I remember my first year of college very clearly… especially the girls. All of a sudden I was surrounded by more girls my age than I knew what to do with; this had to be heaven. I excitedly went to talk with as many of them as I could – “hey, we’re the same age going through this new experience together, we have so much to talk about…”
I wasn’t the only one who noticed this surge in new underclassmen girls though. Every upperclassmen guy noticed as well, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to guess who the girls were more interested in. Don’t get me wrong, I still dated a good number of wonderful girls – it’s still college after all – but I learned very quickly that I was at the bottom of the food chain.
Fast-forward two years and suddenly a wonderful thing happened: I became an upperclassmen. Now, as the new waves of girls stepped on campus I watched most of them ignore their classmates and I became the object of their desire. I almost felt bad for the guys too, I can certainly relate – but then again I knew what their future held.
At the same time, all the girls my age no longer had their older admirers and realized that they now had to compete with younger girls who didn’t ignore us. Whereas two years ago many of them didn’t even have the time of day for me, suddenly all I heard was “omg we had that class together, class pride!”. Where was that class pride two years ago? And my personal favorite: “Eww, why are you dating a freshman?” – a judgement they certainly didn’t place on the upperclassmen guys when they were freshmen. I couldn’t blame them for the negativity though. It can’t be easy going from the top of the food chain to the bottom in two short years.
Don’t get me wrong, I still dated plenty of awesome upperclassmen girls too, but I had zero sympathy for the girls who acted hotter-than-thou as if there wasn’t anything more important and it would last forever. They’d just now having to realize what it was like for all of the guys they didn’t have the time for two years ago.
Unfortunately though, college eventually has to end. Just as I was really settling into my role at the top of the food chain, I was thrust into the “real world” where I quickly realized that college was just a microcosm of the world at large. There were all of the girls my age who were previously clamoring for my attention, but suddenly in the companies and big cities we were entering, they had the attention of older, more personally and professionally developed men. I get it – back to the bottom of the food chain.
This can be especially tough for guys who have been raised in a society that says you peak in your twenties. At least when I was growing up, the thirties always represented “getting old” – and once I’m in my forties and fifties my days of being a sexual object are basically over right? This leads to a lot of guys trying to cling to relationships that may not be the best for them, thinking that if they don’t do it now their odds of it will only get worse as they get older. To all of those guys I have a message: It gets better.
As my fingers strike these keys, I’m about one month away from my 30th birthday and barely just starting to scratch at my potential. To anyone who told you were supposed to be an “adult” in your twenties and have things all figured out, they lied. Your twenties are still for figuring things out, and any pressure or expectations you put on yourself because you feel you should be further along will only hinder your overall development.
My professional life is now stronger than it’s ever been, I’m (slowly) getting myself into the best shape of my life, but even moreso, I know myself, and others better than ever before. I have a confidence in myself and a comfort expressing my sexuality that my mid-twenties self could only pretend to have. And just as with college, I see the food chain shifting.
Now I know that my thirties will be everything I was raised to believe my twenties would be, and my forties and fifties are when I really take over the world. So to all of the guys worried that it’s all downhill after you turn thirty: have patience, keep working to develop yourself, and take comfort in the fact that your life is far from over – in fact it’s barely getting started.