“I really like you, and that was amazing,” said the naked 26-year-old woman who lay in bed next to me. “But I couldn’t date you, my mom would kill both of us. It’s nothing against you, you’re just not the type of guy I’d want to bring home to her, you know?”
I wish I could say I was surprised when she told me that, as we’d already been out on a few dates and everything seemed to be going really well. In reality, she wasn’t the first girl to tell me that recently. Hell, she wasn’t even the second or third woman to offer that opinion in the last few months.
Not being the guy that a girl wants to bring home for Thanksgiving wouldn’t have bothered me when I was 21, but it’s a little disconcerting now. After a multi-year serious relationship brought me from being an early-20s irresponsible college prick to semi-responsible young professional (or something like that), I’m not looking to get married just yet as a 25-year-old, but I wouldn't mind being more than a repeating casual hookup sometimes.
Since my ex and I broke up last year, I’ve apparently become the type of guy you wouldn’t introduce to your family. She and I dated for almost three years, and I was a big hit with her family — grandparents included. But clearly something's changed. I don't think I've changed all that much. It might be the few extra tattoos since I last met a significant other's family, the different lengths I've tried on my mohawk, or the inappropriate jokes at even less-appropriate times (all right, that never changed), but something about me is signaling to women my age and older that I’m not suitable for a serious relationship.
Pose as their boyfriend for a big work or social event? Sure. Go to dinner and drinks before heading to a bedroom a couple nights per week? Of course. Entertain their friends and their friends’ boring boyfriends? Whenever needed. Get involved in a meaningful relationship in which two people actually care about each other? Not even close.
“I could just never take you seriously,” said the 29-year-old who I’d wanted to date more seriously after seeing for a month or two this past winter. “You’re awesome, and I like everything that we have, but you’re not the kind of guy I would date.”
Sounds almost exactly like what the first one said, right? Yeah, now imagine that happening every time you started developing any type of feelings for someone. It’s basically a step above being told “You know nothing” repeatedly. I feel for Jon Snow.
Sure, they’ll tell me what a great guy I am and how any girl (other than them) would be lucky to have me. Some have even gone as far as setting me up with their friends, but the only women who are willing to actually date me are ones I want nothing to do with: emotionally unstable early-20-somethings.
Perhaps it’s just not the time for me to have a relationship of some value greater than “friends with benefits,” or maybe there’s something about mid-20s me that isn’t appealing to date on even a semi-serious level. Hard to say.
Either way, I’ve grown to accept and appreciate this current arm candy/entertaining friend/casual hookup role that I’ve acquired. It might not lead to marriage, but it does lead to some good stories and gives me something interesting to do almost every weekend.
Should I just shave off the mohawk and go with the super-hipster undercut that you see on every bearded guy in magazines?
Nah. I'd rather be single and awesome than meet someone's parents while looking like a Macklemore clone.
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