Online Dating 101: The Pesky Age Bracket

XKCD Dating PoolsEver wonder exactly what age group you should be listing on your dating profile? You’re not alone. It’s a question I get a lot from my clients and at my convention events.

XKCD’s comic (above, click for the original) gives the following formula for determining the youngest person you should date:

Your age divided by 2, then add 7.

I am 32. According to this formula, I should not be dating anyone younger than 23.

A Baseline, But Not A Hard Number

For me, that number is still too low. I grew up a lot in my mid-20s and barely recognize the girl I was at 23. I can’t imagine dating a guy who still has those years left to explore who he is.

But you may be different.

You may be a 32 year old man who would have no problems dating a 23 year old lady. You understand that she’s going to be growing and changing and you’re fine with being her older, more established rock. That’s cool.

On The Younger End of the Spectrum

The issues I’ve found when helping out singles (especially guys), is that men tend to throw the net really far in one direction. Younger.  I find more and more guys in their late 30s and early 40s who list their age range for a potential ladyfriend as 18 – 2 years their senior.

And I ask you this question:

Would you really want a relationship with someone who is just out of high school?

I’m not talking about sex here. If your profile is bait for bootycalls, this isn’t your article. But if you’re looking for someone to date, get into a serious relationship with, and perhaps someday marry and procreate with… do you really think that person is 18?

Yes, there are outliers. I know some folks who are 18 going on 40. But they are just that, outliers.

Older Isn’t Always What You Think

Most women’s profiles I’ve noticed tend to throw the net the opposite way. Women’s profiles generally list a bracket from a few years younger up to 10 years older.  (This does not stop us from getting email from men old enough to be our fathers, sadly.)

Guys, I want you to take a page from the ladies’ playbook.

Here’s why: Every woman is different.

I am 32 and get mistaken for being in my mid-20s constantly. When I was in my mid-20s I got mistaken for a high schooler. Depending on a woman’s heritage, body type, skin type, sun-exposure habits, smoking habits, etc, a woman who is 40 could appear to be anywhere from 25 – 55.  A woman who is a sun worshiper is going to look much older than a woman who uses her sunscreen and avoids the beach at noon. A woman who is a little on the chubby side is going to look younger than a woman who is lean & well-toned.

You say that you don’t want a woman who is several years older than you. But truth is, you just don’t want a woman who LOOKS several years older than you. When you were a freshman in high school, would you have turned down dating a cute college girl? Heck no.  It only makes sense that you leave yourself open at 35 to meet the perfect woman who just happens to be 41.

Don’t Knock It Until You’ve Tried It

Give it a shot. Take a look at the age bracket in your profile and shift it over a bit. Get rid of a few of the younger years and add on a few of the older ones.

If you’re too chicken to do that, at least do a search on your dating site and look at some of the profiles that are out of your normal range.  You may be surprised to find some excellent matches.

Happy dating, geek friends.

About e

Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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