It was these realizations that happened over and over again in my 20s: In contrast, the realizations in my 30s have felt more varied and have forced me to consider what I will and won’t compromise on.
It’s just that in my 20s, I was focused on beards and plaids when I should have been focused on arms, conversational generosity, arms, a good attitude, and arms.
I spent much of my 20s saying things like, “I mean, I feel like it’s super normal to not have defined the relationship by date 471 even though we both know what each other’s butts taste like,” to a sea of nodding girlfriends over brunch. I go on first dates now in my 30s and scarcely have time to fake my first “work email I have to respond to” (when I'm really checking Twitter) of the night when dates are asking me about what I’m looking to find relationship-wise and conspicuously eyeing my hip width to assess the ease with which I might bring forth their many strong sons.
Five years ago, I would have preferred to chew on the raw organs of a rabid possum over having to say, “I’m looking for a boyfriend who would ideally end up being my husband,” but now it feels totally normal.
When I became unexpectedly single again this fall, I feared that I’d find their endless scrolls a barren wasteland, the bitter harvest of dude-crops picked over with all the eligible bachelors snatched up by effervescent college girls who love to laugh and have serious wanderlust but exclusively for Cabo San Lucas in March and April of any given year.
What I found instead was a veritable feast of f*ckable dudes who were not only picking up what I was throwing down, but also apparently had learned that the correct way to react to a text message from a woman you’re seeing is to actually answer it in full sentences within a few hours of receiving it. This realization is just one of many genuinely surprising-in-a-good-way discoveries I've made since trying the whole dating thing again, this time as an older and wiser woman in her 30s.