June 25, 2008

The sweet charms of the pure, flawed teen: 4

Perhaps some clarification is in order, since many readers will get too distracted by my praise of romantic relationships with teenagers. The larger theme is how our modern lives are so derailed from nature's plans that we have trouble imagining what courtship and marriage are supposed to be like. Like it or not, your genes are not a magic lamp: they have no intention of granting your wishes to find your first husband or wife at age 30, and then have your first child sometime afterward.

Some aspects of this outta-whack-ness are pretty obvious, like the difficulty women face in conceiving and delivering healthy babies after 30. Still, there are thousands of subtler effects, which when added up may make the relationship as miserable as the inability to start a family. It's these "death of a thousand cuts" differences that I'm interested in.

Charm #4: Not wanting a sugar daddy. Spending less and appreciating you more

Yes, I know it sounds strange to suggest that girls in their late teens don't want sugar daddies as much as ones in their late 20s do, but it's true. The key difference is that a teenager unconsciously expects you to be courting her, in order to get sex, while the late-20s woman unconsciously expects you to be providing for her and her real or imaginary children. If you spend too much on a young girl (aside from a minority of precocious gold-diggers), she will interpret it as soliciting prostitution and become turned off. That's why all it takes is a hamburger and a milkshake to make her feel special.


The woman whose unconscious brain is in mothering mode will interpret your lack of big-spending as a refusal to provision for her and her offspring -- she'll view you as a bad dad. This is also reflected in the types of things she expects you to pay for, at least in part: an expensive zip code, furniture and home accessories, kitchenware, and so on, and not so much on make-up or movie dates. (An appendix at the end of this post provides a back-of-the-envelope estimate of how much more expensive it is to date a late-20s female.)


This mindset of hers would be perfectly fine if she were indeed your wife and raising your children, but in today's world, it's likely that you two are dating and perhaps cohabiting. Your brain is still focused on getting sex rather than raising kids, and so you'll want to spend less on her; but in compromising with her and dropping a lot of dough on ottomans from Design Within Reach, you'll come to feel like you're her sugar daddy. With the young girl, at least both of your minds are on sex (and other things too, but certainly not raising kids), so there is less conflict in the spending domain. Her suspicion of big-spending will prevent you from even accidentally engaging in sugar daddy behavior.

It's ironic that the average guy in his late 20s and beyond worries about younger girls using him as a sugar daddy, when it's the females his own age whose spending habits and expectations are more likely to exhaust his savings. Let me be clear: this is not because the late-20s woman is necessarily more shallow or materialistic. She simply has different unconscious needs, and being provided for -- as opposed to being courted and wooed -- is among the strongest at this stage, since her body expects her to be a mother by now. However, if there is no family to raise, she will have to satisfy this urge by having her mate spend money on other family-type things, such as improving the home.

Still, if the guy is not getting kids out of the deal, he will find himself wondering what all this spending is really accomplishing. Eventually he will believe, with some reason, that he is only subsidizing her female-female status competition, a role that is as rewarding as being the ball in a schoolyard soccer match. The partners will probably not know what the other's frustration is about, and talking about it rarely does any good anyway. The surest way to avoid all of this mess and maintain your girly charm in this area is just to marry and have kids sooner rather than later, so that your mate's provisioning can achieve something he'll actually feel proud of.

Appendix

The following is a rough estimate of the cost of dating a darling in her late teens vs. someone in her late 20s and beyond. I'm comparing extremes to make the differences stand out. Rather than try to account for all of the costs of maintaining a girlfriend, let's just look at how much you might be set back after a big-spending day consisting of buying her an entire outfit, eating out, and going to a nightclub.

Clothes shopping

Your teen gf would compete with her female peers by getting her clothes from a trendy, moderately priced store like Wet Seal, and would shriek with glee if you offered to take her there for a head-to-toe outfit. After buying her some shoes, a pair of shorts, a top, and boyshorts, you've spent $67.

