Dating an actual other human being can be a complicated yet rewarding process, but – despite however much you have in common – you will always have far more in uncommon. You may be tall and they may be short; you may like Marmite and they may hate it; you may even be a man and they are a woman! But every relationship has to overcome these differences. One such troublesome issue is the question of age differences. For the purposes of this entry, we have decided that anyone ten years older or younger than you constitutes being Significantly Different, and therefore you need to adapt your behaviour as such. We would also like to stress that this does not apply until you’re at least 26, certainly in Britain. If you’re in a country where the legal age is less than 16, or perhaps you’re in Victorian Britain, then you can be younger than this.
Dating Someone Younger
Wear a hoodie. Have a look on iTunes for something popular and download that onto your mobile phone to have as your ringtone. Think that meeting their parents will be easy – you’ll have lots in common. Try not to think the word “paedo.” Refrain from asking for the children’s menu in restaurants. Think twice before going to bars. You may even have to check the rating of the film you’re going to see.
Be careful not to talk about things they won’t know about, like movies from your childhood, current affairs, or books. Instead, stick to topics that they’ll understand. Talk about text messaging, Pokemon and hanging out by McDonalds. Impress them with your car and ability to buy both alcohol and cigarettes. Discuss the bouquet of Lambrini and make sure you always carry a blade on you – kids these days love their knifecrime.
You’ll need to brush up on your language – get your slang in proper order. Spend some time on urbandictionary.com to be able to communicate with them. (Look up ‘Salty Pirate’ and see if they are up for it.) Make sure you get it right though – don’t try and bond with your date over “bubetoobing” or “bookfacing.”
Dating Someone Older
The important thing when dating someone older than you is ensuring that they aren’t mistaken for your Mum or Dad. In order to stave off the inevitable “So, is that your Dad?” question, we advise prominent public displays of affection (PDAs). Introduce them with a firm, open-palmed buttock slap, or with your tongue in their throat. If you don’t make this clear from the off, you’ll find a situation turns awkward very quickly. Imagine if you were sat with friends and then one of them starts getting off with what you thought was their Mum!
You may need to research the Freudian theories of the Oedipus Complex or its female equivalent, the Electra Complex. In this, of course, Sigmund Freud postulates that every man wants to kill his father and sleep with his mother, while every daughter wants to kill the mother and sleep with the father. Freud, however, was a pathological liar whose wild claims include inventing hummus, the hand-blender and geese, so we can pretty much dismiss whatever the old perve was banging on about. You may want to guard against unfounded “Oedipus” accusations by reading the Greek play from which the complex takes its name. Its working title was Cor She’s a MILF but this was changed to Oedipus Rex. It was originally intended as a avant-garde piece of contemporary theatre starring dogs. So when uneducated people accuse you of Oedipalismisticness you can educate them about Sophocles’ daringly original source material and conclude by telling them you’re more of a cat person.
In order to truly bond with your Significant Elder, we advise that you brush up on your history – so the two of you can reminisce about the Great War. Have an opinion about inheritance tax. Bring a pack of Werther’s Originals. Bring something that can double as incontinence pants. Talk loudly. Explain again what an iPod is. Try not to think about leather or creases. Look in the FT for information about house prices and variable rates of interest. Explain that the internet is no longer in black and white but in full colour now.