It's an odd feeling when you've rewatched as many Sex and the City episodes as I have -- only to realize that you're just now hit the average age of the lead characters -- a good 20 years after airing.
What was funny and somewhat relatable when I was 21, now takes on all new meaning at Carrie's age at the start of season 1 -- 32. And if the show taught me anything then, namely that men in New York are their own breed and that you should never trust an investment banker that enjoys the nickname Mr. (insert cute reference here), it's also still teaching me to this day that there's plenty more to learn -- about myself, the life I want to build and what I want out of a partner.
Long story short: Dating in America 2019 is much different in my 30s than what it was like in my 20s. And while I may not have Carrie's rhetorical questions narrating my bumps in the road, I like to think her character would have a lot to say about the current landscape. I mean, can you imagine Carrie (or Samantha!) on Tinder?! I can and it's hilarious.
So in no particular order, here are my 30 personal truths when it comes to dating in your 30s.
- Let's be real. By the time you're 30, you more or less know what you want. Voilá! Dating mysteries solved!
- Let's also be real. By the time you're 30, you more or less know what you want. Ruh roh! Dating is one big mystery because no one seems to fit the bill! Leading you to wonder how much of a deal breaker certain things are. "OK, so he's unemployed and doesn't like dogs and lives with roommates, am I being too high maintenance if I walk away?"
- I hate to admit it, but text banter is a skill and it's one that can't be overlooked these days. If he can masterfully drop well-timed jokes, reference culturally relevant topics AND somehow sprinkle in a chuckle-worthy Trevor Noah GIF, then what are you waiting for, girl?!
4. You make it a game to come up with bogus stories as to why you're single when people ask you at weddings why you're not married. "Oh, you see, it all started with this operation I had last year..." What can I say? It's none of their business and I just love watching them squirm uncomfortably.
5. Playing the "Let My Friends Swipe for Me on Tinder" charade is all fun and games until someone starts messaging someone on your behalf. Then it can get ugly. FAST.
6. Not every woman is looking to get married. Or have kids. So let's stop assuming, OK?
7. If you're visiting the apartment of the man you've just started dating and he has NO books anywhere, leave. Immediately.
8. Statistically speaking, divorce by the time you've hit the 30s age bracket is relatively common, so I've learned to be understanding of a previous failed marriage. But three before the age of 40? That's where I draw the line.
9. Texts that come in at 3am NEVER lead anywhere good. Trust me.
10. You think back to that episode of SATC where Charlotte mentions to Carrie that you only get 2 great loves in your life and it usually further cements your belief that Charlotte was the LEAST helpful of the group. Why did anyone keep inviting her? Seriously.
11. Speaking of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and ugh, Charlotte, you often find yourself wondering what rhetorical questions Carrie might ask herself if she were a 30-something again, dating in New York today. "I couldn't help but wonder, do men think dick pics are the new form of flowers?"
12. Oh and speaking of dick pics, on behalf of women everywhere to all men everywhere, do everyone a favor and just STOP. Want to show someone your dick? Go on cam with Hannah Claydon or something, whatever, just don't show us!
13. My litmus test as to whether or not I'll like someone: if we're binge-watching the same shows on Netflix, chances are, you can't be a rotten human being.
14. Despite what Rachel Green might have lead us to believe about eating alone in restaurants, dining solo is actually pretty freaking awesome. That one random spot at the bar at that crowded neighborhood spot with the hour long wait has YOUR name all over it!
15. There is an art to the "one drink and run" date. No need to waste each other's time if you're just not feeling it.
16. For all my New York women reading this, you'll meet a handful of the same characters -- I like to call them the usual suspects:
- The Peter Pan: Sorry ladies, despite what his salt and pepper hair might be telling you, he's just never going to grow up.
- The Networker: Feels the need to impress you by name dropping. And is overly concerned by the lack of name dropping you're doing.
- The Stage 5 Clinger: Is already planning your move in with him after the third date. RUN.
- The F*ck Boy: See #9. He's a repeat offender of this.
- The Not From Here Guy: Best when caught fresh (i.e. less than a year in New York). Bonus points for a foreign accent.
17. You'll ask yourself many times why you didn't come up with the concept of Tinder. Seriously though, why didn't I think of it?!
18. And even though you didn't come up with the idea of Tinder, your life is pretty fucking awesome. As is. Whoever enters the picture better be worth it.
19. The way your gynecologist's eyebrow raises at your beloved (read: dreaded) pap smear appointment when she asks you, "Any changes in partners I should know about...?" will never cease to both a.) make you laugh and b.) want to unload months worth of dating woes on her. Plus, if you are having a lot of sex, let her know! You need to make sure you're staying safe. If you don't want to sleep with the people you've met, you can always choose to watch Twink Porn Videos instead. Pleasure is still pleasure, no matter how you get it.
20. You have many opinions on dating apps: which ones to use for hookups, which ones to use for more serious partners and which ones to avoid like the bubonic plague.
21. No one ever talks about the moment when you stumble upon an ex on a dating app, do they? Well, I'm here to say it doesn't need to be awkward AF. Just ignore the thought "Oh, wouldn't it be cute if we matched on here?" that might be crossing your mind. Swipe left and cut your losses, ladies. Ain't nobody got time for dead weight.
22. If he's impossible to schedule with, chances are, he's not worth the 59 text exchanges that start off with, "How about Tuesday afternoon, 2 years from now?"
23. You all have heard of the golden rule, right? Treat others as you wish to be treated. Well, the same goes for dating. If you don't like being ghosted, don't ghost other people. A simple, "Hey, it was nice to meet you, but you're not my type of human being," usually does the trick.
24. If he acts unavailable, sounds unavailable, behaves unavailable, then I have a spoiler alert for you: HE'S UNAVAILABLE. Let's stop making up excuses for what appears to be just plain fact.
25. Don't let anyone change your timeline without your permission. Ever.
26. You have a graveyard of text conversation screenshots saved to your phone -- because, you know, what exactly did he mean by that particular smiley emoji with the raised eyebrows?
27. You'll date many "nice enough" guys -- but if they don't feel like the RIGHT guy, then you need to move on.
28. Every once in a while, one of those New York evenings come along. You know the ones. One drink turns into dinner, which turns into dancing at a jazz club, which turns into an early morning night cap in a corner booth at your favorite dimly lit bar, which turns into the perfect good night kiss at 4am. Those nights will remind you why New York is probably one of the greatest cities to find love in.
29. Can we all just agree to retire the phrase biological clock? It's right up there with nails on a chalkboard and the word "moist" for me. Just cringeworthy.
30. The biggest takeaway about dating in my 30s though? Take the time to date yourself. I cannot stress this enough. Take yourself out to movies, to dinners, to the theater -- with friends or not -- and develop that relationship before and above any other.
What are some of your dating truths? Spill!