By: S. Davis
A few weeks back a fun conversation between friends shifted to dating and one-night stands. Specifically, the age at which the both men and women should stop chasing them. As a single guy, I’ve contemplated the subject but never affixed a due date to it. As I’m a few birthdays away from 40 – wait, I have to vomit – I was instantly intrigued. When is waking up next to a stranger after a cloudy night of drinking and dancing just too far a bridge to cross?
If you’re here for advice, I’m sorry, you’re in the wrong place. You have to view it through your personal world view and how it feels to YOU. As someone that’s on the dating scene I don’t enter any interaction with women armed with expectations. We meet spontaneously in-person – which I prefer – or through a great deal of online swiping. At that point, if a connection is sparked, anything is usually on the table.
One-night stands used to be all I wanted. Get dressed, take a train into Manhattan, check out some new places I haven’t seen and walk inside. I’ve never lacked for confidence so going to clubs and/or bars alone was something that never deterred me. In fact, I preferred going solo in those scenarios. You’ve got to be able to change on the fly throughout the night and it’s easier to adjust to change when you’re not surrounded by five of your lovely, but drunk, friends.
I’ve had my share of one-night stands but once you begin to feel they’re not going to get you in the cool kids club, then you should quit them. What age will that be for you?
Now that I live in Los Angeles, dating is vastly different. Why? Vanity. In this town where appearance seems to be THE only trait that matters between the sexes, more people are single later into their 30’s and 40’s. Mostly everyone is conscious of their physique through exercise and/or plastic surgery – and the majority try to eat clean. At the very least they pretend they do. People pretend to be and/or do a lot of things out here. It comes with the nice weather, unfortunately. It’s a character-tax if you will.
In the City of Angels you are going to see people dating much later. Dating swiftly after a divorce or a breakup isn’t strange. I met a group of single women out looking for guys twenty years their junior. These were stunning, accomplished ladies in their 50’s. Most of them looked to be 10-15 years younger but a few were, let’s say, generously enhanced. I’ve also watched old guys at the bar buying swarms of drinks for college aged women. I would never want to be that guy. But when you’re single and you want to date, you date.
It’s been years since I went out with the specific goal to get naked with a sexy lady on the first night. I’m no angel so I’m not against it but the recent encounters I’ve had were just plain dates. Hiking, ice-cream, shooting pool, going dancing, etc. Now some of them have ended in bed but that’s just because the guys they’ve dated prior to me have been, in their words, “lame.” Thank you to my fellow brethren.
To delve deeper to unearth a true answer one must look in the mirror and ask truthfully, “What am I searching for?” If commitment doesn’t appeal to you, then get after it. Please practice safe sex; my God it sucks that I have to mention this but I’ve been recently shocked by the amount of people who don’t use condoms. It’s frightening!
What do you want? How do you feel after the sex is over?
If there’s a lingering level of shame then the answer should be obvious. Do you still want to search for your boxers in a dark room that you’ve never visited? Do you want to fight with his dog for your panties that you left in the bathroom? It sounds hilarious to me but is it funny to you? Put yourself in that situation. A myriad of questions will sprout depending where you are emotionally and mentally. After an instance where I couldn’t locate my underwear in a woman’s apartment I learned to keep my underwear on until I grab for the condom. Someone else may think to themselves that’s it’s just too much. It’s a personal choice after some time of reflection. You, alone, make that decision.
I could sit here and say you should stop at 30, 35 or 45. What if you’ve been married for 12 years and suddenly find yourself back in the dating pool? What if that happens when you’re 40 – or 50? Maybe you don’t want to take six tequila shots, grind on a stranger for a few songs and exchange bodily fluids after a sweaty night of sex. What about those who do?
Ask yourself some combination – or all – of these questions:
1: What’s the endgame? What’s the ultimate goal of your quest?
So ultimately we as humans do things for a purpose, usually. As a species we are purpose-driven by merely existing. Early humans hunted together for food and to build a community, parents are driven to provide for their children, people exercise to feel good, and let’s be honest, for the compliments, etc. (Stop lying you know who YOU are! I’m not judging here. I am…a little.)
2. Is this going to be a standard pattern of behavior? If so, why?
Life’s short and should be enjoyed as long as you’re being true to yourself – and in this case, practicing safe-sex. (Please use protection people; it’s scary if you don’t!)
3. Is this a phase you’re in because you just want meaningless sex and want to have a good time?
It’s your world, ultimately.
4. Is the act of chasing one night with a stranger a response to deeper pain in other parts of your life?
Only you can answer these.
Just don’t be the old creepy guy at the bar or the woman who can’t move her face with neck skin that resembles a crumpled paper bag. Use some etiquette. Focus on what feels right to you…for you.