Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Partying, Dating, Staying Fit: Not Easy in Your 30s

"Organic" and "Less Fat". For those
in our 30s, now a major part of our
daily diet vocabulary. 
Remember the days when you could go out for a few beers with your buddies, down some late-night McDonald's, catch a few hours of sleep, bounce out of bed for work in the morning, and hit the gym on the way home? Then get a call from one of those same pals to try and aim to repeat the previous night's escapades? 

Your weight never budged. Abs? Check out THESE abs. Too hungover to meet up for pickup hoops on a Saturday morning? Heck no, I've got at least 10 runs in me, bro, and you wish you had this smooth as silk jump shot!

Remember when meeting a potential significant other was like taking candy from a baby? Spot a hottie, jump on the dance floor at the house party or bar, shake ya tail feather ( <-- link ) to grab their attention, then switch on the charm. Game over. 

For guys, approaching women was easy. They were younger and not necessarily on that Hunt for Hubby quite yet. They didn't mind our shaggy hair, earring (editor's note: never had one), grubby hat we probably had on backwards, the $5 'Dukes of Hazzard' T-shirt from Target, and the fact that we probably hadn't shaved in five days.  

The first 'date' probably consisted of inviting her over to hang out with the roommates, watch football for like seven hours on a Sunday, order up some pizza, and hope she didn't mind the wrestling match that would inevitably break out between your meathead buddies. 

Those days, for those in our 30s, are officially over. 

If I go out for drinks now, it's about a 48-hour recovery period. And I'm such a lightweight that I have to designate a friend to 'red light' me after a few drinks before I go embarrass myself on the dance floor or try and pick a fight with the biggest guy in the bar. For the record, I'm going on four weeks without either of those incidents occurring. Win. 

Once you hit 30, you enter your own 'Battle of the Bulge'. That high level of metabolism you used to enjoy? Haha. Gone. Ordering at a restaurant? The first expression that comes to mind is "portion control". You actually read the fine print on the food at the grocery store. You become familiar with terms like 'low fat' and 'sugar free'. 

I really enjoy the gym, and I've gotten back into running lately, helping me to drop 15 pounds (with 10 more to go!). But that trip to the gym that used to be when time allowed, is now a requirement if you want to avoid shopping for new, larger pants every six months. And the gym habits us men developed at a younger age, where it was all about pounding out reps on the bench press and with biceps curls, we've had to break now that our workouts need more balance with plenty of cardio and core mixed in. 

And dating? Let's just say I envy my buddies that met someone at a younger age and have already started families. It's not easy to meet someone you'd like to date, and especially not easy to meet that person you'd want to spend the rest of your life with. 

Bars are the worst for this. They're loud, and women are often unapproachable as they have their guards up after being chased around by flocks of D-bags every weekend for years. And even if you are a woman who is single and approachable, there's a good chance the good guys are gun-shy about coming up to say hello, for fear of an embarrassing rejection. 

I spent years as a bartender, so I like to think I can get a pretty good read on females, and people in general. Guys, when women surround themselves with their girls on the dance floor, they're not available, or at the very least not looking to meet someone that night. So don't force your way into that dance party. And if you buy her a drink, there's a good chance she was just being polite when you offered. It doesn't necessarily mean you're in, dude. The success rate of a long-term relationship with someone you met in a bar is very low. Look elsewhere. 

Online dating? I tried it once, but never trusted the validity of it. And to be honest with you, I have always held out hope I'd meet that someone special by chance when we both had our guards down. Not based on how hot they looked in a profile picture. 

I've dated women that I've met at the gym, in a grocery store, at Starbucks, and even at the workplace. But seriously, who wants to be on the prowl when you're working out, shopping for bread and cereal, grabbing a cup of coffee or when you have your head buried in your computer at work? 

For men, most of the women our age are married. Which means we often date women who are younger. But how much younger is too young? Or what about the divorcee with the 2-year-old? Am I ready to jump into something with those additional elements? They're legitimate questions that single guys ask themselves all the time. 

One thing I've accepted is that meeting someone will happen when it happens. You can't force that. In using an analogy coaches often use with their athletes, life is a marathon, it's not a sprint. If you're in a rush, there's a good chance you will make bad decisions. 

In the meantime, I'll keep on battling the bulge, will try to hide when shots of Fireball start flying in hopes of avoiding any potential dance floor disasters, and will reminisce fondly about the good old days, when everything seemed to come so much easier. 

Continue to fight the good fight, fellow 30-somethings. Continue the good fight.