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“Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number”

The lyrics of the classic 90s Aaliyah song, released around the time she was thought to be dating a much older R Kelly. In fact he’s the one who wrote the lyrics, go figure. But the sentiment is something I’ve been pondering over the last few days.

aaliyah

At what point does age become irrelevant?

I’ll admit it, up until this point when it comes to romance, I have been ageist. All my relationships, have been with men, close to my own digits, give or take a couple of years.  From teen romance to twenty-something passion, those partnerships felt well matched. We were in similar places in our lives and so we gravitated towards each other. And the truth is, those were the men I fancied.

But as I re-enter dating in my mid-thirties, it seems all bets are off. In the last month I’ve had interest from a very good-looking 23-year-old and on the other end a successful and charming 47-year-old. For these men – the fact there is more than a decade between us doesn’t seem to matter. And yet for me, it feels weird. WHY?

The Older Man

From the beginning of time we’ve been sold images of older, often rich men, pairing up with younger women. Michael Douglas, George Clooney, and I hate to add him to the list, as he’s clearly not human, Donald Trump. These are often seen as superficial, trading off looks with a bank balance. Clearly like any stereotype, they hold true for a small percentage but for the majority are much deeper partnerships. I have two close friends who are in very fulfilling relationships with men who are a decade older.

Man Standing with Moose buckle

Yet when I recently became friends with Scott, 47, my initial reaction was to dismiss any romantic possibility. When you do the maths, Scott started university, when I was 5 years old. That’s right, I was in the first year of education as he entered the final stages. There is almost the same age gap between Scott and me and Scott and my parents.  Surely dating a man, who was almost 50, would be like dating an old person? Gross. And yet as I spent time with him, I felt an overwhelming sense of youthfulness, one that some of my thirty-something friends had lost. He was a single man, with no children, who had devoted much of his life to his career and with great success. It was a career that had helped society for the better, and in his words he had never met a woman that had ‘pulled him’ in the same way. He had loved, and had relationships, but the reality of his career, meant he was married to his job.

Now some might say he was the classic ‘Peter Pan’ man, unable to commit, always finding an excuse and not really relationship material. Perhaps there is some truth in that. But apart from the odd childhood or cultural reference, spending time with him felt no different to spending time with someone my own age. The fact that he had reached many of his professional milestones, was inspiring and it seemed now at the age of 47, he felt ready to meet someone. Despite the 13-year age difference, in many ways we were in the same stage of life. And when it comes to physicality, Scott is healthy, and clearly takes care of his body. No two-ways about it – nothing old and gross there.

The Younger Man

Now whilst Scott and me pairing up, would be socially acceptable, an older woman/younger man combo still comes with an underlying stigma. Just think of the differing language we use for men and women. While Scott would be considered an ‘eligible bachelor’, ‘playboy’ or ‘silver fox’, the older woman is often referred to as a ‘cougar’or a ‘milf’. The first is almost predatory and the later, taping into some kind of Oedipus complex.

So when a cute looking 23-year-old, called Andy, messaged me online recently, I instinctively felt a bit embarrassed. In my mind I couldn’t understand why a young twenty-something would want to hang out with a woman so much older. I wouldn’t have wanted that when I was his age.

‘She’s flirty turned thirty, Ain’t that the age a girl gets really dirty.’

If the lyrics of the Scouting for Girls song are accurate, then some would point to sex as the reason. The chance to be with someone more experienced in the sack. But just like the rich older man/beautiful woman stereotype, surely it’s ridiculous to think it is just about sex. At the end of the day, if that was the case a trawl of the internet would find a bevvy of twenty-something women also up for it.

On a practical note, at 34, I’m now open to the idea of having children, but at the age of 23, I would have run a mile if my partner suggested that. Of course, the truth is every person is different. And ultimately the reason I didn’t date Andy, was because we had very little in common.

