I can no longer date teenagers. I know this for a fact. And yet… No. I can’t date teenagers because they are babies and I don’t have time to whisper sweet nothings to anyone who still uses a fake-ID that says he can operate heavy machinery in the state of Indiana. I will not succumb. I will not throw my special someone an eighteenth birthday party in celebration of the fact that our relationship is no longer a crime.
But oh wait, is there free ice cream being served in the library? Here come the freshmen now, all wearing Campus Customs Yale paraphernalia and high-fiving each other. Way to go! We still remember our ninth grade Spanish teacher’s name! Close behind them are the sophomores, who remember how to ask in French if your uncle has a pencil, but at least no longer call their parents every day.
Coo coo ca choo, Mrs. Robinson. The crowd at this ice-cream social represents half of the undergraduate population. And the dating pool gets even smaller if you take into account that I am attracted to heterosexual males, preferably over five foot five, who were never on a debate team and who appreciate the movie, When Harry Met Sally. So that leaves me with one man-child. And he’s probably been engaged since middle school.
Stop whining, you say. Upperclassmen abound! Unfortunately, with my oh-so-mature status as a senior, most of those boys-to-men who have made it through three and a quarter years with me here have become Bro Buds. It’s not like we shoot skeet together or anything, but once you’ve seen a guy try to fart into an empty beer can, and then proceed to cry on your shoulder while complaining about how he can’t find a girl more like his mother… well, let’s just say that Rob Reiner wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot rom-com stick.
And then there are graduate students. I’m all for graduate students. For that matter, I’m all for any breed of grown-up man. Two thumbs up. As far as I can tell, men don’t mature at all between the ages of six and 26, so you have to shoot high if you want someone with more emotional savvy than a piece of broccoli. But of course, it’s hard to escape that sneaking suspicion that your 38-year old honey may have… ehem… strange motives for pursuing you, the lowly undergrad.
But what do experts have to say on the matter? A certain Yale professor/diplomat-in-residence recently offered me some advice on love. His thesis, as far as I could make it out over the continuous, anxious screaming noise in my head, was that:
1) Marriage is dead.
2) We should all be seeking our mates like in the good old (and I would point out, fictional) works of Jane Austen.
3) All women today are bound to move to New York and date 35-year old lawyer after 35-year old lawyer until their biological clocks start ticking so loudly that people on the cross-town bus give them weird looks.
4) These single ladies will then all marry the first goons who come along.
Is it a truth universally acknowledged that a female in possession of a top-notch college education must be in want of a mate? I don’t think so. I don’t want to get married for a decade or so. Pregnant women scare me. I just want someone to hold my hand during Where the Wild Things Are, someone whose pants I can steal so I don’t have to pay J. Crew ninety dollars for “Boyfriend Jeans.”
Where does this leave me? Cruising the hardware store? Letting my hand linger on that of my barista for a little too long as he passes me my coffee? Whenever I indulge in such deviant customer flirtation, it always ends with said barista asking me to “stop yanking off his wedding ring, let go of the cup, and walk away.” And then his five adorable children pop up from under the counter and start singing “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music.
So for now, I wait. I avoid Jane Austen. I brew my own coffee. I elbow precocious underclassmen on the dance floor. I assume that Where the Wild Things Are will be in theaters for a while. And soon I will be in the real world, which I have thoroughly come to expect is one, big romantic comedy waiting to happen. Bring it on, Nora Ephron.