - probably over 30; they definitely aren't getting in.

The 32-year-old meets her two girlfriends at an upscale lounge that they've come to like, mostly because it is never too loud and has a good layout, conducive to meeting new people. It doesn't hurt that the men who go there are generally older professionals, men who have their shit together and don't drink until they fall down. They pick a good spot at the bar and order a drink. They've arrived early so the crowd is still a bit sparse, but this gives them time to actually hang out and talk before anyone else arrives and they get involved in other conversations. As the 32-year-old orders her drink, she chats with the bartender for a bit, because she knows that even a brief conversation with a stranger (male or female) will get her into a more social mood, which might help later if any men want to talk to her. She learned that trick when she first moved to the city and sometimes went out alone. In fact, she'd met one of the girls she was with tonight that way.

The 23-year-old is amazed by the decor and energy inside the club - she's never seen anything like it. She feels like a celebrity, surrounded by the dancers, the music, the lights, the men - the men! Through the heavy club atmosphere she sees them and wonders who these guys are... standing on couches, dancing with beautiful women and drinking expensive champagne by the bottle. Some of them look like they might be famous but she isn't sure. Almost all of the men are drunk already. A guy standing next to her, who looks a bit out-of-place in his simplicity (though he is fairly attractive), raises his voice to ask her what she thinks about the DJ tonight, adding that he would prefer more popular music, but overall he was quite good. "He is good" she says without making eye contact, but she turns away immediately. "What a stupid question," she thinks to herself (though if she is honest, she also admits that she didn't really know what to say in response). She wonders how she can get an invite to drink at one of the tables...

The 32-year-old returns to her friends after her conversation with the bartender to find that a tall, very stylish and attractive man was asking her friends if they could introduce him to her. Her friends oblige, and he immediately isolates her from the group. This screams "predator" to her, but she knows that not all men have great game, so she doesn't bail yet. They talk for a few minutes, but the 32-year-old is further turned off by his constant smirk and the way he keeps touching her arm. She's met men like this before - in fact, one of her ex boyfriends approached her with the same cocky, sexual demeanor. They dated for about a year, but that transparent facade of pseudo-confidence remained throughout the relationship. She eventually dumped him and now considers the whole year wasted - at least from a dating perspective. When the arm-touching becomes a little too much to handle, she tells him it was nice to meet him and politely excuses herself to use the restroom.

The 23-year old and her friends are approached by a bouncer who invites them to drink with "some gentlemen at the VIP table." They gladly agree, and follow the bouncer as he ushers them through the crowd like celebrities. The "gentlemen" welcome them with free shots of a vodka, which looks like it is top-shelf (she gets a glimpse of the label; it is called Stolichayna or Stolishnaya - something like that. It looks so exotic - Russian, she thinks.) The 23-year-old takes a liking to the only guy at the table dressed in a suit; he is very good-looking and seems to be the leader, even though she guesses he is only 24 or 25. She is sure that she can have him because she knows she is hotter than her friends. By now she is getting fairly drunk and they start to dance. After several minutes his hands are holding her waist (she loves that feeling) and they kiss. He sits down with her to "take a break from dancing" and they start to make out on the couch. The music and alcohol drown out everything else and she is lost in the moment...

The 32-year-old returns from the bathroom. Her two friends are now talking to a group of three guys, one of whom is listening more than participating. She can tell from his posture that is isn't shy or socially awkward - but rather patient. This interests her. She intentionally positions herself  right next to him as she re-joins the group. He introduces himself and they start to make small talk. She wouldn't have picked him out from the crowd for his looks, but his understated and confident demeanor is confirmed and grows on her as they talk. A couple times he mentions things in passing that really spike her interest. She would stop him and ask him to elaborate but she is also interested in what he is telling her at the moment. He is clearly experienced and intelligent, and she judges that he is probably at least in his mid-thirties. Although he is older, she's learned over time that this is better than the opposite. At one point it crosses her mind how glad she is to be in a venue where she can hear him clearly. Conversations like this were always impossible in the nightclubs she used to go to in her twenties. Their conversational chemistry is great, and they continue talking for almost two hours...

The 23-year-old is hammered by the time the lights come on at closing time, and she considers herself the luckiest girl in the club because of the guy she "picked up." He invites her back to his hotel room to "keep the party going." Despite her drunkenness, she hesitates. She knows she doesn't want to sleep with him - she remembers how that turned out last time. But she agrees to go anyway, reasoning to herself that she can always tell him no later. As he takes her hand and leads her out of the club and into a taxi, she catches a glimpse of the out-of-place guy who'd asked her about the DJ at the beginning of the night. He has a strangely smug look on his face as she trips into the cab with the guy in the suit. It occurs to her as they pull away in the taxi that the suited guy still hasn't asked for her name...

The 32-year-old is still talking to the quiet-but-confident guy when she realizes it is already a few minutes past midnight. Normally she leaves bars by 11 pm, but she really wasn't paying close attention to the time tonight. She tells him that she really needs to get home so that she can get up at a reasonable hour for her workout. He asks her for her name and then her phone number. She knows this drill; she'd been through it probably a hundred times before, but her gauge of personalities has gotten better and better over the years. She has a pretty good feeling about this guy, so she decides to give him her last name too. He suggests that they should meet up next week sometime for coffee. They say goodnight and go their separate ways. As she walks out the door, she catches a glimpse of the cocky, stylish guy that had approached her earlier. He had obviously been watching in confused surprise as she gave the less-attractive guy her number. "Filtered him out." she thought as she smiled to herself and slipped out the front door and into a passing cab. "Wouldn't have done that ten years ago..."

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