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Love is in the Air!❤️🔥
On dating, loving, and staying sane in your twenties. Or something like that.
Happy Wednesday and happy belated Oscar nominations, my Dearest Twenty-Somethings! I’m so happy to have you here. This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re talking love, dating, and allllll the lessons to be learned at this fun juncture in our lives. Shall we?
As Carrie Bradshaw once said, “In NYC, you're always looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment.” Amen! We might as well make that a (less heteronormative) universal statement for us twenty-somethings, amirite?
Dating is honestly… traumatic. But it can also be really rewarding. Contrary to popular belief, it can even be fun. There, I said it! And more than anything, it’s a great way to learn about yourself—what you like, what you don’t like, what you want, and how that differs from what you thought you wanted. You set boundaries and learn communication skills and grow into your own autonomy. Nothing is really fruitless in this life! Something I touched upon last week that I think is even more crucial when it comes to dating at this time in our lives: de-centering romantic relationships and centering the relationship you have with yourself. How you love yourself is how you show others how to love you. How does this relationship make you feel about yourself? Are you honoring your most important relationship, the one you have with yourself and who you’re becoming?
In terms of 21st Century dating, it’s an entirely different era—unless our parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents are actively dating, much of their advice might be somewhat irrelevant. Texting and social media and dating apps have changed the entire landscape of finding love, or whatever it is us twenty-somethings are looking for. And it’ll never be the same! Societal pressures, ideals and expectations have also shifted with the times: over half of millennials aren’t married, and those who are got married later in life. I can only imagine later generations will further skew this stat.
I won’t go too deep into my own dating history, but if you’re a pal of mine, you’ve likely heard the sagas of dating in my twenties—teachers and skaters and software engineers and coaches and YouTubers and finance bros, oh my! Truly, and please hold me accountable for this: I will one day write a book about all of the men my friends and I have dated in NYC. I owe that to myself and to all of you. But until then… while nothing in this life is black and white—we live in the gray area, as we know—the lessons in this newsletter should be taken with a grain of salt (as most things should). To sum up a few of the things I’ve learned in possibly the worst city on Earth for dating:
AGE MATTERS. Men and women mature at different rates. Do not underestimate the power of a fully developed prefrontal cortex. If you choose to date people under 25… that’s on you! A 30-something (and her 30-something boyfriend) recently told me that 28 is when the switch really flips for men. The jury’s still out.
It’s never that serious. And if it is… they can call you an Uber. Seriously. But also, word to Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade, who notes that in our twenties, we might be “dating down” with no intentions of marrying our current partners, but in fact, we are practicing for the decades ahead, and we might happen to marry the next partner or the one after that. This is not a “throwaway decade!” (She also notes that we should be thinking ahead in our twenties—that the chances of biologically conceiving for women decrease exponentially after 30, so… do what you will with that information.)
Don’t take anything personally. Obviously, this is really hard when it comes to dating. We’re all just figuring ourselves out.
If he asks for your Snapchat, block him. Kidding… (not really). And if he asks for your Instagram before your phone number… proceed with caution. I think this is pretty self-explanatory. We’re all adults here.
Find a balance between picky and desperate. Some red flags scream in your face, while others are more of an orangey-yellow tint, like the ones above. Recently, a guy said to me: “You’re from the Bay?! I LOVE G-Eazy!” For my Bay Area brethren, you can imagine what I wanted to say. It’s about treading lightly on the things that don’t really matter. And as we say in NYC: Men are like trains, there’ll be another one in a few minutes.
Never. Ghost. Anyone. Treat others how you want to be treated. It takes five seconds to send a text saying “I had fun, but I don’t think it’s going to work out.” Maturity is key. Next!
When someone shows you their true colors… BELIEVE THEM! People who are nice to you but rude to the waiter are not nice people.
To my readers: some of us are engaged or married or with babies, some have been in the same relationship since high school and haven’t really “dated” in our twenties, some are serial monogamists, and some have never been on a date before. I hope you can all find something energizing, reassuring and valuable here—you all showed the hell up and gave me the greatest tales, advice, tips and lessons learned from dating in your twenties. Without further ado:
Date everyone. Date every single type of human.
Stay true to yourself and over-communicate!
Never, ever, ever, ever settle. 💅
If this person couldn’t be one of your three best friends, it’s probably not a match.
