When you’re young, everyone tells you not to settle down right away, and to date around, and “have fun”. People who are older and married (usually your family) will tell you this because they are wistful that they got married at 21 and have now been divorced at least once because they really, probably, weren’t ready to get married at that age. They think everyone should stay single until the age of 30. On the other side of the coin, older women who have never been married (it’s always women) – the “spinster” – who is still single and repellent to men will tell you to “have fun” not realizing that everyone laughs at her behind her back for still acting like she is 23 and prowling on younger men.

But the problem is that one day in the not-so-distant future, if you continue on this fun-having trajectory, you will wake up 35 and unmarried, still “having fun” but probably with several missed chances at love and maybe marriage because you “didn’t want to be tied down” or you “weren’t ready”. But at 35, you won’t be nearly as pretty or cute, and you’ll be reduced to dating sleazy 65 year old men with two marriages under their belt. When is anyone ever ready for anything? It’s best to keep your sails clean, so to speak, and be prepared.

Really, I don’t understand why people emphasize the need to “have fun” so much. You know what I think is fun? Drinking bloody marys and eating Haagen Dazs ice cream all day and watching “Pride and Prejudice” on repeat. But you know why I don’t do that? Because I have to work, and because having that kind of fun will probably make me fat and sick and be completely unproductive. It’s an excellent analogy for what “having fun” in the dating world will get you.

35 thoughts on “HAVING FUN

  1. Ready to shed singlehood

    My friday started out so nice til i read this post. I’m 31, single, and own Pride and Prejudice. Good thing I don’t like Haagen Dazs. In any case, if “having fun” means hopping around the DC bar scene teeming with mediocre man-boys, I’d rather sit home and watch every version of Pride and Prejudice ever filmed and then re-read the book. Where are the Colin Firth’s of the world and why can’t they be in DC???!!!

  2. virglekent

    I agree, and to a further extent you can be in a relationship and still be ?having fun? with the person you?re with.

    OMG?. Don?t tell anyone I just said that, I?m still hungover?. Um what I meant to say is go out and ?tackle drunk bitches?

  3. KassyK

    I think there is a lot to be said for having fun!! I mean granted I don’t want to be old and alone and spinstery but who says you can’t have fun and be in a relationship? Its all subjective…I mean some people just don’t know how to balance their lives so they end up fucked…if they could balance going out and maintaing a good relationship they wouldn’t be in that position that they are 21 and married and bored or 35 and alone and prowling on young men.

    Also–and this is FOR the 35 year olds bc I am still 27–What decade are we in? 35 is no longer comparable to 50. I see 35 year olds that are in way better shape, grew into their features and look 10 times better than some 23 year olds. I look 10 times better than I did then and its only a 4 year difference.

    Is someone telling me that Salma Hayek/Cameron Diaz/Jennifer Lopez/Penelope Cruz are LESS hot than Nicole Ritchie and Paris Hilton? CMON.

  4. TC the Terrible

    My advice is this. Get married really young, like 19 or 20, screw your life up good. Then get divorced in your late 20’s or early 30’s and live life like your ass is on fire for six or seven years. Sometime in your very late 30’s settle down with a person that is going be with you, and be good to/for you, until you die.

    Maybe that’s not the right plan for everybody, but it has worked out for me.

  5. Lonnie Bruner

    I’m curious, Sally, did you grow up somewhere in which people regularly got married at age 21? That definitely was NOT the norm for my friends and acquaintances. (Not trying to be a dick, seriously).

    One piece of advice: never mention a 35+ woman’s singlehood to her. She’s already got a whole checklist of justifications and defenses on the ready to use on you, and in the end, you’ll end up making her feel depressed. It’s usually the “I don’t need a man to be happy” spiel. I know this from experience.

  6. TC the Terrible

    Lonnie, out in the heartland the age of marriage is much lower than in the big city. Not married at 21 is not toooo big of a deal, but not married by 27 is. Not married by 30 and the gay rumors are going to fly around the office about you. :gay:

    In Arkansas and Mississippi most people do get out of high school now before they settle down, but over 22 and not married is a real problem. :laugh:

  7. spcwby

    From an MSN article (and blog) “Does it pay to be married?”

    Btw check the income levels that are utilized as basis, is it just me or was there intentional skewing of economics to develop the author’s theme? Then, again, what do I know?

    Message #1 – Posted by BusinessAl on 07/27/06 09:46 AM

    Is matrimony a detriment to your bank account? Tell us how marriage — or being single — has impacted your pocketbook.

