In the past year or so there have been many suitors in my life. And it’s been … interesting! There was the guy at Burning Man I was convinced was my future baby daddy—until I stepped away to get us some Kombucha and saw him fondling another woman’s dreadlocks. There was the dreamy-poet-artist with a low ponytail and ocean eyes who recited me Rilke, called me a Goddess, and then casually revealed he had stalked a few women, been to jail, and was living on a friend’s couch. Then there was the insanely hot 6’4″ Adonis who took me home for a “medicine ceremony,” which turned out to be code for “sex.” In fact, the more I think of it, the more I realize just how many of my suitors have been SNAGS—Spiritual New Age Guys—who are under the age of 24.
I’m 33. Are these May-September relationships? Or maybe May-Augusts? Then again, if May is in full bloom, and August isn’t blooming much because it’s sweaty and gross, maybe I’m a July? Regardless, the difference is an entire decade of life! What does this mean? And why am I attracting these Mays?
But before you send me on a train to Cougar Town, hear me out! To me, there’s a magical innocence about men in their 20s—at least the ones I’ve met. After all, the men I’ve been out with who are in their 30s have perhaps lost hope in love, or become swept up by their careers. But men in their 20s … there’s a sparkle of hope—and mischief—in their eyes!
I was at a party talking to a very famous writer of a very famous book about this very thing. (Sorry I can’t out him, but he is wicked smart!) As I coyly smiled at him while eating some Topanga foraged carrots he said: “Most men in their 20s seem to have a Jesus complex. They think whatever they’re doing is going to save the world. By their 40s they start to mellow out. And by their 50s, they’re the perfect ripeness. Confident. Relaxed. Not trying too hard.” I took a bite of carrot and smiled. He was a fifty-something and clearly trying to sell himself. I am not ready to become someone else’s May. But his observations had some merit.
See? Total July Queen.
The innocence of youth has its perks. I’ve found these twenty-something men bring gifts. They look at you as though you are solid gold. How could one say no to this? I was fed ice cream and raw chocolate and given foot massages by three of the men I met who were in their early 20s. I didn’t even sleep with two of them! And the one I did sleep with—who moved to another city—still calls me every two weeks to check in. And it’s been a year! Who does that?
Apparently men in their 20s. But the thing about dating someone who has yet to go through a Saturn Return is that there is a subtle power imbalance that won’t go away. They may not have a job. Or a clue what they want to do. I mean … A decade more of life means something!
I see everything around me as a reflection, a mirror, and a teacher in life, so I’ve been thinking a lot about why I was attracting so many Mays. I realized there was an underlying question here: What part of my own 20s persona was I not willing to give up? And that was the moment I saw myself in each of those lovers. The poet. The drifter. The dreamer.
I realized why I was attracting them: I didn’t want to say goodbye to the carefree 20s version of me. So I told that version of me, the twenty-something Princess, that I loved her, but it was time to woman up. No more men who were onto the next pretty thing as soon as my back was turned. No more men who were drawn to me solely because my life experience meant I had the funds to pay for our Kombucha tab. In short, no more men who weren’t up for treating me like the Queen I’ve become. After all, even though I have earned that crown for myself, I still want a King in my life.
This isn’t to say I’m done with young SNAGS. But I’m seeing them with my eyes wide open. After all, losing some of that starry-eyed wonder of my 20s means it’s a lot easier to see people for who they really are—no matter how old they may be.
Photo illustration by Vladimir Jankijevic
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