Being Human

Hand silhouette in heart shape with sunset in the middle and oce

So I  guess after a certain point, age IS nothing but a number. Instead finding love is about two human beings who share a connection and are in the same place in their lives . You could be a 45 year-old woman who is only looking for casual sex, and a 60-year-old could fit the bill. Or you could be a 35-year-old woman who falls in love with a 25 year-old man, who is ready to settle down. Basically there is no right or wrong.  Of course society gives you a rough guideline, but it’s rough for a reason.

So going forward I’m going to be more open about seeing through age, looking instead at what we share as two people and if that shared connection and attraction could grow into something special.

Love,

Siya xxx

Ps Only fly in the ointment – when I asked Scott if he would date an older woman, he didn’t seem as enamoured. Double-standards!

Indecent Exposure

I am now fully subscribed to the world of online dating, and close to going on my first date – eek!  But there is one request I have to the dating universe.  No penis photos. Pretty Please.

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I know digital dating is the way forward but why does it give some men and women (actually in this case only men apply), why does it give some men the license to send you a picture of their penis: uninvited, unwanted and undesired. A general survey of my single girlfriends suggests this courtship move, if you can call it that, can materialise at any point in the early stages of interaction, and doesn’t seem to depend on any kind of ‘physical’ contact. From a follow-up to a first date or in one or two cases the first message, for a small minority, indecent exposure is a perfectly appropriate way of communication.

Now I know sexting can be a way of expressing sexual desires in a cheeky manner, pardon the pun.

But in what world can the first message you receive from a total stranger, be a picture of their penis!?

I mean for starters, whilst much pleasure has come from interaction with the male anatomy, let’s face it, a penis is not a pretty or photogenic object. Number 2, even if the only thing you want is sex…generally speaking most women like to see the whole package, not just the one hanging at the bottom of your torso. And thirdly, whilst there are always exceptions, I imagine the success rate of said penis coming into contact with another human being is seriously low.

Of course for some people, the thrill comes from the shock factor.  A hit-and-run style indecent exposure. Flashing for the digital age. But for a girl like me, it can slowly erode your faith in finding a decent man. I mean let’s face it a penis photo is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There are the men who start with promising online banter only to suggest hooking up without ever actually taking you out on a date. There are the ‘ghosters’, the men who sweep you off your feet, take an all-consuming interest in your life and then disappear when things get real. I know a few friends who have experienced this kind of hit-and-run.  And there are the ones who go on a few dates with you, and rather than being honest, decide not texting is the best way to let you know they’re not interested.

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Now I appreciate the last paragraph applies to men AND women. And in both cases I think it boils down to this. A lack of respect.

Whilst it’s no longer necessary to pay for someone else’s meal or open a door, it is still necessary to respect your fellow human beings. Especially the ones who are brave enough to open their hearts to meeting and connecting with someone new. If you don’t want to spend time with someone, tell them in as kind a way as possible. They’ll appreciate your honesty in the long run. If you want to have sex with someone, meet them first. Yes they may be smokin’ hot but they are also a rounded human being, with hopes and dreams, not just a body to play with. And whilst there is nothing wrong with a ‘one-night’ stand, perhaps check that the person you’re interested in actually wants that before proceeding to send a picture of your penis.

In a world of constant choice, the man or woman on your dating app may seem replaceable but for all you know, the person on the other end may be hanging on a thread, dealing with life’s challenges and loosing hope in finding love and rather than adding to the pile…how about being kind?

Trust me you’ll feel better….and you never know, you might have more to give, then just your penis. Surprise yourself.

Siya x

ps Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year! 🙂

 

‘The Search’

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Helen Keller

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It’s 2016. There’s nothing unusual or weird about online dating. Just like most things in our lives, smartphones and the internet have made it completely mainstream. So why do I find it so terrifying?

As a 34-year-old, I came of age in the year 2000. I remember a time when people actually had to make a move in person, if they wanted any chance at getting involved in a relationship, or at the very least getting laid. Now we can totally bypass the ‘initial’ in-person cold calling approach. Which I guess is quite liberating. And yet for me signing up to a website seems more overwhelming.

