What I’ve Noticed About Young Dudes

Smith Jerrod respected Samantha even when she didn’t respect herself.

I cancelled Tinder. If you see me on there, it’s a mistake.  Nothing personal. I wish I had swiped right on every man’s (or couple’s) profile before I bailed.  One gesture of love on a device made to reject.

Tinder is broken.  I may have matched with wonderful men, but I would never know it because of one word: “Hi.”  It’s no one’s fault.  I’m guilty of “Hi’s” as much as anyone — and I’m a writer. “Hi” is just what happens when you meet through a piece of technology intended to perpetuate our single state.

I am now taking my chances in the Real World: smiling, eye contact, maybe I’ll even make a joke about stevia at the coffee condiments bar. What I’ve found: lots of young dudes.  A few months ago a millennial asked me out, texted me for two weeks and then stood me up when his band got in a fight and broke up.  No hard feelings. You can’t ask a 27-year-old drummer to not be a 27-year-old drummer. Then, the other day I was sitting in a granite coffee shop, surrounded by wire framed and neutral-toned adorned people, while sipping a $5 latte, when a wire framed young man walked up to me.  As it turns out, he had sat through two of my sets when the show I co-produce assaulted him at a coffee shop. Then I saw him salsa dancing a few months later. And now we meet again… I would think it was the most fabulous meet cute in the romantic comedy of my life if he weren’t, alas, also late 20 something…

I don’t have any inherent interest in younger men. I’m not fixated on abs or hairlines.  I actually like seasoned, wizened people.  However, I do notice that younger men (i.e., under 35) are a) more prevalent and, more importantly, b) offer something not commonly found in our society: they respect older women.  I don’t recall the same cross examination questioning of my chosen life occupations from young dudes: “So are you funny?” “Tell me a joke,” “What have you done?”  They treat my weird projects and pursuit with a sincere reverence that I have not always found in dating.

These interactions have caused me to wonder if Harvey Weinstein and Cosby are really part of a generation (one that spans from the beginning of time) that denigrated women to sustain itself. Of course, we are hardly in any place of victory to celebrate. Sure,  there are young fraternity brothers and high school football players assaulting young women in small towns, my anecdotes of West LA are hardly proof of anything.  “The Handmaid’s Tale” persists in Africa and the mideast.  But maybe in urban post-Sex and the City America, young white men can look at an older woman and value her.  I mean, it’s something.

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