By Amy Johnson
The world of dating has so many unwritten rules. So much that it’s a staggering thought to realize that dating in my twenties was a different galaxy than dating in my thirties. Somewhere, between the brow lines were starting to set, as I was now spending $40 a on foundation, along with anti-wrinkle cremes, what was once martinis with the girls is now hangovers lasting far into Sunday night. Suddenly, I found that my so-called dating rules have flipped their script on me at the onset of my thirties. What was once playing for fun suddenly seems to be a game of life.
That elusive blind date has always had a ring of anxiety and an undertone of awkwardness to it. However, in our twenties the questions to our matchmaker friend always seemed to be, “What do they look like?” and “How do you know them?” But in our thirties, at least for me, the stakes are higher, as I find myself asking, “What do they do?” or, “Have they ever been married?” and of course, “Do they have any children?”
Along with the dating list of qualities doubling in size, I am now fighting off the ringing echoes of being labeled “The last one single” or – my favorite – “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” Considering a blind date can feel somewhat troubling, as I find myself pondering whether anyone in their thirties is damaged goods.
Wait. Hold up.
Does that make me the so-called damaged goods too?
In my twenties, group dates, regular bar meet ups, and trivia Thursdays were always a good casual date. It was the safe zone. There were drinks and groups involved in many dates – I didn’t take it as seriously. As I found out, this also became a way to discover my sexual compatibility with someone, without too much wasted time in the “getting to know you” phase.
But, for me, I soon felt that most people seemed to be missing something, whether it be the sexual chemistry, the personality, or even just the a gut feeling.
However, in my thirties, the groups are quickly fading away. Many of my friends are married and having kids, and others such as myself have just outgrown the social drinks scene. We’re not able to bounce back from weeknight debauchery as easily. Nothing makes me feel as old as trying to go to work the next day with a massive hangover.
And also…real talk: when I entered my thirties, my sexual desire exploded into a craving that can never seem to be quenched. Anyone else with me? The mentality of my twenties of sometimes being more concerned about my “performance” than my own satisfaction seems to have disappeared with this newfound unrequited passion in my thirties. Tbh, I’ve got a strong sexual libido that must be matched by my partner.
Also, as a date becomes dating, my “must haves” are commitment, a positive stance on marriage, how are they with children, and a strong career. Those are required, not preferred. The commitment-phobic ones aren’t looked at as a challenge as I once might have thought; they are just tossed aside now. I can’t be bothered. I hate to sound like a cliché but the “clock” of fertility, looks, and age ticks loud and constant in my mind. I have nightmares of being a cat lady with Netflix and nights without work being the highlight of my week.
Those nights at the bar with other couples and the games of my twenties are long gone. My thirties have roared in with a no-nonsense vibe. I’m done wasting time. I date with expectations, with visions of families dancing in my mind, and desire motivating my body. Despite the fact that, more often than not, the glass of wine and a bubble bath seems to be enough for me, I’ll still face this dating world, ready to find that perfect person.
Amy is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. Find out how you can apply to be a Contributing Writer here!