I’m having my quarter-life crisis early, it seems. I’m at a crossroads of desperately trying to regain my recently-lost youth and being a big girl. When I go to the mall, I suddenly feel frumpy next to the svelte 17-year-olds shopping at Forever 21 and Abercrombie. Although I wish I still looked like them and still had their responsibility-free lives, I’m starting to realize the merits to being 23, which, as Jessica Simpson said, is “almost 25, which is almost mid-twenties.” And everyone knows that those in their mid-twenties have it all figured out, are dating someone seriously, or they have Tiffany settings so massive that they can barely lift their young-professional left fourth fingers.
There are 3 types of males that can be logged at the quarter-life: the guy who just wants to hook up, the one who’s messing with your head, and the guy who’s looking for a wife. Any girl who went to college knows how to deal with the first type, and almost appreciates the familiarity that the situations with these gentlemen bring. We know exactly what to expect, exactly what he’s thinking, and exactly what he’s going to say, and we accept or reject…no gray area here.
Although those in the group of head messers are the most hurtful to us, they are far and away the most important people we will meet. I’m not going to limit this category to just guys; almost every girl has entered this category at some point too. These are the people we learn the most from. Everyone has had one of these, and has looked back and said, “What was I thinking?” Anyone, no matter how good-looking, smart, or cool they are can act as this type. They become a pure emotion to you, and exist not as a person with strengths and faults that you see in a realistic way, but as an entity that represents something to you. Eventually they’ll become a walking, talking symbol of your own stupidity. I’m a total glutton for punishment, so I’ve had an overwhelming number of these guys in my life. I figure I’m the guinea pig for my group of girls, and what doesn’t kill me makes me better at giving advice to others that I am not yet smart enough to follow myself. Bottom line: if someone wants something (you, namely) badly enough, they’ll find a way to get it. My mom said that. I hate when my mom is right. I’m sure you think I’ll now reference the Sex and the City episode that said “he’s just not that into you, it’s that simple.” You’re right. I just snuck it in (little known fact—snuck is not a real word). And it’s true. The sign of maturity at your quarter life is to recognize these people as a learning experience, material for your next novel, or as an example of what you should not do to others. Recognizing this is the easy part. Maybe at my half life I’ll actually put my own advice into practice. But, I digress.
The final and by far most disturbing classification is the uncharted territory of the looking-for-a-wife type. This type did not exist at UVA, so we’re left defenseless to their seemingly-charming wiles. There are two subsets of this breed: those who want you to settle down and stop drinking so much darn Jager and those who already settled down once before, have since unsettled, and want you to settle for them. Are you ready to become a country club wife before the other side of 25? Great! Do you still have some party left in you? Run! The first subset tends to be older and has already lived the glory days that you have not quite finished. They don’t mean harm, I promise. You just need to take responsibility for living your life to what you deem to be the fullest.
The second subset, also known as “damaged goods” is one that should be avoided. Anyone can fall prey to these guys, because they are super-tricky. One guy casually said to me, “So, do you like kids?” I said yes without thinking deeply into it. Turns out that “do you like kids” is code for “I have (1+) kids or will have (1+) kids in 9 months or less. Do you prefer ‘Replacement Mommy’ or ‘Daddy’s Special Friend’?” For the love of cupcakes, guys! What makes me look like a good choice for a mom right now? In just the last year, I’ve run down a beach naked for no good reason, considered soft tacos to be a major food group, and hugged my teddy bear with fiercer intensity than my boyfriend.
Dating at the quarter-life changes drastically from what it had been before. I’ve reached a zen-like state of calm where I’ve realized that I don’t have to do anything. I don’t have to stand and talk to someone. I don’t have to go on that second date. I was talking to a guy who seemed reasonably nice, smart, and good looking while Mehrnaz and I were out in Arlington one night. Everything was cool until he said, “Yeah, and in my Match.com profile…” I’d tell you more of what he said, but it was right then that I thought I had hallucinated for a second, and I stopped paying attention. I quickly realized that, no, no hallucinations, he really said “Match.com profile.” I turned to him and stammered, “Hey, I’ll be right back, I need to…um…*shifty eyes*…bye.” I disappeared into the crowd with very little guilt. My new mantra is “he’ll live.” And he will. I’m not trying to be mean here, guys. But really, what’s the point of continuing a conversation, dating, and everything in between if you’re just not that into it? See, there’s that logic again.
Now, I’m far from a feminist, and may the sweet baby Jesus help you if you ever call me a liberal, but my 5-year plan does not involve a husband. After graduation, my dad said, “Alright, honey, you’ve dumped Al (a lawyer), and that’s all well and good, but how are you going to have the lifestyle you’ve grown so accustomed to?” I rolled my eyes and said, “Oh, Daddy, please. I have a college degree, good friends, and my whole life ahead of me. I don’t need a man to support me…I have you.” A few months and about two paychecks later, I realized that I have myself. And my daddy for backup. Come on, let’s not be rash here. But that state of independence is the very basis of quarter-life dating. It’s like deciding on a new pair of shoes. You know you don’t need them to survive, but you ask yourself if you want them and would continue to enjoy them next season. So, here's to the quarter life, the wrinkle cream I just bought, and the hope for full maturity by my half-life crisis.