    Message #2 – Posted by miami advice on 07/27/06 10:35 AM

    Marriage is only good for the male because its convenient for them. What male wouldn’t want to be married when he gets all the care done (cooking, washing, cleaning, and children etc.) and come home from work and not do a damm thing. The woman always gets the short end of the stick because she loses her independence and her youth if she’s not stupid. Don’t become married to the house because that’s what most husbands want.

    The answer is it pays for the male and not the female in a marriage. I tell all women to keep some of their independence for a rainy day……

    Women don’t love anyone more then yourself except the great creator of this great planet.

  8. hedonistic

    Hey! I was an educated city girl and got married at 22, and I don’t think it was necessarily a mistake. if you want to have kids, have them while you’ve still got the energy! If you wait until you’re 35, not only will you probably have a hard time getting pregnant, you’re gonna be TIRED and conflicted about balancing motherhood and career.

    That said, if you marry real young, the odds of divorcing are very, very high, because you will both change in different ways, and then one day and find yourselves married to total strangers. During the course of a 50-year marriage you might find yourself with 5 different people, all of them actually the same person, only they changed five times. But that’s only if you make it. I didn’t.

    From an energetic standpoint, if you only want to be married ONCE in your life:

    a) Graduate from college, and PARTAY for a few years.

    b) Make ONE baby in your mid-20’s. There is no need to pull that stunt more than once, since married or not you’ll do most of the work – including the houswork – yourself anyway. If you marry the father, you will probably kick him to the curb in frustration eventually, as they are still big babies in their 20’s. That’s why they are called “starter marriages.”

    c) In your early 30’s, get married to some decent guy who’s already demonstrated a decade of good personal and professional decisions. By then he will have learned how to pick up his own shit and cook his own meals.

    I know it’s politically incorrect, but it really does make sense. Skip the starter-marriage.

  9. jay

    Pride and Prejudice… Never seen it. That is confirmation of my male status. I was unaware that there were more authors than dcb, so you can imagine my confusion reading this post. About item C)… I learned how to pick up my shit in my early 20’s. Give us a little break! Am I that out-of-the-ordinary for being reasonably clean?

  10. Anonymous

    the midwest also gets married far too young. going to a 21 year old roommate’s wedding this weekend. no joke.

  11. Days of Broken Arrows

    29 seems to be the cut-off age for females. That’s the age they start calling me (the guy friend) and instead of regailing me with stories about wild times on the town, they’re crying because another date went kablooey.

    This is why 28 needs to be the cut-off date for guys who want women who are not desperate. Also, 35 will never be the new 25 (or whatever) because women’s biology won’t change. I have a cousin who thought this and had her kid at 45. I’ll spare you all the laundry list of birth defects.

  12. Anonymous

    I think Days of Broken Arrows is rate; biology is not changing. 35 may in fact be the new 25 socially, but when I walk down K st at lunch time I’m sure as hell not looking at the over 30 women, now am I?

  13. Anonymous

    If it was called “lifetime contract” and not “marriage”, I wonder if some people might look at the subject differently.

    Anyone who encourages someone under 25 to get married is acting recklessly, in my opinion.

  14. jg

    I agree with this, but I think alot of women take your theory to the extreme and settle for somebody that isn’t right for them just so they won’t be a spinster. Getting married is all well and good, but it should be for the right reasons, not because everybody else is doing it. There is so much pressure on women in their twenties to get married, and the divorce rate of just under 50% shows that many couples may be jumping into marriage for the wrong reasons.

  15. Sally

    Lonnie – yes, in fact most people I know who got married did so right after college. It’s the norm.

    Marrying young is not just a Midwestern thing, it’s common in the South and in many plain-old rural areas… the places people like to ignore.

  16. hedonistic

    RCR, tht makes perfect sense, from a maturity standpoint if nothing else. I always try to date about 10 years older, because I feel older men are more on my level emotionally and intellectually, if not necessarily physically. It also lessons the odds of them kicking me to the curb for younger women . . . becaue I AM the younger woman . . . :hump:

  17. Anonymous

    Geez, where to start? First, I think the intended definition of “have fun” means for you to enjoy dating a variety of people until you know what you want. I don’t think it necessarily means that you should drink/do drugs until you black out and make stupid mistakes, although I’m sure there are some people who think that is fun.

    People tell you to “have fun” because you shouldn’t waste your youth bound in a relationship that will more likely than not go nowhere because of your immaturity. How often do you hear “if I only knew then what I know now” from people?

    There are limits to “having fun” as there are in just about anything else in this life. There comes a time when the weekend ritual of drunken debauchery and club hopping has to stop, though it may be fun. And just because only women are labeled spinsters or cougars doesn’t make it cool for 40ish year old men to be in the clubs prowling for college interns and recent high school graduates (in those clubs that allow 18 year old women in).

