I didn't want to date a much younger man, but much younger men are coming to me. Men my age had decided that, in my mid-40s, I was too old for them (go figure) and that left me with the much younger or much older. So I decided I would cast my net as wide as I could. That's when I registered at a site for "cougars" (cringe!). I made it VERY clear in my profile that I was NOT looking for a fling or an NSA thing and that I wanted a relationship. I even said I would prefer men around my age (maybe a guy my age would actually think I was a cougar?). That's when I got an email from 29-year-old Alexei (not his real name, but he was Russian). "I think we would make a great couple," he wrote, rather optimistically.
We had a phone conversation that went well. During that, I discovered that Alexei lived with his parents, which, at 29, sent up a red flag, but I chalked it up to a cultural thing (not to mention his parents' large rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan -- why move from that?!).
The first date went better than expected, too. Alexei, while somewhat quiet, was handsome, charming, and funny. When he first failed to recognize me and I teased him about it, he responded, "But I wasn't expecting a woman who looked 20!" Nice way to make points, Alexei.
The only downer was that Alexei carefully eyed the bill at the end of the evening and asked, "Do you want to go Dutch?" When I expressed mild surprise that he couldn't spring for my $7 glass of wine, he explained that he had had many women protest when he tried to pay, and that he was confused as to what women wanted. I doubted that but let it go. Besides, he was cute. (Yes, women can be as bad as men.)
A week later, we met up again. This time, things seem to have taken some kind of turn for the bizarre. Alexei was extremely quiet, and it was like pulling teeth to get him to participate in conversation. I wondered if he'd popped a Xanax.
Since conversation on mundane topics was so difficult, I decided to ask him a few more personal questions. Besides, he had told me in an email that he wanted me to "open up more emotionally" to him. So I asked if he ever planned on moving out of his parents' home.
"Sure," he said. "As soon as I get married."
"Oh," I said, somewhat surprised. "Are you planning that?"
"In a few years," he nodded, as if this was already a given.
Hmmm. Was this some kind of proposal? Or was he letting me know already that he wanted to marry -- someone else?
"Do you want kids?" I asked.
"Of course!" he responded, as if that was the dumbest question in the world.
"Oh," I said, now even more surprised. "So, er, what are you doing on a date with me?"
Though I could logistically still pop out a kid, it was very unlikely to happen in a "few years." That's when he said:
"Well, I don't have to get married or have kids tonight."
Ah, yes, so I got it now. I was there for tonight. It didn't matter that my profile -- which he had supposedly read -- had explicitly stated that I was NOT looking for a one-night stand or a short-term relationship. Nor that I had repeated that on the phone and the first date.
"Sooo ... I'm like your stopgap measure?" I asked. I barely knew him, so I wasn't angry. I was slightly irritated that I had traveled an hour through a snowstorm for this nonsense.
Alexei just stared at me. Maybe he didn't understand what a "stopgap" was. Then came the kicker. He suddenly sighed, fixed his dark eyes on mine, and said: "I'm bored."
Bored? I have been accused of a few things on dates, but being boring has not been one of them.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because we are not having sex."
With this, I swallowed the drop or two of wine left in my glass and put a tenner on the table. I knew I wouldn't see him again, so I might as well pay, though lord knows he should have.
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Alexei then insisted on following me to my bus stop and tried to make out with me while I stood there. He got nowhere with that.
I suppose that is what I get trying to date a guy 15 years younger than me, but as I have more than one friend who have made this arrangement work, I didn't think it was totally out of the question. Additionally, he knew exactly how old I was, and he is the one who had pursued me.
C'est la vie. I'm going older for awhile.
Have you ever dated anyone out of your age range? How did it go?
Image via Shelly Panzarella/Flickr