Your late-20s gf would compete with her female peers by going to a place more like Bloomingdales. You could take her to Target, but she would only really get wet if it were at least Bloomingdales or above. After buying her some shoes, a pair of shorts, a top, and boyshorts, you've spent $219. Note that I chose the least expensive counterpart of the Wet Seal item, so this is a conservative estimate.

Eating out

Your teen gf would be happy to grab a bite to eat at Burger King, for God's sake, where a value meal sets you back $5. Your late-20s gf would expect at least Applebee's, where a combo meal plus tip starts at $12. Obviously if it's a "special occasion," the price disparity will only worsen.

Going to a nightclub

The nearby 18+ club that hosts '80s night has a $5 cover charge, and since a teenager cannot drink alcohol, you might spend $2 on a bottle of water or soda. The nearby see and be seen 21+ club, which is de facto 27+, charges $10 to get in and about $5 for a drink. This discrepancy is surely worse in more fashionable metro areas.

Summing up

This whirlwind day of spending with your teen gf costs you $79, while with your late-20s gf it costs you $246. In other words, you spend less than one-third on a teenager than on a 20-something -- status-striving sure does get expensive as you age. And remember, this only accounts for courtship spending -- forget about the price difference between the Ikea furniture your teen gf would be content with, and the designer stuff your late-20s gf would require to compete with her gal pals.

24 comments:

  1. I have spent hardly anything on any of the girls I have dated of any age and it hasn't been an issue.

    I have gone to some higher end restaurants with older women, but we always went dutch, and so while I did end up spending a bit, I didn't pay for her and the food was worth it.

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  2. I'm talking more about once you enter the longer-term, exclusively committed phase... obviously I don't think a 30 y.o. who you're only casually dating would expect you to start paying for furniture.

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  3. when girls are young they want jerks.
    when they get older they want the good guys but by then the good guys who didn't get the girl have become jerks.it's all one complicated circle of shit.

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  4. roissy10:07 AM

    dude, your CPD (cost per date) age comparison is hilarious! of course, buying a full outfit for a girl should only be done (if ever) on girls you have been sexing for a while -- like, oh, six months or longer. otherwise, just taking them out to act as your fashion consultant as you buy clothes for yourself is adequate.

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  5. But what you've failed to include is why a teen girl would want a guy in his late 20s (someone besides Gannon please answer!). When I was in my teens, the only girls interested in dating older guy *were* the ones looking for financial support, and often early marriage and childbirth. The exceptions were those rare guys who had some special desirability such as being in a popular local band, or having wealthy families. Most girls know enough to judge guys' success and resources differently depending on the guys' ages.

    What class of women were you thinking about when you wrote this? Everyone finds young people more attractive, but the question is what a person has to trade for youth.

    What caught my eye about this post, BTW, was the pic of "Design Within Reach." I was at the Los Angeles one last weekend, and it looked a lot more upscale (read: overpriced) than this picture. I didn't know it was a chain. It's hard to believe any straight men ever go in there.

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  6. Elbow Leon4:24 AM

    "When I was in my teens, the only girls interested in dating older guy *were* the ones looking for financial support

    ...

    Most girls know enough to judge guys' success and resources differently depending on the guys' ages."


    This contradicts Spungen's comments from last year that she herself was interested in older men as a teen, and how many teenage women are attracted to the older men who approach them precisely because they can't "accurately" judge them as the low-status losers they are.

    Missing is the understanding that the older women who are harder to impress also perversely have lower mate value.


    http://www.halfsigma.com/2007/03/girls_who_lift_.html




    "Practically speaking, my concern is that minors (usually, girls and gay boys) will be taken advantage of by undesirable older people (usually men, but not always) who would likely be rejected by people their own age. Often, 15-year-olds don't have the sophistication to tell when older people are losers and/or creeps. Young girls will be impressed or intimidated by a guy that, by age 18, they would know not to give the time of day to. And the older people are much more easily able to manipulate and control them.

    ...

    I realize that this frustrates a lot of undesirable older men who depend upon power imbalances to get laid.

    ...