Is it ego or an attachment to some romantic idea of how I’m going to meet “The One”?

Perhaps there is a little bit of that. But as I signed up to a dating site on Sunday night, and started being ‘winked’, ‘favourited’ and emailed. Instead of a sense of elation, I felt weirdly exposed. Now I didn’t put any intimate or sensitive information on my profile, just the usual stuff, you know vital stats, an attempt at being funny and casual whilst not coming across as a dick. But as I stared at pictures of men, who I had never met, of all ages (some completely inappropriate can I add), I felt like all these strangers were gazing at me, and I felt a bit naked. I guess I have always been quite private, I’m not big on social media, yes shock horror! So the idea of suddenly opening my life to 30,000 potential strangers, was a bit mind-blowing.

But as I allowed this initial pang of terror to pass over, it occurred to me in every other aspect of my life I have been happy to engage in a ‘search.’

A job search, house search, even a library book search, these things were taking place before the dawn of the internet. It’s just common sense. If you want to make something happen in life, then you have to put the feelers out. Sometimes things ‘happen’ because you are in the right place at the right time, but more often then not we put in effort and actively search out different options, choosing the one that feels best suited.  Some would say, you are in the right place at the right time, because  you put the effort in in the first place.

So as someone who believes deeply in self-effort, I am going to stop moaning, and open up to this new type of search. The ‘love’ search. And who knows where I may end up.

Siya x

Hand silhouette in heart shape with sunset in the middle and oce

Is there a Marriage Sell-By Date?

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“When you’re 30, you’ll be past your Marriage Sell-By Date.” My Darling Mother.

Rewind to the year 2000, when baggy jeans ruled, Gwyneth Paltrow was actually cool (well kind of) and my mother was doling out romantic advice that would come back to haunt me. For generations, Indian mothers and a seemingly endless network of family, friends and random acquaintances have generated and assisted marriages around the globe.

But that would not be the case for me. I, Siya Joshi, was determined to find my own man. In fact, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted or believed in marriage. And so I told my mother, I would go it alone, and if I really needed help, then I’d turn to her when I was 30. To which, she instantly replied, “Siya, by then you’ll be past your Sell-By Date.”

Well fast-forward to the year 2016 – I’m 34, unmarried and starting to wonder if my mother’s flippant comment, was actually a prophesy in disguise. And even more shocking, I think I might actually want to get married. Gulp.

But first, let me introduce myself properly as I am clearly not defined just by my relationship status.

tlcI grew-up with TLC and Destiny’s Child for crying out loud. The ‘Independent ladies’ mantra, is on a microchip inserted into my brain via MTV. Like most, the journey from teenage angst, twenty-something aspirations and thirty-something practicalities has been one full of highs and lows, some life curveballs and the adjustment to the more mundane aspects of life. I was never someone who sought fame and fortune, but I did want a career that was satisfying and would help others. I was prepared to take risks, leaving a stable job to travel around India, and eventually finding my calling: teaching yoga and Indian philosophy. I love my job. Like most there are things that get me down, even yoga teachers have to face office politics!

My love life on the other hand, is a bit like that desert in the opening sequence of the new Star Wars movie. Lost and infrequently inhabited. No that’s unfair, I have plenty of romantic experiences; if you could get a qualification for dating, I’d have enough experience for a PhD. But for a variety of reasons, the aforementioned romances haven’t turned into anything long-term.

So now at the age of 34, my friends and family have proclaimed an intervention and I’ve decided it’s time to give something new a go – eek! Unlike the majority of the human population, I’m a bit rubbish with technology, but I’ve decided it’s time to embrace online dating and the world of family set-ups. And I thought if I’m going to do this, why not write a blog, in the hope of sharing my adventures…and learning from others too.

Let’s see what happens!

Siya xxx

ps – a few words of wisdom from Mr Einstein.

 “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” Albert Einstein.