One of my “dating rules” since the age of 25 is that I will only date a guy over the age of 30. Time after time, I have found that most men younger than that in LA often don’t know how to treat a woman (gentlemanly, etc), are completely non-committal, don’t think that women are anywhere near the top of their priority list, are horrible with their money, aren’t as cultured, and don’t really have careers yet. Of course I never always followed that rule, but almost every time I broke it I ended up with a guy who apparently didn’t know how to use the telephone, or a guy who would cringe hearing the “g-word” (girlfriend) . . . the list goes on.
Now, as I’ve been creeping closer and closer to 30 myself, I realize that maybe I should “up” that number again. However, the thought of dating a still-single 35-year-old guy makes me then wonder why this Mr. Wonderful is STILL single and if he will EVER committ? My mother told me a few years back that maybe I should start seeking out divorced men, which upon hearing made me jump out of my skin. Why would I want to do that? I wondered. “Well, because,” my mom said, “Those men KNOW what it is like to be married, what it really requires, and shows they are willing to committ.” True, true.
But then I also question my “age requirement” since I’ve dated guys over 30 and they have a ton of these “under 30 issues” as well. The last two guys I’ve dated seriously (which are actually the only guys in Los Angeles I’ve dated somewhat seriously) both dragged their heels at the mention of committment… one who told me that he loved me but at the same time COULDN’T call me his girlfriend…. and the other who I was dating pretty exclusively for 6 months and in the end STILL freaked out when I had asked him, “Tell me why we are together?” him saying— “Well what do you mean by TOGETHER?” Ugh. Seriously!??
I always felt I deserved more, and they really didn’t recognize all the wonderful qualities I feel I have to offer somebody in a relationship. But I know, I’m somewhat of a committment-phobe myself. Maybe moreso that I’m independent and I just won’t settle. And I’m really picky and it really takes SOMEBODY special to stop me in my tracks. I’m too busy to spend time with somebody I don’t feel like giving my time to. But then again, why do I end up with these guys who are only half-into me?
Then… I arrive in Spain. Enter stage left… Martti. Finnish. Young. Sweet and considerate. Ambitious. Open-minded. Giving. Caring. Entertaining. My friend Robin told me from the beginning that I should talk to him more because he was SO interesting and mature and cultured/experienced for his age, but all I could see in my close-minded-about-men view was a super-super-young guy who is aways hanging out in our group of friends, often quiet in his somewhat-shy world. Weeks go by, random kissing at concerts and bars, many interesting conversations and trips around town . . . and all of a sudden I come to find that this young guy is really a wonderful, cultured man who has lived on his own since age 15, did three years of high school and college simultaneously, spent a year in the army as a medic, knows two and “two halfs” languages (Finnish and English fluently, Swedish and Spanish somewhat), is one of the most genuine men I’ve ever met, is gentlemanly, protective, thoughtful, and extremely complimentary… AND is not afraid to say what he thinks or feels. As we’ve grown closer, I think we’ve covered everything and anything relationship/feeling-wise in a month than probably my last 2-3 relationships in total. Wow.
From abortion to eating disorders, from politics around the world to movies, talks about past relationships, our behaviors when in relationships, our fears, our faults… name it, we’ve probably discussed it. How refreshing it is to be with somebody who is overly-proud that I’m holding his hand, somebody who is constantly entertaining and interesting, somebody who feels it is a “rule” to put the woman’s needs and wants first, somebody who tells me probably once every 5 minutes “It’s so nice to be with you” or “I really like you” or “You look really nice” or “I can’t wait to see you again” and wants nothing more than to spend every minute he can with me. Now THAT is something I haven’t had in… honestly… probably 10 years. Kind of sad it’s been that long, now that I think about it. But nice. And it makes me feel young and free again. I think the last time I have been with somebody that I have been SO open and honest with (and have gotten it from the guy as well), SO affectionate and fun with… was my high school relationship when I was 17 years old. Now THAT is quite something!
And it’s just refreshing. After 6 years of living in LA I have truely realized just how horrible relationship-material the men are there (sorry to my guy-friends in LA reading this!), and it’s been sad that I’ve grown so bitter and negative towards the subject of dating in general. It’s good to put that behind me for now.
It sure has been good fun spending a lot of time and really getting to know somebody who speaks a different language and comes from a different culture. There have been countless occasions where our language or cultural differences have given us quite a laugh. After we spent the entire night on the beach together watching the sun come up, walking to breakfast he said to me, “I love you,” several times which of course resulted in my heart jumping to my throat,,, only to find out he didn’t realize how strong those words are in English because in Finland they say “I love you” to everybody–friends, family, and even girls they have just started dating. He said to me, “I dont understand why you would say ‘I like you’ to somebody instead of I love you… I like coffee. I like going to the beach. How am I supposed to say ‘I LIKE you’ when I care for you more than just that!” Haha, too funny. And Too cute.
I’ll have to post a video of him speaking Finnish at some point. The language is actually quite nice-sounding… and he will often speak to me in his language when he is saying nice things to me… and it is So nice and cute, and SUCH a turn on! He’s teaching me some Finnish and it’s been interesting. Maybe I should start studying up… he wants to bring me back to Finland in August for his sister’s wedding. We’ll see how things go–I’m too used to always being single to be able to look that far ahead in a relationship and know things will still be good then.
Anyway, it’s also been fun being his English teacher! Since the language isn’t his native-tongue and this is the first time he has really been completely around all English-speaking people (most all the other students at school, no matter what country they come from, can speak English) and this is the first time he has spoken English so often with so many people . . . he still has a lot to learn, and it’s been fun teaching him. Last week we spent the entire Saturday afternoon inside together and I spent a good deal of time teaching him all the parts of the body that you really don’t learn in classes. . . eye lashes, eye brows, ear lobes, sternum, spine, balls of your feet, calves … etc.
SIGH! Anyway . . . it’s fun for now. And like I said– SO refreshing. The only major “issues” I can see right now is the extreme age difference (I don’t dare say how much younger he is than I), and um, yea–the fact that I live in the US and he lives in Finland. But I try not to think that far ahead. I’m still trying to get used to the fact that I — gulp — have a boyfriend. Yep. “The eternally single girl” is off the market for awhile and is off in dreamland saying things to a guy and hearing things from a guy that normally when I hear others speak of makes me want to puke. Any time I tell Emma or Robin, “You know what Martti said?” they double over in sickening “awwwws” because nobody can believe a guy could possible be that sickenly cute.
And speaking of Robin — again I have to run through her “list” as well: 19 years old, from Italy, has lived and traveled all over the world, open minded, fun and interesting, speaks 3 languages, and is open and accepting. 19 years old… and she has already completely skipped the “horrible early-20s crazy girl syndrome” I often speak about. I love that girl!—and already know she is the kind of person I will be friends with forever. I just cannot fathom the fact she is about 10 years younger than me! I can also not fathom the fact that Martti is as young as he is, too! . . . although he definitely has that baby face!
I finally have discovered that it IS true: AGE IS JUST A NUMBER. It truely is.
. . . Well . . . at least for well traveled, cultured Europeans!! 😉
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