    Young women sometimes think that any guy with a car and beer money is cool -- and don't always understand that's not an accomplishment at 23 the way it is at 16. They also don't understand that certain interests that might be signs of high intellect in a teenager are just pathetic 10 years later.

    ...


    Dude, when I was in eighth grade, I'd flirt with ANY guy if he didn't, like, smell bad. Especially any slightly older guy who could drive. Which is exactly the point -- very young people have NO STANDARDS! They don't know any better. And they have no idea of the consequences of their actions.


    ...


    Actually, I'm speaking from experience as someone who was young once, and got hit on by guys like that. As Avi so aptly pointed out, the guys who do that are usually the ones whom women their age don't want. If anything is clouding my judgment, it's my disgust at losers who trick vulnerable/unsophisticated people into treating them like winners.

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  7. Oh snap!

    All right, here's the deal: loser men of any age will not attract teenagers or girls in their early 20s. Just won't happen. I was a tutor and had many male colleagues over several years. The female students instantly smell out who the loser teachers are and ruthlessly exploit them (and brag about their cunning with me -- they're honest with people who don't take their shit).

    Perhaps Spungen was a weird teenager, but the typical teenage girl has antennae that are hyper-attuned to a guy's mate quality, which makes sense since they have a really big decision coming up soon: who to choose as their first long-term mate?

    Guys who prefer much younger girls couldn't get a woman their own age? Yeah, because everyone knows that a 30 year-old is harder to bed than a 20 year-old, right? Since Spungen is a female, she can ask any of the males in the audience how true that assumption is...

    Back in the real world, loser guys have to settle for women their own age. The converse isn't true: guys who date / marry women their own age can be quality guys (maybe their high social circle looks down on age differences). But losers are always forced to date their age-mates.

    So Spungen is really getting at this: "Well, sure, *some* older guys could attract an 18 year-old, but they're hardly the majority, and need the following attractive traits..."

    Yeah, but then most of the male readers who hang around this blog have one or more of those traits. It's like if I posted advice to applicants to grad school, and someone kept piping up with "Well, I hardly see how the average guy is supposed to make use of this, since only a fraction can make it to grad school."

    Yes, but they must make up a large fraction of my readers if I posted it, right? Same with the "dating a younger girl" posts.

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  8. What class of women were you thinking about when you wrote this?

    You mean economic class? Middle, maybe upper-middle.

    why a teen girl would want a guy in his late 20s

    OK, to provide a more complete answer:

    1) Good looks.

    2) Charisma, charming demeanor.

    3) A more level head, lower anxiety, greater confidence, etc. -- much more common among guys who are 27 than 17.

    4) Being more experienced with girls. Not just sexually; that's minor. But knowing how to approach girls, how they want to be treated, and most importantly -- *loving girls as such*, rather than expecting them to morph into boys-with-vaginas.

    5) Being more experienced in general. How many exciting stories does a 17 year-old boy have to tell? How many adventures has he lived, etc.? Not to mention all the extra vocabulary words, factoids, and other forms of acquired smarts that the older guy has.

    Just an off-the-cuff list, but you get the idea. I'd say I wrote them in decreasing order of importance, although charisma may be tied with looks for most important.

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  9. loser men of any age will not attract teenagers or girls in their early 20s. Just won't happen.

    That depends on how you define loser. Do you mean a slightly creepy due to his social awkwardness but otherwise harmless milquetoast nerd, or do you mean a drug abusing VD-riddled bum with "game" ?

    Spungen's valid metapoint is that teenagers can be taken advantage of by loser-in-life predators who aren't otherwise able to get very far with older women, but know how to strike a cool pose with an impressionable teenager.

    Seriously, all it can take to impress a teenager, from an older loser's point of view, is to discern her insecurity ("am I pretty?" "am I mature?" "why do the other girls talk behind my back?" "why do my parents have to be such jerks?"), which isn't so hard to do since teenagers are very readable in that regard, and then sweet-talk to that particular insecurity.

