Better with Age
Does this look like a girl you’d swipe left on?
I didn’t think so. That’s Simone, one of my most beautiful, smart, and engaging friends. We’re in Australia right now, having the time of our lives, and as we dished on everything under the sun she shared her frustration that she hasn’t gotten any dating app matches in a month.
Did she drop her phone in the Great Barrier Reef? You’d think Simone could match with anyone she damn well pleases. She’s gorgeous, but she also fosters orphaned dogs, worked at SNL, and is earning her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. We opened up a bottle of wine at Sydney Harbour and poured over her profile.
I tuned out the rest of the world and got deep into analysis mode; this is serious stuff. The dating expert snob inside of me forced her to change a few pictures to show off her personality and depth, not just her hot bod. I updated her About Me to something a little cheekier. But I had no major concerns.
…Except her age. Simone would get a lot more matches if she hadn’t happened to have circled the sun 30 times. I know from experience working at a dating app how common it is for men to cap their age preferences at 29. That includes men in their twenties, thirties, forties, even sixties.
Straight women do something similar with height. Simone for instance had her preferences set to a minimum height requirement of 6'0. I asked her if a man came around with all the qualities she was looking for, but he was 5'11, would that be a deal breaker? It wouldn’t. She generally likes tall guys, so setting strict height preferences is a way to up the odds that she finds her potential matches attractive. Men aren’t stupid, they know the drill. So they “round up” their height. By two inches, on average.
Simone could “round down” her age. We both agreed she shouldn’t be with a man that was only interested in her if her age had a 2 in front.
Based on my interviews with men of all ages, many men are scared away by women 30+. They may not say it directly (eg. “Oh no, no, age doesn’t matter. But I want someone with a more youthful look.”), but their swiping behavior says it all.
PSA: Ageism is not a cute look.
Often men assume that at a certain age, women are desperate and laser-focused on getting married and having kids, like, yesterday. They worry they’ll be bitter or come with a truckload of baggage, and setting age preferences below 30 is a proxy for filtering these women out. In some instances, these assumptions might be true, but the truth is, women (and men) can exhibit these behaviors at any age (including their 20s). Besides, even if a woman is hoping for marriage and kids in the near future, is that really such a big deal if she’s the right person for you?
Here’s a revolutionary thought:
Women get better with age.
All people do, actually. With age comes maturity, perspective, and life experience. Experience means more stories, color, and personality. In their 30s, women better understand who they are and are more comfortable in their own skin. That confidence is beautiful and magnetic. We’ve all heard that “you can’t love someone until you love yourself.” Well it’s true. And a lot of times it takes a few decades to truly love yourself.
By the way, 30+ women are more likely to be highly educated, financially stable, and independent. I’m not hating on anyone that works out in their sorority tank top, but 30+ women are typically more polished, talented, career women. Oh and by the way, the 30s is when women hit their sexual prime.
Men, please reconsider your age preferences. Look who you’re missing out on….
Hot damn. If you won’t take her, I will.