Stages of Dating, By Age

From the giddiness of first dates to the grumpiness of no dates.

AGE 13 – 14
I’m nervous. This is my first date ever. What if he kisses me? What am I supposed to do with my lips? Am I supposed to waggle my tongue around like they do in the movies? Isn’t that, like, gross?



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AGE 15 – 17
I had the sweetest, most romantic, most unforgettable date today. If only my parents hadn’t given me hell about breaking my curfew. They still think I’m too young to be dating. Ugh. I wish they’d get off my case.

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AGE 18 – 20
I’m officially an adult now. Hello, boys.

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AGE 21 – 23
So many men, so little time! And not just any men—men with cars, men with opinions, men who can take you out somewhere that’s not a fast food joint. Plus, at my age and with my job, I don’t have to stress out about my parents’ approval anymore. I’m a woman, independent, throw your hands up at me!

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AGE 24 – 26
So what if I’ve had a few dates I’m not exactly proud of? Being a 20-something is all about experimenting, and I don’t regret dating that guitarist I eye-f*cked at a gig last year or that banker I met at a friend’s party (who was a great kisser, by the way).

Oh hey, I just got a text. Looks like I’m going out tonight.

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AGE 27 – 28
I’m so done with dating flaky, immature, ambitionless, emotionally unavailable boys. I need to start dating men. But I’m not worried; I have enough time to do just that before I hit 30. And hell no, I’m never going to settle for less than I deserve. Which is why I don’t mind just staying home and doing my nails tonight. I really don’t.

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AGE 29
Shit. I need to date a decent man by the time I’m 30. Preferably someone with marriage potential. No, make that strictly someone with marriage potential. But that “decent” man my friend set me up with bores me half to death. And he can never get “you’re” and “your” right in his texts. I don’t think I ever want to see—or text—him again.

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AGE 30
Shit. I need to date a decent man by the time I’m 31. Preferably someone with marriage potential. No, make that strictly someone with marriage potential. But every decent man I know is either married or getting there, or gay, or too young for me to date without us looking like Samantha and Smith in Sex and the City.

I guess this means I’m spending another Saturday night alone at home. With The Notebook and a tub of Double Dutch ice cream.

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AGE 30 1/2
I’m doomed. Should I reconnect with that guy I dated and rejected back in high school? Or is he married now? Don’t tell me he’s married now. It seems like everyone’s married now. Everyone except me. Dammit.

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AGE 31 – 35
Whatever. I’ll be fine. There’s always adoption. Or a sperm bank. Or a miracle.

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