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  10. Gannon7:02 AM

    The main issue is that women mature much earlier than men. Also, a woman's fertile window is very short. Guys their age usually aren't ready to use that fertile window, so the logical thing to do is to couple the teen girls with guys 5 to 12 years older. Also, categorizing men in winners and losers is a little bit exagerated, since most men fall somewhere in between. Also, Spungen is using shaming language here. Men should be able to recognize shaming language and dismiss it as such. There are usualy two lies aging females use:
    1: You date a younger woman because women your age don't want you.
    This sentence is bullshit because it is much more difficult to date younger women
    2: You date a younger woman because you are a pedophile:
    No, pedophiles like prebubescent children. A late teen and even a middle teen is clearly a young woman, postpubescent, since biologicaly speaking women reach adulthood at 14/15.
    Basically, to answer Spungen's question: Twentysomething males should date teen girls because women are the most valuable around the 14-24 years age range, whereas a men's most attractive years are around 22-35, so it's natural for these two groups to be together and form the next generation.
    And Spungen, teen girls are ultar selective, specially if they are virgins.

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  11. Patrick Bateman8:35 AM

    My #1 of almost 6 years costs me somewhere between Wet Seal and Bloomingdales on clothes but at the higher end for eating out and clubbing, though we usually only go clubbing on vacation. We are both 24 and have been living together since the end of 2002.

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  12. Once again, PA is in outer space. If I recall correctly, you're in your late 30s and either married or in a long-term relationship, and probably haven't been surrounded by teenagers / college students since you yourself were that age.

    But I'd be jealous of guys who get younger girls if I were forced to fuck late-30s pussy too, so it's forgivable. There must be neurotoxin in their vaginal fluids that dulls the brains of their partners to prevent them from straying.

    First, all women are terribly insecure, and playing on their insecurities will work no matter how old they are -- you can make a symmetrical argument about how men should not be allowed to approach women over 30 since they are increasingly insecure about aging and living alone forever, desperate to find a husband before it's too late, have kids before the clock stops ticking, etc.

    I showed in a previous post (search "girliness data") that Neuroticism increases during one's 30s, which makes women that age vulnerable and insecure.

    I've already dealt with the risible notion that there are packs of older males who are unable to seduce or marry 30 year-old women, but who would score with 20 year-olds. Transitivity, and the facts of the real world, prevent such a scenario from happening.

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  13. BTW, you worry-warts should check out GNXP.com on Monday -- I have a post about how it was previous generations who sexualized young people. There's a bunch of great data.

    Nowadays, the culture is so against sexualizing younger girls, and younger girls are increasingly chaste, that you two can't help but sound like a couple of out-of-touch fuddy-duddies.

    Plus, it's pretty clear from the post, and Gannon's comments anywhere, that we're not talking about pumping and dumping a teenager -- that's something we'd only do to an older woman -- but instead about having a long-term relationship that leads toward marriage and children.

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  14. But I'd be jealous of guys who get younger girls if I were forced to fuck late-30s pussy too, so it's forgivable.

    Yes, I'm in my late 30s and married. Otherwise, you're way off assuming things about me, and I'll tell you because I like you: one, my wife is younger than you are. Two, I've never fucked a woman over 30. Never needed to.

    Do put away the macho-boy crap and relax, ok? I was talking about one particular issue: an unsophisticated teen girl's vulnerability to predators. That's all.

    Otherwise, when it comes to younger women, I'm about where you and Gannon are, if my comentrs elsewhere have not made that clear.

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  15. Ha, it's always unfair for someone else to make assumptions about us, isn't it?

    The insults are just for effect. My larger point stands: you're way off-base in assuming that teen girls are unsophisticated and vulnerable to predators, whatever that means.

    Because you're wrong, you're trying to bring in facts that are true but irrelevant -- teenagers are less sophisticated as far as culture goes, but are incredibly savvy about social matters, and are *more* attuned to such things than are older people. Rewind to the crucible of middle and high school.

    You also said teenagers are impressionable -- college students are impressionable when it comes to dopey values, like what their leftist professors feed them, and all females are impressionable when it comes to what the media says is fashionable, but that has nothing to do with who they choose as boyfriends.

