Forbidden Fruits by Age

Ryan - San Diego, California
Entered on December 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: love
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I truly believe that age is not a factor when it comes to relationships.

I first noticed it in junior high. When I was in the seventh grade, the majority of my best friends were a grade older than me. Because of this, I got to know many great girls from the eighth grade and we got along great.

Over the year, I watched as most of my friends began to date other eighth grade girls. I had noticeable crushes on many of them, but I could never quite land a girlfriend that was in the eighth grade. To them, I was like a “forbidden fruit”.

The following year, I learned how the opposite was also true. The new seventh grade girls at school flocked to us older guys, while most of my female peers would not even think about dating a younger boy. While there was in part an immaturity factor involved, there was visibly a norm at hand.

I witnessed a very similar pattern throughout my high school years. It was the younger girls who would go out with older guys, while the vast majority of older girls would avoid the idea of dating a younger someone like me. This was true no matter how “popular” or great I was , or even if there was only a couple of months difference in age. It wasn’t until my senior year that I began to question this standard. If guys were giving younger girls a chance, why not vice-versa? I had no choice but to accept it.

As a senior in high school, I began to meet a few college girls of different ages. I became interested in a few of them, and sometimes they would actually give me a shot at a date. It was like something had been peeled from their sight which allowed them to finally see me. Regardless, I was afraid to ask any of them if they would have done such a thing had it been back in grade school. As I watched this phenomenon take place with my own eyes, began to encourage many other girls in my grade to do the same. Nobody listened.

Once I began college myself, it was like a free-for-all. No longer were the girls held in a strictly scheduled environment that exposed their individual groups to the same guys day-after-day. I rejoiced. Finally, many girls opened their eyes to those that they were interested in, rather than the ones that were strictly older or deemed “popular”.

While some grade-school norms may never change, I think that everyone should keep an open-minded approach to dating. What is the worst that can happen if you date someone that is younger than you?

A strong minded person will overlook what others might think, and act from heart. I am now 21 years old and have been dating a very sweet girl from my work who is almost 30 for over a year. It took more time and consideration for her to become comfortable with the idea, but when you disregard age and focus on what really matters, everything can just fall into place like it has for us. A fruit once forbidden by age might actually taste sweet once you peel off the label and give it a chance.