There’s a saying for women in the San Francisco dating scene: “The odds are good, but the goods are odd.” I think that just about sums it up.
If he won’t wait for a table, he won’t wait for literally anything.
Your future and current self may need different things and you can decide when it serves you.
Really put out there what you want. You can and will get it! Don’t be desperate. And don’t date 40-year-olds!
Always listen to how you feel and always reflect on your innermost doubts about someone.
You learn more about yourself than anyone else you’re dating.
It’s hard to love others when you don’t fully love yourself. But it’s easier to love yourself when others love you.
Put yourself first! And be someone you love, first.
If it’s not working and they (or you) don’t want to make it work, GET OUT!
If someone won’t, another person will! And if they wanted to, they would!
On impatience and just craving “someone”: Ultimately, it’s better to be single than with someone you couldn’t be more apathetic about seeing.
Go to therapy. And only date people in therapy. Literally everyone needs therapy, and if you think you don’t, you especially do.
If they aren’t in therapy, you will become their therapist if you’re seeking a deep connection.
Dating doesn’t make any sense until you’ve worked on all of your own issues.
Subtract two inches from whatever a man lists as his height on a dating app.
Sometimes being vulnerable and showing it is valuable over tying to be perfect.
Don’t compromise on finding someone who truly complements you and values you just to be with someone. Don’t accept less just because the right one seems like they’re never coming around.
Give your best friend your Hinge login and have them do it for you. Also, if your friends don’t love them, don’t question it. Leave immediately.
It’s easy to ghost, but it’s usually only easy for you.
If he says “no cap” within the first five minutes of the date, run the other way.
If you ever think you deserve better—you probably do.
I found the right person at the wrong time, because who’s ready to settle down with a soulmate at 24?!
It's okay to be single in your twenties. You're better off waiting for someone who is worth your time than seeing people who don't respect you. When I see my friends dating, falling in love, being in love, or even getting engaged (!!!), it can make me feel lonely, I start to crave intimacy and affection and I feel like I'm missing out. But the one thing that always reassures me is that I know my worth and I’m focusing on what is best for MY growth. I know that when I do find someone who respects themself and myself in the ways I need, it's going to be incredible!
Assess and accommodate both parties’ wants and needs. Always.
It’s honestly just sad and chaotic. It feels impossible to be on the same page for more than two minutes. I quit until I’m at least 30.
Don’t think “do they like me?”—think “do I like them?!”
Maturity = texting them back even when you’re over it. It’s nice when the roles are reversed.
No date/relationship/situationship is a waste of time. With each person, I learn something new about myself and qualities I’d like to see in a long-term partner. Even if nothing comes from it… it’s all growth, baby!
Dating in your twenties is like waiting for a drop in a song that never comes.
Believe it or not, sometimes it leads to marriage!
Dating is starting to feel like a distraction—during peak COVID, I needed love. Now, I need $$$.
Dating in your twenties is for the birds!
So I'm only a couple years into my twenties right now, but what I've learned so far is that dating is so much more about you than the other person. Not in a selfish way, but I learned so much about myself when I downloaded Hinge and actually started using it to meet people (the age of online dating is a whole other topic, though). I learned what I liked, what I disliked, found some icks I didn't even know were icks. I learned how people perceive me and how I want to be perceived. I learned what a red flag REALLY looks like and how rare it can be to find more than two green flags in a person. I also learned how much what I look for in a partner has changed throughout my life—what I needed in high school was so different than what I needed in college and from what I need now and moving forward. And to top this mini rant all off, I've been learning that our idea of love changes and grows as we do, and that's okay too. That's great, even. I do love me a bit of positive character development.
Most men under the age of 27 just don’t have their sh*t together. Facts.
Don’t date coworkers. If you do, expect the unexpected after you break up. Also, I second the therapy suggestion.
Some people marry young and it’s okay if you’re not some people.
Trust yourself! Have fun! Be present, transparent and communicative! Also, dating can wait, there’s no need for anything serious or for you to rush things.
The best things come when you least expect it. Also, 6’2” is the first honest height.