    And on and on. You are confusing 15+ girls with those who are under 12: socially clueless, trusting (teenagers are trusting?!), helpless, etc. Sorry, but you've completely forgotten what that life stage is like.

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  16. Re-read my original comment. I was asking for a clarification on "loser." Then I made a very specific point about one very particular scenario: a teenage girl taken advantage of by an older predator.

    A really cure artsy girl in my sophomore year in highschool class killed herself over being pumped-and-dumped by a guy in his thirties. So that kind of stuff does happen and that was the whole point of my original tangent. Which is why I brought that up.

    The insults are just for effect.

    Was that supposed to be an insult?
    I thought you were just doing your (sadly) all-to-frequent 'flexing.'

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  17. Gannon6:43 PM

    "And on and on. You are confusing 15+ girls with those who are under 12: socially clueless, trusting (teenagers are trusting?!), helpless, etc. Sorry, but you've completely forgotten what that life stage is like."

    I couldn't have said it better myself. Sometimes I ask myself if they really don't remember how they were in High School or when was the last time they talked to a 15 year old. A lot of commenters are confusing 15 year old women with 11 year old girls. All you need is to talk 20 minutes with a bright 15 year old girl to realize that she has intelectually a lot more going than some 25 year olds.

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  18. PA, you're cute: you flex way more than I do, and at least I'm pretty brazen about it, when I do do it. BTW, the word "milquetoast" is no longer in fashion (there was a recent trend, but it's over), so using it scores no points.

    But now it's time to get very quantitative: how frequent is that scenario you mentioned? Obviously not at all. To favor your worrying mind, though, restrict the cases to just those involving a 15 year-old and a late 20's guy. Still not frequent at all. There goes the worrying.

    If the emotional fallout of pumping and dumping truly concerns you, you should attend more to the welfare of females who are about 25 and above, the ones who face the real risk. 30-something in particular: they're getting pumped and dumped, are about to run out of marriageability for good, and are higher in Neuroticism than most 20-somethings. If anyone is going to kill themselves over being pumped and dumped, it's them, not some high schooler.

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  19. Gannon7:10 PM

    "A really cure artsy girl in my sophomore year in highschool class killed herself over being pumped-and-dumped by a guy in his thirties."
    Remember this scenario is much more likely to happen if the girl is being chased by a 17 year old alpha. What's exactly a predator in your mind PA? An older guy who just wants sex? What is the difference to a 17 year old "predator"? I believe that older guys should only date teen girls they really like, but is there really a difference if the fucker and dumper is 28 instead of 17?

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  20. Just to show that your alarmist rhetoric is not without real consequences, here is what reality looks like (graph about 3/4 down the page):

    Suicide rates by age and sex

    For males, there is a huge increase in suicide rates in the 15 - 24 age range -- exactly when they are the least desirable as mates, when their love for a girl is the most likely to go unrequited, when they have no social status, etc. From 25 to 34, it declines a bit.

    For females (Whites anyways), suicide rates increase at a steady pace from 15 to 54.

    Again, I know your little anecdote wasn't intended as a real argument, but when enough people start lying to themselves like that, pretty soon you have a national panic over "Ophelia syndrome" and suicide among teenage girls -- lambasted by Heathers -- that diverts public and private resources away from the truly at-risk groups like the middle-aged and elderly females, and adolescent boys.

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  21. Salamander2:00 PM

    This is all so eye-opening for a woman to read, Agnostic!

    Back when I was a Sweet Young Thing of 17 or so, I was asked out quite often by "older" men of 21, 22, 23, etc.. Some of them were obvious jerks but some were attractive, nice, fun guys and I couldn't figure out what they saw in a high-school girl.

    I remember one in particular (a film student at a nearby university); I think he was 22 and I was about 17. He was a regular customer at my work, and we always chatted. One day he asked me out -- I still remember this evening! -- he took me to a nice restaurant and paid for what seemed to me to be an exorbitantly expensive dinner (i.e., you did not have to unwrap your food). Then we met some of his friends at a nice bar. I am not sure how I got in, I think I was passed off as someone's cousin from out-of-state who forgot her license on the train.

