Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The 23 Curse

Back in high school, my best friend and I used to watch her older sister get ready for dates. She always drank a glass of red wine, put her hair in hot curlers, all while reading a magazine. Hell, the woman even used primer before she put on her makeup. Primer! I don't even have the patience to put on chapstick! At 23 years old, she already had enough woman in her to put Carrie Bradshaw on a one-way bus back to middle-America.

That was then - when we were both doe-eyed about the whole dating experience. It looked like so much fun. We loved her tall tales about her funny mishaps and the "he saids" and "I saids".  Basically, the whole pigeon-mating dance that consenting adults do when they're on the prowl. She generously painted the scene a sickeningly saccharine color.

But eight years later when it was time for me to turn 23, she sat us down and told us about the 23 curse. You want to know what it's really like to do a pigeon mating dance? As much as she valued her twenties and wouldn't trade her experiences for the world, she lovingly described that time in her life as a "shit-stained black hole of despair".

The "curse" is just a gentle euphemism to describe how you love when you're in your young-twenties. According to the guidelines (we totally made all this up in one night by the way), 23 is supposed to be one of the best years of your life - right? This is the time to make as many mistakes as you want in your dating life before you hit 26 (even numbers sound scarier) - you need to make mistakes in order to know what works and what doesn't. It's also that time when your mind is so inflated with the idea that there are plenty of other fish in the sea that you barely give people first or second chances.

One of her biggest regrets was blazing through the dating scene, going through guy after guy.... her original school of thought was that all you really needed is 5 minutes with someone to tell. Even I'm guilty of doing that too - I'm a 5 minute woman. It's this thought process that carried her throughout her twenties - and yeah, she spent a majority of it single. She eventually realized how much of the curse was self-inflicted. Sure, she had boyfriends in high school and college, but 23 and onward, she had put too much trust in the idea that there were plenty of people to sort through and not enough time to really understand a person's nuances.

Of course, everything worked out for her in the end, she's now in a loving relationship, engaged, and planning a wedding. But if there was one piece of advice she could impart on us youngins', it was to not be so rash when it came to dating. She wished she had allowed herself more time with people to be surprised. And again, this is coming from a woman who takes the time to use primer.

Thankfully though, I just turned 24, so now I just have to worry more about my blip of a career.  But we'll save that post for another day...


  1. Okay, so 23 was almost ten years ago for me so I'm not sure I remember it really well--- but I feel like i did the opposite-- gave people too many chances instead of cutting bait right away-- and then I feel like as you get older, your BS detector works a lot better and you're able to move on faster or just generally feel like you don't have as much time to waste. We can call that the 32 curse :)

  2. I agree with the 32 curse. Looking back on my 20's (I'm 33) I can't believe I gave the toolbags I thought were a good catch the time of day. They wern't men, they were boys, and I was just trying to make out & have fun. I didn't know what I wanted.