We're at a meeting. The guy sitting two down from me is cute. We make eye contact. We say hello. The meeting starts, and I casually sneak a glance down the table. Put your hand where I can see it, I will him. Not that one, the left one. He does. Nothing. Excellent. We pass each other on the way to the kitchen. "Gotta have coffee," he says. "Yes," I agree. Smiles. We break for lunch, and I hear him talking to someone about his wife.
Take this scene, and repeat it over, and over, and over until you're ready to put on your housecoat and go adopt a hundred cats. It's official. There are no cute, single guys my age left. In the world. I'm pretty sure of this, so hear me out. I know, I know... your friend's best friend from college, your husband's co-worker, your grandma's neighbor's lawyer. Everyone loves to count the degrees of separation between them and some great single guy they know. But you know what? I still think it's bullshit.
Here is my theory: I missed the window. I missed that crucial 24-27 window when everyone finds the person they want to eventually settle down with. Coincidentally enough, I too found myself in my most important and most enduring relationship so far between what ages? 24 to 27, of course, almost to the day. And didn't I think I was sitting pretty, then, imagining our future together. And then of course, it all fell apart. Oh shit, I said, and I watched that window closing right before my eyes.
At first I tried denial, and thinking positively. "Boston is a big city," I said. "There are lots of single guys here." And I tried, Internet, really, I tried. You watched me try. Then I said, "Well, Paris is a big city, too." And after six months of trying the best I could do was a very sweet guy who I just couldn't fall in love with. And now I'm here in Mythaca, which could not be called a big city by any stretch of the imagination, but, well, there are lots of grad students here, anyway. Lots of professors and brainy-minded people. And they're all involved in fulfilling, long-term relationships. Isn't that sweet?
Do I even have to mention that my window theory only applies to women? Think about it. If an even remotely attractive and intelligent guy for some reason finds himself single again at 29, just watch how fast he's snatched up. So why is it that what for him is an asset becomes a liability for a woman of the same age? Because it's the law of supply and demand, people, and an unattached 29-year-old guy is a hot commodity. Meanwhile the market is saturated with women just like me. Intelligent, reasonably attractive women in their late twenties and thirties are a dime a dozen.
You guys usually do a pretty good job of talking me down off the ledge, here, but this time I don't want any part of it. I'm right about this window theory and I know it. Tell me I'm right. Of course, everyone has a story about someone who got married for the first time at 42, or was single her whole life and then boom, she falls in love with the waiter at her 35th birthday party, but as someone in a pretty terrible movie once said, "They are the exception. You are not the exception, you're the rule."
I'm not saying that it's impossible to meet someone after the age of 27, and I'm not saying that no one gets married after 30, because obviously that's not true. But damn, dating is different at 29 than it was at 24.