    I was really conscious that these were all Older Men, and was trying SO very hard to act older than I was. I remember panicking when asked for my drink order; I asked for something stupid like a strawberry daiquiri. They didn't serve those, so I got a margarita with no salt. After two or three of those, it was no use -- I could not restrain my natural giggly, giddy schoolgirl personality. Then, I recognized my 10th grade chem teacher at the bar (he was about 26 himself). I remember shrieking "Look, it's Mr. Petrowski! MR. PETROWSKI! Guess what -- these drinks are full of ETHYL ALCOHOL!" and tripping over a chair and laughing hysterically.

    I was sure that D., the "older man," would NEVER call me again after I acted like such a fool. However, he did, and he wanted to go out with me again. Even though I liked him a lot, I figured he must have something terribly wrong with him if he liked me, as I felt I had made such a complete and utter ass of myself and was so obviously a giddy, slaphappy high school kid, rather than the sophisticated creature I assumed a woman of 22 would be.

    I ended up sort of blowing him off (I was one of those girls who would never tell a guy I didn't want to see him, I would just act really obnoxious until he got sick of it and stopped calling. It often had the opposite effect, which I never really understood either). Eventually he gave up on me.

    Now I look back and think "Oh, geez, D. probably wasn't really secretly a loser pervert who was planning to rape and murder me -- he probably was just a nice 22-year-old guy who found my silly, giggly self charming! Now I feel bad I was such a bitch to him. If I ever see him again, I shall apologize profusely."

    A few years later, when I was 21, I worked for a guy who was 38 and divorced. He was a really nice guy, and we had a lot of common interests and became good friends outside of work as well. However, it soon became clear to me (and pretty much everyone in the office) that he was quite smitten with me; once again, I could not figure out WHY someone that old and that rich would have any interest in a 21-year-old goofball. He even confessed he loved me, at an office function with an open bar, and that was an Awkward Moment if there ever was one. I was so baffled by the whole concept that I think I just stammered "Ummm...that's nice, I love you too 'cause you're the World's Bestest Senior VP of Property Underwriting!" or something stupid to that effect.

    To think I could have had a sugar daddy but I was just too sweet and innocent to realize it!

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  22. PA, you're cute: you flex way more than I do, and at least I'm pretty brazen about it,

    You can't be serious. "Brazen" is the last thing I'd associate with you. A revving scooter, maybe.

    Anyway, I'm done here.

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  23. Even though I liked him a lot, I figured he must have something terribly wrong with him if he liked me, as I felt I had made such a complete and utter ass of myself and was so obviously a giddy, slaphappy high school kid, rather than the sophisticated creature I assumed a woman of 22 would be.

    This was before you saw 20-something girls binge drink in bars and trip over chairs themselves, or cougars abandoning all dignity in pursuit of someone who'll take them.

    I have several friends in high school / just graduated from high school on Facebook, and I see pictures of their occasional beer pong activities, but that's as bad as it gets at that age. I see far worse stuff on my college friends' Facebooks, or among late-20s and up women in a nightclub.

    Some females manage to avoid this stuff, but the 20s are a pretty ruinous decade of one's life, overall. Before, there was a natural defense against this -- marrying and having kids in your early 20s, but few do that anymore.

    So yeah, those guys were just happy to find an unspoiled girl.

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  24. Deborah6:17 AM

    Sorry for posting on another old entry, but your posts have been real eye-openers! Now that I think about it, the majority of guys who have shown interest in me thus far have looked close to 20 years older than me. I have 0 experience with men (very introverted), so I was always afraid to speak favorably to these guys because I really couldn't guess their intent. After reading your posts, I can now guess they were chasing youth, which makes me pretty relieved that I didn't urge them on. I can't imagine men losing interest in me just because I reach a certain number in age. I find this such a depressing prospect. ;_;

    I have no idea how guys think... is this normal for most men? The girls in my family all keep "baby faces" throughout their lives, which was something I hated to have, but I guess I should now appreciate it now. >.<

    Again, a real eye-opener, haha.

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