Dating in my mid-twenties made me realize how much I am no longer 16 years old. Despite having bills that I don’t like to pay, I love being an adult. I get to explore every option that I’ve ever desired, I can party every single night until whenever I want, I wear what I want – to a certain extent without being labeled as a whore walking down the street, and I can actually rebuke any demand of any commanding-someone with: “You don’t pay my bills!”
However, there were the good ol’ days of sweet 16. I used to spend 12 hours straight on the weekends playing rented video games or having slumber parties with my friends when we’d make prank phone calls or spend afternoons watching music videos. We would explore the local malls and always manage to pick up a new glitter-fragrance-lotion accessory that somehow found a way to survive in my beauty basket for the past 10 years. These were days when things were much simpler without Sallie Mae, and my life was endless with dreams and expectations.
Nonetheless, these teenage days have become so foreign. Now, I actually enjoy a 10pm bedtime with an occasional daytime nap. I prefer waking up early to make sure all of my tasks are completed, and I like spending my early Saturday mornings cleaning and doing a face mask. Going hard in the gym each day is my new clubbing experience, and somewhere along the line, I started to look forward to working. Well, at least working for what I love. Along with getting older, I now have the privilege of legally dating older men.
I remember in high school how annoying boys were. Stupid jokes, fighting for attention, immaturity, and clothes that were hardly flattering. I was grateful as my age of datable men began to expand. Men are known to enter their prime in their late-thirties or early-forties. Their looks are distinguished, and they have such a charming, masculine way about them.
From 16 to 38, occasionally, many of these boys-to-men lose their identities and enter Neverland as Lost Boys. By “Lost Boys”, I’m referring to boys/men/guys/males/humanoids-walking-around-with-penises never accepting the natural maturation of life, and, instead, still rely on the dreams of Ninja Turtles and Superman and walking around in a raccoon costume. Don’t get me wrong, Barbie was a huge influence on my life, but I’ll be damned if I date a man for 50 years without ever getting married.
A major issue at this stage of the mid-to-late-twenties is not receiving proper courtship. I have dated guys who prefer to simply “chill and watch a movie” and thought I was uppity or extra for wanting to go out. There were others who thought that our relationship could grow by basic phone calls and text messages. I am no longer 16. My heart no longer flutters when I see your name pop across my cell phone trying to hold a digital conversation rather than taking me out to get to know my character. It does nothing for me. It does not allow for me to see a future with you as my man if you’re not treating me like a woman past our teenage years. How could I ever take you seriously?
Living in such an urban mecca like New York, men always try to find ways of wooing me away on their Metro card to the subway. More recently, I was approached by a man while walking home. One, I never stop for a guy who wants my attention. You want me, then you come to me. Sure enough, after traveling down several blocks and venturing my way into a corner store, he found me and wanted to hold a conversation. I was actually happy that he did what he was supposed to do and gave him my number for some reason or another. Following, came phone call after phone call and texting. First of all, I hate talking on the phone and I find it awkward to talk to someone I don’t know. I’ve mentioned before that I typically date people that I’ve built somewhat of a friendship with, which will then allow for me to hold phone conversations. Otherwise, I feel as if we have nothing to talk about and your only way of really getting to know me is by having a physical presence. However, this man was persistent. He would call and call, text me over and over if I didn’t answer or didn’t answer quick enough. His obsessive yet juvenile behavior only took a week to show. He even offered to visit the gym while I was working out rather than initiating us having a date. At this point, I realized that this 36 year-old man still had Neverland fantasies. I’m sure he’s a really nice guy, but I’m also sure that our dreams are not in the same place.
The Peter Pan mentality seems to be a reoccurring theme that I’m witnessing. Men – boys – who never found out how to grow up or how to treat a woman. Like Peter, they fight to keep their shadow – their sense of reality. Does it fall back on their fathers for not teaching them, or should we also blame the mothers for not showing the essence of how a woman should be treated? Nonetheless, they have access to plenty of movies and rom-coms to illustrate an appropriate date.
I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with the Peter Pans in the world; I’m sure that one day they will become great men. Maybe these are the type of males who do better dating significantly younger women. That way, they can match one another and be on the same level. I honestly don’t know. However, I do know that they have no business having any children until they put their toys aside. Otherwise, it’ll be generation after generation never leaving Neverland.