There was safety in the shadows, but also a kind of darkness. " my friend whispered as we walked back to the car with the guys a few steps ahead. "Like we were supposed to be boyfriend and girlfriend, or something.""Well," she said slowly. I'd completely accepted her romance with an older guy as normal, even destined. When he wasn't upset, he was in kindness overdrive, buying me things: a gold necklace with a floating heart, stuffed animals.In tenth grade, we made friends with a group of older guys who hung out on the main street of town, which ran parallel to the local university — guys who'd once gone to our same high school and had never left the social scene. I remember how quiet it was, birds soaring overhead, no other sound. I grew to dread the moments we were alone, especially when I needed a ride home at the end of the night to make my curfew.So for a 24-year old, the upper age limit would be 34 (i.e., 17 * 2).With some quick math, the rule provides a minimum and maximum partner age based on your actual age that, if you choose to follow it, you can use to guide your dating decisions.All of this makes dating more and more complex as we get older. Still, most of them fail miserably, for the exact same reasons that I think Penelope is suggesting.It’s a lot easier for a man to take out a carefree, responsibility free, baggage free, wrinkle free 28-year-old, which is why so many men try to go in that direction. Men want much younger women, but rarely do much younger women want older men.
Now we can see how well the rule corresponds with people’s reported acceptable ages.When they weren't doing BMX and skateboard tricks in front of the post office, they were spending what money they had at the nearby arcade, or spinning on stools and shooting straw wrappers in their favorite burger joint, just across the street. We had gotten in the habit of him driving me home, and my suddenly wanting to make different arrangements seemed to inconvenience everyone.There was something especially cool about being friends with them. ""So, no normal 20 year old wants to hang out with someone who is 15. Stay away from him."This was the sort of thing that always led to my leaving the room in a teary huff, maintaining loudly that she Just Didn't Understand. One Saturday, the guys planned a picnic in a nearby forest park. Even worse, I couldn't say why I didn't want to go with him.When this question comes up in conversation, someone inevitably cites the “half your age plus seven” rule.This rules states that by dividing your own age by two and then adding seven you can find the age boundary: Take your age, subtract 7, and double it.