Dating In College Vs. Dating In Your Mid-20s

Don Jon
Don Jon

Last night I was on the subway, riding close enough to two girls to overhear their conversation. They looked to be about 25-26 — the type of girls who might’ve spent a lot of money to go to Coachella two years ago, but are now pretty over it. One was talking about her boyfriend. I buckled in, bracing to observe two fellow millennials in the natural habitat that is the L Train.

“I’m looking for grown-up kind of love,” she said. You could tell this was the sort of thing she’d been thinking about for awhile, and finally figured out the proper phrasing. “(my boyfriend)’s great, but who does drugs on a Tuesday?”

She then went on about how he was overall pretty good and how she doesn’t want things to end, but how she also “needs to stop fucking around at some point.” Based on their subsequent talk of 25th birthday parties I’m guessing they were around that age, so the conversation made me think about how much the dating game changes in a few short years. So with that in mind, here is a piece of article that you could use to kill time at your job:

1. Finding Anyone Vs. Finding “Someone”

In college, dating comes down to 2 things: if you find that person attractive, and if you like that person enough to not want to hook up with anyone else.

At the outset, those two things trump everything else — what their major is, if they eat too much Thai food but hate Mexican, etc. You don’t care about the specifics, because you’re probably just trying on a hat.

A few years later, and the hat you’re trying on has some bigger implications. Could you see yourself wearing this hat for an extended period of time? Will it still be fashionable? Pharrell?

2. Going Out All The Time Vs. Being OK With Doing Nothing

If you go out a lot in college, the person you date also probably goes out a ton. Same goes for if you’re the type of person who prefers to hang low on the weekends, or not drink at all. You get clustered in silos, and that’s how you meet people.

Hovering around the big 2-5, that changes a bit. Arguably, half the people are only going out so they could find someone and not have to go out anymore. So if you always prefer to spend your nights wolfing down Fireball shots at a dive bar, but the person you meet there only really does this once every few months, you’re more doomed than someone who wanted to be a real journalist.

3. In College, Nobody Cares About Being Pretentious About Cheese

Yesterday, I stumbled across this phenomena called “escape the room” — a New York City attraction where you get locked in the room, and are supposed to try to escape it over a given period of time. I immediately forwarded it to a couple I knew, saying how “them” it was, and that I was excited to hear what they think of it.

From a general standpoint, I don’t think you can become a couple that has things that are “so them” until there’s an understanding that there might be some permanence. In college, no couple is into developing a fine cheese palate. No couple can’t wait to co-research the latest and greatest hiking gear for the new season. Those are the things you get when you actually sit down for a second, and realize that the person across the table is someone who you’re cool with introducing to your parents. Someone you want your parents to actually take notice of.

4. Romance & Natty Light

In college, these two things were always hanging out together — pretty much inseparable.

But they must’ve had some really nasty falling out after graduation, because you can’t even get them in the same room nowadays. What a shame. TC mark

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