    You should have fun in your youth but at some point you need to mature and look at life more responsibly, and do some serious introspection to figure out where you’re going if you didn’t pay attention along the way. Those people who are preternaturally mature are the ones who can best handle being in a relationship. Of course one can “have fun” while in a relationship if “having fun” is the whole drunken senseless business, but let’s be real – most people are barely able to drive a car at 21, much less select someone to be with for presumably the rest of their lives.

    But now I have to wonder, Sally – when do you think you’re going to get hitched and therefore not be a spinster? 26? Are you going to marry the first semi-decent guy you meet just to avoid being labeled a spinster? Chances are, you’re going to meet reality in a hard way because marriage-material men don’t grow on trees in these times of increasing irresponsibility. You’d better be pretty damned lucky, and hope that you don’t have to eat your words in 10 years.

  18. popcultured

    first of all, much of this has to do w/ security, which has more or less been said…people can say whatever they want to a man or woman who is 30 and unmarried, but if they r proud of who and what they r, then is it really gonna make a difference?…

    second, biologically speaking, we r all different, and a woman that has a child at 25 could be predisposing their children to genetic problems anyway…at the same time, the 35-yr old parent is in great health and has great genes, allowing the child to grow just fine…and there will be all sorts of hybrids in between of problems and lack of problems in different children…maybe the liklihood of health issues is greater, but it is very difficult to say…

    third, if someone is mature at 21, and so is their partner, then maybe they have the ability to form a lasting marriage…maybe not…but maturity and interest in maintaining the relationship as what it was intended to be for all respective couples is what makes the difference…i certainly am not mature enough to handle a responsibility such as marriage that i only want to do once…when that day comes, it does, and maybe it just happens, or maybe its gradual, but until then, i would not be able to support another if i cant support myself in all ways that would make the difference…

    thats what i think…whatever society thinks, they can f themselves, whether they r right or wrong in general…i have never made it a habit to follow the leader anyway, so why start now…ill bet many feel the same way, tho the pain of not having something that others have found already is painful and resonates…the closer in touch we r all w/ ourselves, and what we truly want in life, is what will make these marriages last, regardless of when in our lifetimes they r occurring…

    great post…

  19. popcultured

    anonymous – geez, where to start?…i love the anonymous guy…way to be as judgemental of a person (or whatever u r) as u can be…wouldnt “having fun” be whatever a person thinks fun is?…at whatever age?…even to the point of illegality as long as others dont get hurt?…maybe that is fun for some people, and u r such a noble person that u can point ur finger and criticize them, anonymously…

    whats wrong w/ having a relationship while being immature and not knowing if it will go anywhere or not?…whats wrong w/ trying to make it work w/o any knowledge of its worthiness?…isnt that a way that we learn how to be mature and relate to others?…by trying or giving another a chance?…whether it fails or succeeds?…another idiotic anonymous comment…

    and whats w/ all the agism?…age must play a significant role in ur life for it to be the basis of most everything u said…40 yr olds in clubs?…getting drunk?…who cares?…26 yr old spinsters?…again, who cares?…u must have the perfect relationship and be the ideal marriage-material guy…its so ironic as u jeer sally for possibly marrying the first half-decent guy she might meet, yet how can u even make a judgment in that light when u r such a prejudice asshole?

  20. Anonymous

    popcultured, let’s get off the high horse a minute. Sally is the one criticizing people for “having fun” until they’re ready to settle down, which unfortunately might catch them at 35. The dreaded “spinster.”

    I offered that the intended definition of “have fun” is usually for the person to date around a bit and not settle down at an age when they don’t really know who they are. It isn’t just the stuff of youthful indiscretion, although that is a factor.

    I’m not judging her, I’m turning what she said back at her. I don’t know her, but what she said is so much easier said than done. I hope that things will work out just like she plans, and she obviously doesn’t plan on being a “spinster” in her 30s. Well, I doubt that most women plan on it either, but guess what? Reality is that the best-laid plans often go awry. Hopefully she will meet someone who will knock her socks off, but if she’s on some anti-spinster timetable then she might short-change herself by not waiting for someone better. I’m not saying the guy isn’t decent, I’m just saying that she might be settling for something less than she deserves.

    As for being young and in a relationship – being young and in a relationship without knowing where it’s going is fine but the advice is intended to try to prevent divorce – often messy, costly, and highly disruptive to both sides. The point is to get that out of the system and figure out what you want along the way.

    The only ageism going on here is that DCB and Sally continually hate on 30-something women who aren’t married. I threw in the skeevy 40 year old guy on the prowl for good measure. Turnabout is fair play, right?

