Every single person on this planet goes through a sexual evolution throughout their life. It includes transitions and habits that change-good or bad-, as well as the many “losses” and few “wins”. However, for those who are into guys, there’s one particular hot spot that is as tiresome, yet hopeful as it is self-deprecating and a tease all at the same time. This, as a working theory, is called “The Dead Zone”.
Your early 20s can be that time where people are fawning over you. If you’re single, almost perpetually so, and playing it “casual” there’s a certain pattern. But it doesn’t seem to matter because it’s always “on to the next one” or “it wouldn’t have worked out anyway, (small penis joke)”.
Also, you’re young…and mostly quasi-independent, financially. When you’re in your early 20s the dating pool is considerably large. So the whole routine of meeting a guy, having sex a few times and ultimately then being ghosted becomes very desensitizing to anything but it. These habits, like polarizing coping skills or a “wine problem”, can and will become ingrained into who we are and how we view men. Then the late 20s hit, and in no way were you prepared for the swift transition.
Personally, I would say I’ve been using dating apps off and on for the past two years. I haven’t been in a serious relationship for almost three. This time being single has been rough, specifically because it occurred-and is still occuring-during my late 20s. “The Dead Zone” here refers to the period in your late 20s where no matter which way you swing with men, younger than you or older, you will ultimately be the loser in the dating, just fucking or playing it slow situation.
Guys who are younger than you (3–5 years) really don’t have their life together. Whether it’s finances, their career or their living situation, you are going to hold their hand. When you call them a Fuckboi, because of the inconsiderate texts late at night and their flakey tendencies, they have one of two reactions: they either laugh and list reasons why that’s so untrue, or they genuinely do get offended. Blissfully ignorant or not, you will at one point or another have to explain to him that you aren’t a Neo-feminist when you say you have issues with Emily Bronte.
On the other end of the spectrum, because there is hardly ever an in-between in The Dead Zone, is the older gentleman (generally 5–7 years older than you). Interestingly enough, they are split into two categories: the perpetual bachelor or the high functioning career junky.
The bachelor will always blur the line but cook for you and make sure you make it to work the next day after a LONG night of wining, dining and multi-locational sex. He’ll never call you his girlfriend no matter how many friends refer to you as such. It’ll be the most wifed up you’ve never been wifed up in your whole life.
The junky will not be ready to let go of the priority he places on his job and it’s responsibilities, no matter how many times he tells you he wishes he was doing otherwise. He has a nice apartment (that he owns) and tell you how he “values your artistic ambitions” but you will always, ALWAYS be second. Similarly to the bachelor, you will ultimately be the one who walks away.
So you’re probably asking, what about the guys that are closer to your age? Funny, they are in The Dead Zone too. They just have no idea they are.There have been times where my guy friends have told me that I should “date Asians” because they are more relationship oriented. Not only is this racist, but not a different interaction at all. In fact, the “rules” are different for men my age all together.
Men “around” my age, 26–29, can float between younger and older without much of a thought. If they are dating a girl that is younger, it’s pretty normal. If they are dating girl that is older than them, they are “mature for their age”. Most of them are a Cuckboi unknowingly. They simply can’t lose.
This leaves me, us, in this never ending abyss of date to date, often sexless, cycles. When you are in The Dead Zone, you are trying to reverse certain habits. You withhold from sex, be more direct in text messages, and don’t play games. This new behavior stems from the quote (regardless of who you attribute it to): “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over expecting different results”. Not that quotes really solve problems, but this one you plan to stick to.
This period of you’re life is a seamless abyss you drift in alone, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. There will be glimpses here and there to grab onto, but they don’t last. Often times it feels like you are excluded from love for no particular reason. You’ll try to fight it, but in the end it’s about letting go.
Welcome to The Dead Zone.