You ever look at a 16-year-old and go, “Damn, they’re hot. I wanna get me some of that”?
Yeah, don’t. It’s weird.
Whenever I hear about university students dating high schoolers, my skin crawls. If you’re 22 and they’re 16, they’re too young for you. I don’t care how mature they are for their age, or if you guys think you have a special connection—it’s weird. Let me tell you why.
When I was 16, I was recovering from my first breakup. My friend took me ballroom dancing to try to find me someone else. There, I met this guy. He was a stranger: the perfect rebound piece. I could tell he was older, but I was not prepared for him to tell me that he was 20.
20? As in, no longer a teenager?? Little 16-year-old me was dealing with a real live adult. He had graduated high school, he was in college, he had his full license, and he had a job. I was intimidated, and wanted to show this guy that I wasn’t just a kid, even though I was.
Nothing particularly dramatic happened with this guy—we went on one date, and I never saw him again. The whole thing was really no big deal, but that’s mostly because we never emotionally connected. Due to our difference in life experience, it was difficult to relate to anything he said, and I was too shy to share my own experiences for fear of sounding childish. There was nothing there, so I wasn’t particularly crushed by our fling’s dissipation.
But I worry for the high schoolers who meet university students and think they’re the bomb dot com. They think that dating someone older makes them mature. They enjoy the advantages of having a partner who can drink, and maybe owns a car. They brag to their friends that they’re in a serious relationship with someone four years older than them, and that their love is pure and true.
But in reality, that university student could just be looking for some young, vulnerable tail.
Here’s a nifty little guideline for an appropriate dating age range. Halve your age, then add seven. That’s the youngest you should date. Then, subtract seven from your age and double the result. That’s the oldest you should date. So, as a 16-year-old, the oldest I should have been dating was 18. Oops.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it’s a good rule of thumb to help you judge whether or not you should go for that 17-year-old. (Hint: you probably shouldn’t.)
There are exceptions, sometimes. Maybe if you met them when you were in high school (like me and my boyfriend), it’s okay to date someone in Grade 12. If you met when you were in the same stage of your life, you can probably relate to one another and might even have a strong bond. But if you’re creeping the local high school looking for a hot young teenager, take your creepy ass home and stay there.