  21. Already Married

    Hi Sally- Great post. I’m married– and have partied the majority of my 20s away with lots of hang overs and killer shoes. Now that I’m in my early 30s– THANK GOD I had enough sense to only date guys that were marriage material when I reached 27. At 30- I got married bc of your EXACT observation. Who the hell wants to wake up in their mid-30s, be alone with a cat, worshipping SJP, and being used, dumped and frumped? Marriage in the 30s is like cotton candy when your 5. I recommend it with the right guy.

  22. klo

    I’m a 26-year-old woman and have been married for just over a year. My husband is awesome – I could not have married a guy who was more amazing or perfect for me. I’m totally in crazy love with him. But I’m still only 26! And marriage is hard! And sometimes it’s sucky and annoying. And sometimes it chafes a little bit. I never saw myself married at this age, if ever, though circumstances worked out this way and I’m glad I made the decisions I did.

    But I also think back a lot to my crazy college years and the few years after when I was on my own – I wish I would have appreciated that time more instead of being depressed and lonely too much of the time. Not just “having fun” but really loving the people in my life and myself more.

    It’s weird- people spend all their young(er) lives looking for a mate and then the rest of their lives trying like hell to make a marriage and family work. I really think it’s just a case of greener-grass syndrome. If divorce wasn’t so socially stigmatized it would be even more common. You wanna be married…you wanna be single…oh wait! no! You want to be married…it’s never going to be as good the other way that you thought it would be when you were the opposite.

    p.s. Hedonist, I like your idea except the part about the poor, confused kid you had in your 20s. That’s a daddy complex waiting to happen.

  23. hedonistic

    KLO, thanks, BUT, I don’t know what makes you think my beautiful, brainy, cheerful teenage daughter is in any way poor, or confused, or nursing a daddy complex. She’s very close to her father and lives with him part time (he and I are neighbors). So WTF?

  24. klo

    Um, yeah, I was directly attacking your daughter. I’m glad she’s great. It’s nice that things are amicable between you and her dad that you can be neighbors.

    Two things – do you think that’s exactly how it works out across-the-board or that it’s possible that your situation might be unique? If you think that there’s a chance there might be hard feelings, the two parents moving far away from one another, the dad ditching out of the picture (since we are looking from a female perspective here), then do you think there’s a possibility that things could have been very different? I’m not judging your daughter’s mental state or your decisions, I’m just suggesting that our decisions sometimes effect people outside of ourselves. And the kids we choose to have are some of those people. No need to take it so personally. Geez.

  25. hedonistic

    KLO: For what its worth, I was your age and married when I had her, and my husband-at-the-time was better than most. My advice was to women who want to be married ONCE.

    If a woman wants to be married and have her children while she’s young, the odds of the marriage surviving are not so great. Odds are she’ll do all or most of the domestic work involved with the raising of her children, and her husband, especially if he’s her age, will act just like the second or third “child.”

    And guess what: A woman can marry with all the best intentions and her children can STILL end up with a deadbeat dad, living in the house with her no less!

    Which brings me to an option I neglected mentioning before: Marrying an experienced, established older man, such as 10 years older. There’s a saying among the very rich: “Never be the first wife.” Sometimes men take a long time to grow up.

    Anyhoo, back to babies. The ideal is to have two involved parents. It means giving up the child-like EGO (“She took my money, WAHH” OR “He cheated on me, WAHH”) and doing what’s best for the child, PERIOD. Decent, mature men and women do it all the time whether they are married or not. Really. We just never make the evening news.

  26. klo

    Hedonist: Here’s what bothers me about what you’re saying. Men are big babies. You will marry a baby, he will not help you, you will have his baby and THEN you will have 2 big babies to care for.

    But then when it comes time for the divorce, he will suddenly grow up, let go of his ego and become a good, responsible father. Does that really happen? It seems not feasible to me. Is it realistic to believe that a man who can’t be good to his wife by helping her out when she asks for it will be a good father once they’re divorced? It also bothers me that you lump all men together like that.

    I agree that men are pretty high-maintenance, but, Christ, so are women! I’m personally happy with a man who treats me like an equal person who will speak up and ask for help when I’m overloaded. He can’t read my mind, so I’ll let him do the same and just go with what my nurturing nature tells me feels right and try not to blame HIM for MY wanting to take care of him. Every piece of laundry done and meal made is a choice. Every resentful glance over the shoulder at your “other baby” is a choice.

    Men are an easy target for “not helping more,” but women are NOT victims of a male conspiracy. Usually, just victims of our own confused expectations about what it means to be a wife/a mom, etc, and what exactly men can be for us. Because they sure as hell can’t be everything. Okay, done monopolizing DCB’s blog.

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