Wow! How are we feeling? In case you’re overwhelmed: We! Are! So! Young! And we’re all moving at our own pace, aren’t we? And “it,” if there is an “it” in mind, doesn’t have to happen now. There’s so much pressure (self-inflicted or not) on us to find tHe OnE (Grandma, stop asking when you’re getting great-grandkids). If you know my parents, who are soulmates if there is such a thing and also the happiest couple I know by all measures, they met at 18, lived together as friends and shared a friend group for years. They didn’t get together until 30! They had my brother at 34 and me at 38. These things really do happen!
Also: Despite what literally everyone on the face of the planet is doing or saying or showing on social media or reality TV or in movies—you don’t have to date. You really don’t. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: getting to know yourself is fun. And important.
And in the wise words of Cher: “Men are a luxury, not a necessity.”
Okay, enough from me! I hope everyone has a lovely Valentine’s Day with your partner, your crush, your Galentines (cringe), or your damn self! Much love to you all always.
For something new, I wanted to know if you’d be interested in asking me for advice? I’m no expert, but it could be fun. Ask away here!
In case you were wondering, I’ve been getting through winter with my wintry playlist, which you can find here. With that, here are a few picks to get you through the week:
PureWow: “18 Unique Ways to Spend Valentine’s Day in NYC This Year” - You know me, self-plugging the day away. (I am the main character after all!). But these really are pretty universal no matter where you live. Get creative!
PureWow: “The 25 Most Romantic Restaurants in NYC for Your Next Date Night” - Yup, another article I wrote. If you’re in NYC, make your reservations now!
Encanto - Oh my goodness, must-watch! This sweet tale of family dynamics, humility, perseverance, self worth and determination… too precious! And not to mention, all bops.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - My favorite movie of all time! A twisted, trippy tale of true love, true loss, and all the ground in between—not to mention a star-studded cast. Watch if you haven’t!
(500) Days of Summer - Can you tell I’m a sad movie gal? This heart-wrenching rom-com touches on love, heartbreak, and (like it or not), women’s empowerment. Also, JGL stars in it. Need I say more?
You already knew this one was coming, right?
“Alternative Universe in Which I Am Unfazed by the Men Who Do Not Love Me” by Olivia Gatwood
When the businessman shoulder-checks me at the airport,
I do not apologize
Instead, I write him an elegy on the back of a receipt
and tuck it in his hand as I pass through the first class cabin
Like a bee, he will die after stinging me
I am 24 and have never cried
Once a boy told me he “doesn’t believe in labels”
so I embroidered the word “chauvinist”
on the back of his favorite coat
A boy said he liked my hair the other way
so I shaved my head instead of my pussy
While the boy isn’t calling back, I learn carpentry
build a desk, write a book at the desk
I taught myself to come from counting ceiling tiles
The boy says he prefers blondes
and I steam clean his clothes with bleach
The boy says I am not marriage material
and I put gravel in his pepper grinder
The boys says period sex is disgusting
and I slaughter a goat in his living room
The boy doesn’t ask if he can choke me
so I pretend to die while he is doing it
My mother says this is not the meaning of unfazed
When the boy says I curse too much to be pretty
and I tattoo “cunt” on my inner lip
my mother calls it “being very fazed”
But left over from the other universe
are hours and hours of waiting for him to kiss me
and here they are just hours.
Here they are a bike ride across Long Island in June
Here they are a novel read in one sitting
Here they are arguments about God or a full night’s sleep
Here I hand an hour to the woman crying outside of the bar
I leave one on my best friend’s front porch
Send my mother two in the mail
I do not slice his tires
I do not burn the photos
I do not write the letter
I do not beg
I do not ask for forgiveness
I do not hold my breath while he finishes
The man tells me he does not love me
and he does not love me
The man tells me who he is
and I listen
I have so much beautiful time
Affirmation of the week: I am worthy of love, exactly the way I am.
Question of the week: Are the characteristics you’re looking for in a partner ones that you can identify in yourself?
Thank you all for reading this week’s newsletter! I’m always looking to improve my work, so leave a comment, send me a message, or fill out this form to tell me what you want to read about in upcoming Dear Twenty-Somethings! Also, if you know anyone who might be a good interviewee for the newsletter, let me know in the form. I’m all ears. Thank you always!
If you liked what you read, send this newsletter to a friend! Heck, send it to 10 friends! Sending love and light to you, wherever you are. 🌟
Cheers & happy Wednesday! Stay well and I’ll talk to you next week.
xoxoxo, Quinnie <3